PhD scholarship in X-ray Observations of Neutron Stars

Technical University of Denmark - DTU Space

The Section for Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics at DTU Space offers a PhD position in observational X-ray astrophysics of neutron stars.

The proposed PhD project will be part of the research on compact objects conducted by the group of Astrophysics, principally observations of neutron stars in X-ray binaries. Neutron stars embody the most compact objects one can observe in the Universe, and their interior structure, described by an equation of state for ultra-dense matter, can be determined by measurements of their mass and radius. Thermonuclear explosions on accreting neutron stars are frequently observed as X-ray bursts. These events allow us to study the physics responsible for the dynamic behavior of neutron stars, as well as they can help constrain their compactness. By investigating the relationship between thermonuclear burning mechanisms and accretion process regimes the project does address the question of the origin of the elements in the Universe through the nucleosynthesis of heavy nuclei during X-ray bursts.

DTU Space has a strong position in observational astrophysics primarily based on space missions and several decades heritage of participation in astrophysical satellites. Current satellites include INTEGRAL, PLANCK, NuSTAR and in the near future we also participate in JWST, EUCLID and ATHENA.
More specifically for the advertised PhD project, the group of Astrophysics is also involved in the Neutron Star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER), NASA’s newest X-ray instrument on the International Space Station.

Responsibilities and tasks
The goal of the PhD project is to study the physics of thermonuclear explosions on the surface of neutron stars. By combining observations from different instruments and through the investigation of high timing and spectral resolution data, the project aims to identify for the first time the nuclei synthesized during X-ray bursts.

The successful candidate is expected to mainly perform the following tasks:

  • Data analysis of X-ray observations from different instruments/satellites
  • Scientific research on the physics of accreting neutron stars and thermonuclear X-ray bursts
  • Measurements of the gravitational redshift of spectral features detected in X-ray burst emission
  • Collaboration to the Multi-INstrument Burst ARchive international team
  • Write half-year progress reports
  • Disseminate results at conferences and through scientific articles
  • Teaching duties (up to 15% of working time)
  • Attend PhD courses (30 ECTS)

A mandatory research stay during a semester abroad is to be foreseen.
Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The successful candidate has outstanding analytical and problem solving skills to become a committed researcher with a drive for excellence. Advanced skills in computing are a key requirement as many activities are carried out in Linux environment.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Senior scientist Jérôme Chenevez.
Interviews are foreseen to take place during the first week of October.

Please submit your online application no later than 1 October 2017.

To view the full announcement and to apply:

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