PhD candidate Neutrino Physics with the KM3NeT/ORCA deep-sea neutrino telescope

Faculty of Science – Institute of Physics

Publication date
19 June 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
Closing date
4 September 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Institute for High-Energy Physics of the University of Amsterdam (IHEF, a division of the Institute of Physics) is seeking exceptional candidates for appointment to a PhD position in Astroparticle Physics within the KM3NeT group at Nikhef, the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics.

This PhD position is associated to the KM3NeT/ORCA (Oscillations Research with Cosmics in the Abyss) neutrino telescope which is under construction at a depth of 2.5 kilometer in the Mediterranean Sea. The main aim of this detector is to determine the still unknown hierarchy of neutrino masses and to study neutrino properties including oscillation parameters by measuring the neutrino flux resulting from cosmic ray interactions in the atmosphere and the effect of matter on the oscillations as neutrinos traverse the Earth.

The KM3NeT group at Nikhef has a leading role in the design and construction of the KM3NeT detectors, as well as in the data-acquisition system and software framework, development of reconstruction and high-level analysis algorithms, studies into the sensitivity of the ORCA detector and data-driven characterisation of the detector.

The successful candidate will be employed by the UvA, and will be embedded in the KM3NeT group at Nikhef.

Project description

Atmospheric neutrinos in the energy range of ~1 to 10 GeV, to which the ORCA detector is sensitive, provide access to a wealth of unknown physics. Most prominently is the unknown ordering of neutrino masses, which can be determined by studying the effect of matter on the neutrino oscillation probabilities. Determination of the mass ordering can help in understanding the origin of neutrino masses. Also other neutrino oscillation parameters can be constrained, among which the oscillation angle Θ23 , the mass squared difference  and at the lower end of the energy range a possible CP violating phase, which describes asymmetries between matter and anti-matter, may show effects. In this energy range, the physics of neutrino-nucleus interactions is not well understood. At the lower end of the energy range, (quasi-)elastic interactions with the whole nucleus dominate, while at the higher end individual quarks in the nucleons are resolved in deep-inelastic scattering, with resonant interactions in between. Understanding these interactions has not only merit by itself, but it will also contribute to a better interpretation of the data of the ORCA detector and current and future accelerator and non-accelerator based neutrino experiments.

The aim of this project is to enhance 1) the sensitivity of the ORCA detector to the neutrino mass hierarchy and other oscillation parameters and 2) the understanding of neutrino interactions in the 1-10 GeV energy region. This is done by implementing high-performance computing technologies in the online data-filter, by improving the simulation and understanding of low-energy neutrino interactions and by developing dedicated reconstruction and analysis algorithms. The developed techniques will be used to extract the physics results from data of the ORCA detector which is currently under construction.


The candidate should have obtained or be about to obtain a Master’s degree in Physics. A background in particle or astroparticle physics is preferred. Extensive use will be made of the programming language C++. Excellent command of written and spoken English are essential.

Further information

For further information, please contact:


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD candidate is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. Favourable tax agreements may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

Job application

Please apply using the link below. All applications should include a curriculum vitae, a single page maximum statement of motivation and research interests and a list of university courses taken with grades. You will also need to provide contact details for 2 referees. They will be contacted directly. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam