How to choose a flight model: Upgrading a spatial characterization setup for LISA photoreceivers (MSc thesis)

Job Offer from September 17, 2019

On board of each LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) satellite, ultra-low noise photoreceivers will be used to detect the very faint (~100 pW) optical signals coming from a distant spacecraft (2.5 million kilometers apart). During the current study phase, different photoreceiver topologies must be tested prior to deciding on the final implementation. A key aspect of the photoreceiver performance is its spatial response, or how the photoreceiver behaves depending on which portion of its surface is illuminated. A spatial characterization setup was developed at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) to study this photoreceiver parameter. The work of this thesis revolves around an upgrade of the setup. With this upgrade, candidates for the LISA flight photoreceivers can be thoroughly tested.

The workload will be divided into three parts:

  • In the first one, the student will learn how to control a set of translation stages for precise positioning of the photoreceiver under test, and acquire the signals produced by it. The described process runs in a LabVIEW environment.
  • The second part of the project focuses on an upgrade of the system described above. This includes adding an amplitude-modulated laser diode (design and characterization of opto-electronics) and a new mount for the photoreceiver under test (3D CAD mechanical design, Autodesk Inventor)
  • In the third and last one, several photoreceiver candidates will be characterized using the setup.

Experience in related topics is welcome, but not obligatory!

Please contact  for further details.

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