Postdoc 2024-2026 — Researcher in gamma-ray space astronomy M/F

General information

Offer title : Post-doctoral researcher in gamma-ray space astronomy M/F (H/F)
Reference : UMR9012-SOPHEB-059
Number of position : 1
Workplace : ORSAY
Date of publication : 18 March 2024
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 24 months
Expected date of employment : 1 August 2024
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : Between 2992,93 and 4204,22 € grossly month
Desired level of education : Niveau 8 – (Doctorat)
Experience required : Indifferent
Section(s) CN : Interactions, particles, nuclei, from laboratory to cosmos


The post-doc will be part of the Astrophysics and Cosmochemistry team of the A2C pole (Astroparticles, Astrophysics and Cosmology) within the IJCLab laboratory. He/she will work under the supervision of Vincent Tatischeff as part of the COMCUBE project, the aim of which is to develop a CubeSat space mission for high-precision polarimetry of gamma-ray bursts.
Several nano-satellite missions dedicated to the detection of gamma-ray bursts are currently being developed in Europe, the United States and Asia. The COMCUBE project aims to add a new dimension to this network of CubeSats by adding measurements of the polarisation of the prompt emission of gamma-ray bursts using a swarm of interconnected Compton-type telescopes. The mission proposal is currently in a study phase with the European Space Agency (ESA). The development timetable presented to ESA envisages delivery of the first CubeSats from 2029, with launch into orbit staggered between 2029 and 2030.
To test the performance of the gamma-ray instrument in a background environment representative of that of a CubeSat in low-Earth orbit, the COMCUBE collaboration is currently developing a scale model of the Compton telescope for a qualification campaign in stratospheric balloon flight. The first prototype flight took place in the summer of 2023 from the Timmins base in Canada. A second flight is scheduled for June 2024 from the Esrange base in Sweden to the Canadian Far North (transatlantic flight). The continuation of this qualification campaign is currently under discussion with the French Space Agency (CNES). This work is being carried out by IJCLab in collaboration with six other research centres in France, Ireland, Germany, Portugal and Italy.
The post-doc will contribute to the development of the instrument’s data processing software. He/she will participate in the analysis of the data from the transatlantic flight and take an active part in the future development and testing of the gamma-ray instrument.


The post-doc will contribute to the following activities:

  • Development of data processing software for the gamma-ray instrument, in particular for Compton imaging and polarimetry
  • Analysis of the data acquired during the transatlantic flight, with the aim of identifying a contribution from gamma-ray emission from a particular astrophysical source: the Crab nebula
  • Participating in the development of a new instrument prototype in order to progress towards the production of the 4U model of the CubeSat payload
  • Testing and calibration of the instrument in the laboratory

These activities are interdisciplinary, involving various aspects of computer programming, gamma-ray sensor instrumentation and data analysis.


The candidate should have high-level academic skills in computer programming and data analysis.
Knowledge of instrumentation in high-energy physics will also be an advantage.
He/she should be able to formulate and lead a scientific project, work in a team and be accountable. A solid knowledge of English is required for integration into the international team.
Basic knowledge of high-energy astrophysics will be appreciated, but is not essential.
Desired professional experience: less than 3 years after the PhD.

Work Context

The project will be carried out at the “Laboratoire de Physique des 2 Infinis Irène Joliot-Curie” (Laboratory of the Physics of the two Infinities Irène Joliot-Curie) or IJCLab, which is a joint research unit (UMR) of the CNRS, the University of Paris-Saclay, and the University of Paris. It is located 20 km south of Paris on the Orsay campus and easily accessible by public transport (RER) in 35 minutes from the centre of Paris. IJCLab was created in 2020 from the merger of five UMRs located on the Orsay University campus: the “Centre de sciences nucléaires et de sciences de la matière” (CSNSM), the “Imagerie et modélisation en neurobiologie et cancérologie” (IMNC) laboratory, the “Institut de physique nucléaire d’Orsay” (IPNO), the “Laboratoire de l’accélérateur linéaire” (LAL) and the “Laboratoire de physique théorique” (LPT).
The laboratory’s research themes are nuclear physics, high-energy physics, astroparticles and cosmology, theoretical physics, particle accelerators and detectors, as well as technical research and development and associated applications for energy, health and the environment. The centre has considerable technical capacity (around 280 engineers and technicians) in all the major fields required to design, develop and implement the experimental equipment needed for its scientific activity: mechanics, electronics, computing, instrumentation, acceleration techniques and biological techniques. These technical strengths represent a major asset for the design, development and use of the necessary instruments (accelerators and detectors). The presence of research infrastructures and technological platforms on the laboratory site is also a major asset. Finally, around 90 administrative and support staff work alongside the scientists and engineers.
The post-doctoral student will be part of the Astrophysics and Cosmochemistry (AC) team in the Astroparticles, Astrophysics and Cosmology (A2C) pole. He/she will work with the laboratory staff involved in the COMCUBE project, which includes a teacher-researcher, two CNRS researchers, seven engineers and a PhD student. He/she will also be working with physicists and engineers from COMCUBE’s partner laboratories, in particular CEA-Irfu and UCD, who are also building gamma-ray detectors for the prototype.

The position is located in a sector under the protection of scientific and technical potential (PPST), and therefore requires, in accordance with the regulations, that your arrival is authorized by the competent authority of the MESR.

Constraints and risks

Short periods of travel within France and abroad should be expected
Laboratory work involves the risk of exposure to ionising radiation.

Additional Information

Submit a covering letter and CV without any break in date showing diplomas, titles and work and professional experience.
Closing date for the receipt of applications: April 8, 2024
As IJCLab is subjected to ZRR (Zone à Régime Restrictif) military regulation, hiring choices must be approved by the Haut Fonctionnaire Securité Défense (HFSD). Therefore, the date of employment written above should be understood as provisional, and may need to be delayed.