Job offer: AO engineer for METIS SCAO system (MPIA Heidelberg, Germany)

METIS is one of the three first instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), Europe’s next-generation ground-based telescope for optical and infrared wavelengths which is currently under construction at the ESO site at Cerro Armazones in Chile.

METIS is the Mid-infrared Imager and Spectrograph for the ELT. METIS will offer imaging, coronagraphy and medium-resolution spectroscopy over the full wavelength range (3-19 microns), and high-resolution integral field spectroscopy as well as long-slit spectroscopy in the wavelength range between 3 and 5 microns.
The main METIS science goals are the detection and characterisation of exoplanets and the investigation of proto-planetary disks and the formation of planets.

METIS is built by a European consortium under the lead of the PI institute NOVA in the Netherlands.
Other consortium partners are MPIA (Germany), ATC (UK), CEA (France), ETH (Switzerland), KUL (Belgium), University Lisboa (Portugal), University Vienna and Linz (Austria), University Cologne (Germany) and ESO itself.

The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) is the second largest consortium partner: it is responsible for the IMAGER and the Single-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (SCAO) subsystems ( .

The Single-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (SCAO) corrects atmospheric distortions and is thus essential for diffraction limited observations with METIS.
It consists of a wavefront sensor, the control software, and the Real Time Computer (RTC). The wavefront sensor measures the disturbed incoming wavefront. Its signal is processed by the Real Time Computer, which, in turn, sends control signals to the deformable ELT mirror M4 and the mirror M5 for tip/tilt control.

MPIA is looking for an Adaptive Optics (AO) engineer with focus on the development and test of the AO algorithms for the SCAO system. METIS is currently in the Final Design Phase (FDR). Within this phase the focus will be on the development of the algorithms and verification with simulation tools. After FDR, in the MAIV (Manufacturing Assembly Integration and Verification) a complete lab set-up will be realised at MPIA where the SCAO Control algorithms will be tested with the real wavefront sensor and RTC hardware in front of a telescope simulator, so the focus will shift to the test and verification of the real SCAO system.

We are looking for an engineer or physicist with AO background, especially in AO algorithm development (mathematics and computing skills, preferably in COMPASS). Experience in AO instrumentation and on-sky commissioning would be an asset.

The position is for 5 years. Place of work is the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, working language is English.

MPIA  is one of the leading astrophysical research institutions world wide with 300 staff members from 40 different countries. MPIA has two big science departments doing research on planet & star formation and galaxies & cosmology. In addition MPIA has a strong 50 year heritage in instrumentation with a strong technical department behind.

MPIA is an equal opportunity employer. Social benefits are granted according to the regulations for German public service.

Interested candidates should send their application in pdf format to the project manager Silvia Scheithauer .