Postdoctoral Researcher Developing Techniques in X-ray Spectral Imaging

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sep 23, 2019
End of advertisement period
Nov 15, 2019
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Closing date: 15 November 2019
Level of education: PhD
Hours: 38 hours per week
Salary indication: €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month

The Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher developing new techniques in X-ray spectral imaging of extended sources at high-energy resolution.

The field of X-ray astronomy is poised to make amazing new discoveries in the coming decade in particular due to upcoming missions that combine excellent angular resolution with recent advances in high-resolution spectroscopy. The power of this new generation of X-ray spectrometers has already been demonstrated by the short-lived Hitomi mission and will be further explored by its successor the joint JAXA/NASA/ESA mission XRISM which is slated for launch in early 2022. XRISM will be followed in 2031 by ESA’s flagship X-ray mission Athena which will, for the first time, deliver angular resolution of a few arcsecs with unprecedented spectral resolution of a few eV. Exploiting the full scientific potential of new datasets from missions like XRISM and Athena will, however, require the development of more advanced, multi-dimensional analysis tools and techniques than currently available.

Project description

The project will focus on developing methods to optimally extract and model high spectral resolution X-ray data in which spectral complexity, complicated spatial structure, geometrical projection effects (i.e. compositional layering, temperature gradients), radiative transfer, velocity structure, and complex instrumental effects can all play an important role. This project forms part of the Netherlands preparatory Roadmap for Athena, and its main goal is to prepare for the future analysis of high-resolution spectroscopic imaging X-ray data with the X-IFU instrument by developing a cohesive set of modern data analysis tools to support Athena science.

The research will take place at the UvA, at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy and GRAPPA, but in close collaboration with other Athena consortium members at the other universities in the Netherlands and in particular SRON, the Netherlands Institute for Space Research based in Utrecht. SRON is the co-PI institution for the X-IFU spectrometer instrument onboard Athena as well as contributing flight hardware to the XRISM mission.

With this position, you will be joining a team of researchers and developers from the Netherlands Athena consortium working to design and develop the methods and tools necessary to interpret the wealth of information the next generation of X-ray missions such as XRISM, IXPE, Athena, and eXTP will provide.

Within this team you work closely with other researchers, students, and software developers on related problems, with the ultimate goal being the production of a complete set of next-generation analysis software for application to X-ray data in the 2020’s and beyond. The project will be supervised by Dr Jacco Vink at the University of Amsterdam in collaboration with Dr Phil Uttley (UvA), Dr Aurora Simionescu (SRON/Leiden), and Dr Michael Wise (SRON/UvA).


We have an opening for a postdoctoral position in the analysis of spatially-resolved, spectroscopic data of diffuse X-ray sources (e.g., clusters of galaxies, supernova remnants, diffuse Galactic emission, etc.).

We are seeking a motivated and creative individual with:

  • a PhD in astrophysics (or in closely related field);
  • experienced with current X-ray analysis techniques and tools;
  •  who is excited by the possibility of developing the advanced multi-dimensional data analysis tools needed to take full scientific advantage of new data from XRISM, Athena, and other future X-ray missions.

A strong interest in data analysis methods and astrostatistics is highly desirable.

Further information

For informal inquiries, you may contact:

  • Dr J. Vink


The appointment is intended for an initial period of 2 years, with renewal for a 3rd year contingent upon funding and satisfactory progress. The earliest possible start date will be 1 March 2020, but later start dates are negotiable.

The salary will be in accordance with the university regulations for academic personnel, and will range from €2,709 to €4,274 (salary scale 10) gross per month (based on a fulltime appointment). This is excl. 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end of year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement (Cao) for Dutch universities is applicable, Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look at our website.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Are you interested?

Applications may only be submitted online by using the link below. To apply, please submit a cover letter, CV, publication list, and statement of research interest (no more than 2 pages), and provide names and email addresses of 3 referees. Please combine these documents in one single attachment and also mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

The deadline for applications is 15 November 2019.

No agencies please

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