Electronics Engineer for Modeling and Design of Data Readout for CMS Calorimeter Upgrade

Geneva, Switzerland
01 Nov 2018
End of advertisement period
30 Nov 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter - fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

Job Description

Welcome to the Spanish Trainee Programme FTEC (Formacion en Tecnologias Estrategicas del CERN)!

CERN and our professionals very much enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise with recent graduates from university or higher technical institutes seeking further training in a wide area of projects and who are committed and passionate about their chosen field.

The CMS experiment is one of two “general purpose” detectors operating at the Large Hadron Collider. Following 20 years of design, construction and commissioning, in 2012 the collaboration announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson, one of the missing pieces in the so-called “Standard Model” of particle physics. Since 2012 CMS has been accumulating huge amounts more data, refining its measurements of the Higgs boson and other sub-atomic particles, and searching for new phenomena. The success of CMS and the LHC is such that it is now planned to continue operation beyond its original lifetime (around 2023) for at least a further 12 years, with the LHC at that point being upgraded to provide a factor of 5 more collisions. This imposes challenges on CMS, with some existing components not being able to survive. Amongst the most challenging upgrades planned for CMS is a new calorimeter system, called HGCAL, a silicon-based detector, the largest Si detector ever built for particle physics. The project will be within the HGCAL collaboration, specifically in the electronics group of CERN (EP-ESE).


A high complexity and high efficiency network needs to be built to transport an unprecedented amount of raw data from the HGCAL detector to external electronics and filtering computers. For this purpose a highly complex digital integrated circuit must be realized in a 65nm technology and is expected to be used to aggregate data from several front-end chips and share optimally the available optical links. The design of this component requires a sophisticated system level model of the data traffic expected that would clarify the required bandwidth per module, the length of buffers, the data losses etc. Such a model has to be developed in detail before actual hardware will be designed, taking its input from occupancy data generated by Monte Carlo simulation programs and reasonable expectations about the technologies that could be used in such a project. It also requires a sophisticated verification environment to be put in place, again accepting “real data” from the physics Monte Carlo and producing an output verifiable against the expectation of the physicists.

You will perform the following:

  • Work closely with physicists and electronic engineers to develop a sophisticated model of the HGCAL electronics chain
  • Use this model to determine critical parameters for the design of the HGCAL front-end ASICs, including the bandwidth required, the lengths of on-detector data buffers and the number of optical links required to support the expected traffic
  • Also use the model to estimate communication related error rates and possible mitigations

Training Value

You will acquire knowledge in the following areas:

  • Designing large and complex digital systems using state-of-the-art design tools and methods.
  • Work in a multicultural stimulating environment with physicists and engineers on the most ambitious detector project in the world of particle physics!


In order to qualify for a place on the programme you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • You are a Spanish national.
  • You hold or are about to complete an "ingeniero superior" or "master" degree in one of the following fields: mechanical, electrical, electronic or computing engineering, applied physics or similar. You are expected to have obtained your qualification by the time you take up your appointment at CERN.
  • You can start your traineeship in February/March 2019, however, in exceptional cases a slightly later start date might be possible which would be subject to approval by all concerned parties.
  • You have no more than 4 years’ experience following completion of your last degree.
  • You have not previously worked at CERN for more than 14 months.
  • Exceptions to the application of these criteria above can be envisaged if you hold a PhD degree or are in the process of obtaining it.
  • You have a good working knowledge of English or French.

Job specific Requirements

  • Master in electronic engineering
  • Fundamentals of digital electronics and communication networks
  • Competence in hardware description languages for electronics (e.g. Verilog, VHDL…)
  • Good communication skills

Additional Information

CERN would very much like to benefit from your expertise, commitment and passion. In return, you will be provided with:

  • A contract of association of one year, renewable for a second year;
  • A monthly take-home pay of 4,128 Swiss francs;
  • 2.5 days of paid leave each month
  • Health insurance cover from a Spanish Insurance company.

The selection process will be finalized at the beginning of December by a dedicated panel of experts from CERN and CIEMAT. You can therefore expect to hear the result of your application in December.

This is how you can apply

You will need the following documents to complete your application:

  • A CV;
  • Your most recent relevant qualification/diploma if completed;
  • Academic transcript of your highest qualification giving an overview of your grades and studied modules.
  • Optional but recommended: One or more reference letter(s): You can upload these letters at the time of application if you have them to hand. You will also be provided with a link as soon as you have submitted your application to forward to your referees to upload their letters confidentially. Please note this must be done before the closing date.

Please make sure you have all the documents requested to hand as you start your application. Once submitted you will not be able to upload any documents or edit your application. If you have already applied to another FTEC position with this email, your documents will remain on your candidate profile and you don't have to submit them another time.

Please note that you must also complete the following questionnaire: and provide the relevant documents listed in the questionnaire to justify your answers by the closing date (30 November). This is required by CIEMAT in order to validate and evaluate your application. Note that if you apply to several positions of the FTEC programme, you only have to fill in the survey once.

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