Postdoctoral Research Associate, Free Space Optical Communication Systems for Inter-Satellite links

1 day left

Tyne and Wear
09 Mar 2023
End of advertisement period
31 Mar 2023
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Full Time

Applications are invited for a 23-month postdoctoral research position in the area of optical inter-satellite laser communication systems. The successful candidate will work in the Department of Mathematics Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University, within the Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory and Optical Communication Research Group (OCRG). The candidate will work within a team preparing an in-orbit technology demonstration mission, for a novel laser communications system for CubeSats. For further information about the Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory see here:

This position is funded by UK Space Agency with grant reference number (UKSAG22_0042). The project focuses on the design, testing, and build of hardware and software for two 6U CubeSats to launch into Low Earth Orbit and demonstrate the function of a free space optical link between CubeSats. The project is led by Northumbria University and includes partners from Durham University, e2E Group and Smart Sentry SMS, as well as support from Lockheed Martin UK Space. The overall aim of the role is to lead the development of the laser-based optical communication payload, including design, simulation, testing and building of flight models including mechanical, electronic, and software interfaces with the CubeSat bus.

The ideal candidate should have a PhD in physics or engineering with experience in working in a laboratory environment, or a track record of professional experience in aerospace, satellite technology or optical communication research projects. Experience in programming in C and with real time operating systems and / or experience with other similar optical communication projects is essential. Experience in working with (i) high-power (>1W) and high-speed (>1Gbps) laser sources, laser characterisation techniques, alignment, and beam profiling in both the visible and infra-red wavelengths; and (ii)  high-speed optical receivers and laser-based position sensing are required. The role will include acceptance testing and assembly of parts and so the ability to design and follow work flows to meet specified requirements, with short and frequent reporting deadlines, is important. Environmental and system level testing of the payload will also be part of the project and so experience with or knowledge of product acceptance and quality assurance standards and techniques is desirable.

For informal enquiries about this post, please contact Dr Eamon Scullion on

Further information about the requirements of the role is available in the person specification.

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We are an on-campus organisation where colleagues work regular patterns of hours and on campus, with some flexibility on the timing of their hours and the location of their work in discussion with their manager. 
Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our staff.  We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community.  The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme.  We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers and are members of the Euraxess initiative to deliver information and support to professional researchers.  
The University has implemented a range of flexible working arrangements, and we are happy to explore candidate requirements as part of the recruitment process.  

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