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Announcements of Opportunity

SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. Click here for more tips on finding a mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

New for 2021: Students applying for JPL projects should complete a SURF@JPL application instead of a "regular" SURF application.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Exploring the Obscured Universe with Superconducting Detectors.
Disciplines:  Physics, Astrophysics
Mentor:  Matt Bradford, Dr., (PMA), bradford@caltech.edu, Phone: 818 726 8622
Background:  How did we get here? Answering this question requires understanding the inner workings of galaxies throughout cosmic history: how and when their stars and black holes formed, when their heavy elements came to be, and how interstellar material transformed into planets capable of bearing life. Dust has been ubiquitous across the arc of the Universe’s history, and studying the interiors of galaxies and forming planetary systems requires techniques that overcome its obscuration. Far-infrared spectral line emission is uniquely powerful for this—it free- streams through even deeply obscured regions, and provides a detailed view of the processes and contents within.
Description:  Our group is developing new superconducting detector arrays and instruments to study the Universe in the far-infrared waveband. In our Cahill labs, we are preparing for deployment in Cahill two spectroscopic instruments. The first is SuperSpec, a wideband on-chip spectrometer technology that will be fielded at the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico; it will target the Universe’s earliest dusty galaxies from a billion years after the Big Bang — these were powerful sources which likely evolved into the centers of modern-day galaxy clusters. The second is the Terahertz Intensity Mapper, a balloon-borne far-IR spectrometer; it will target galaxy populations when the Universe was half its current age and star-formation activity peaked. Both instruments use arrays of kinetic inductance detectors — superconducting resonator-based detectors designed by our group and build at JPL.

In this project you will be working in collaboration with our group members on a combination of 1) design and integration of cryogenic testing apparatus, 2) measurement of detector properties, 3) analysis of detector test data, including development of Python software routines. As part of the program, you will be exposed to the astrophysics background and goals of the projects. While it is our hope that this can be conducted on campus in Cahill, this project can be carried out remotely.
Student Requirements:  Basics of coding-based data processing (Python preferred). Familiarity with mechanical design software. Willingness to undertake hands-on laboratory work. Creative thinking, problem solving, and attention to detail.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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