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PhD position in high-energy astroparticle physics


The project

Earth is continuously bombarded by extraterrestrial particles, some of which possess energies far surpassing those attainable by Earth’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. We do not yet understand how these particles can reach such colossal energies or which astrophysical objects are capable of accelerating them.

At the heart of this problem lie highly energetic cosmic rays. Due to their charged nature, tracing their origins is challenging, mainly because cosmic magnetic fields deflect them. Furthermore, their interactions within their parent sources and during their journey to Earth may compromise the information they carry. This is where neutrinos come to the rescue. Neutrinos can propagate across vast distances without undergoing interactions and are electrically neutral, making them immune to magnetic fields. They point directly back to their birthplaces. At ultra-high energies (UHE), typically around and above 1018 eV, neutrinos are arguably the most promising messengers for studying high-energy astrophysical phenomena in the universe.

To hunt down these elusive neutrinos, the Giant Radio Array for Neutrino Detection (GRAND) is currently under construction. The GRAND project will deploy 200,000 radio antennas worldwide with the goal of detecting radio signals emitted when cosmic particles, including neutrinos, interact with Earth’s atmosphere. GRAND serves as a versatile multimessenger facility, capable of detecting neutrinos, gamma rays, and cosmic rays. Currently, the GRANDProto300 prototype is being deployed in Qinghai, China, comprising 300 antennas. This prototype provides an ideal testing ground for evaluating this innovative radio technique and for studying high-energy cosmic and gamma rays.

The primary goal of this thesis project is to devise strategies to find the yet-undetected UHE neutrinos. The student will investigate the predicted flux of UHE neutrinos according to various models and search for optimal designs of the array that can enhance the likelihood of UHE neutrino discovery with GRAND. This work involves two key components: first, a significant astrophysical aspect focused on studying and constructing models of neutrino emission by various classes of astrophysical objects; second, the establishment of a pipeline for comparing the discovery potential of different experimental configurations for the GRAND array based on these astrophysical models.

The GRAND Collaboration brings together 100 researchers from 42 institutions of 12 different countries. The GRAND project is recognised as one of the leading contenders for the detection of high-energy cosmic particles, featuring in several strategic roadmaps of funding agencies.


Work environment

The project will be conducted in the thriving GRAND-Paris Team, at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris (IAP), in close collaboration with colleagues at the Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire et des Hautes Énergies (LPNHE). The team gathers more than 20 members (permanent researchers, engineers, postdocs, PhD students and interns), working on various aspects of the GRAND experiment.

Contact. Rafael Alves Batista (rafael.alves_batista [_at_]

Skills required. The ideal candidate should possess a programming background, preferably in languages such as Julia, C++, or Python. Additionally, the ability to collaborate effectively within a team is a prerequisite.

Deadline.  April 30th, 2024

How to apply. see instructions on the website of the doctoral school.


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