PhD Studentship in the framework of the MSCA Doctoral Network GLITTER: Antenna technology (Fixed Term)

University of Cambridge
May 18, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Fixed-term: The fund
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
PhD Studentship in the framework of the MSCA Doctoral Network GLITTER:

Antenna technology (Fixed Term)

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 36 months in the first instance.

Summary: Full-time 3 year PhD position funded by UKRI, in the context of the ERC doctoral network GLITTER (12 PhD students), to perform doctoral research in the development of modern antenna technology and radio instrumentation for GNSS-R and Radio Astronomy from space. The PhD candidate will join a multidisciplinary team and will be supervised by faculty from the Radio Astronomy group of the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. The PhD candidate will benefit from the GLITTER events in order to further improve technical and complementary skills: four one-week training schools, and three workshops. In addition, the PhD candidate will do a research stay (6 months) at the Universite catolique de Louvain, Louvain-la- Nuevue, Belgium, to work with Prof. Christophe Craeye, lead of the GLITTER project.

Description: Global Navigation Satellite Systems-based Reflectometry (GNSS-R) is a powerful way to retrieve information from a reflecting surface (e.g. for Earth observation) by exploiting GNSS as signals of opportunity. Depending on i) the sensing platform (ground-based, airborne, spaceborne), ii) the reflecting surface (ice, sea, land), and iii) the number of antennas (typically one for ground-based applications, and two in airborne/spaceborne receivers); the system/receiver provides different results, which allow for different applications. One of the main challenges for modern GNSS-R applications is the detection of extremely faint signals in the presence of noise and/or interference. Equally, radio cosmology from space-based platforms, aims at the detection and study of minute radio signals of cosmological origin, in the presence of much brighter noise signals.

From a front-end / antenna point of view this calls for innovative designs of both the antenna and radio receiver aswell as the calibration techniques to enable maximum science extraction. Frequency bandwidth, spectral smoothness and compactness are some of the key design drivers for such instruments to be airborne on small, power-limited platforms. Exploiting state of the art antenna technology (e.g. metasurfaces and lenses) the PhD student will work on to design of novel antenna systems and calibration techniques for application-specific solutions, meeting the need for high information and data volume and high dynamic range.

The student will be exposed to the extra-disciplinary field through a secondment at a partner close to the end application to realise the impact of instrumental design and calibration. At the end of the project, we would expect the student to have developed suitable metrics to quantify the performance of an optimal antenna system design for modern GNSS-R and space- based Radio Astronomy applications; Design and computational modelling of a wideband, light and steerable antenna for GNSS-R applications (also contributing to the prototyping and test of "best" design according to the metrics developed); and to develop suitable calibration strategies for the specific application.

Requirements for the candidate:

  • MSc degree in Physics, Electronic Engineering, or related fields.

  • Solid mathematical background, outstanding academic records, and excellent communication skills in oral and written English.

  • Knowledge on basic radio instrumentation and Matlab/Python programming skills.

  • Knowledge on GNSS and/or Radio Astronomy are a plus.

  • Application Process: The application process will be open until noon on 18th May. The applications received after this date will not be evaluated.

    Apply at the following email address: [email protected], the email must have a subject line starting with GLITTERAPPLICATION

    Please provide the following four items, all in pdf format: - Your CV (1 to 2 pages in pdf format) - A list of grades/diplomas, certificates - A list of referees (three at least) - A motivation letter

    The four documents should be preferably assembled in a .zip file with a file name that starts with DC11.

    Questions regarding the recruitment can be sent to [email protected]. To be considered, the email must have a subject line starting with GLITTERQR

    The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

    The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.


    Department of Physics, West Cambridge






    3 April 2024

    Closing date

    18 May 2024

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