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Silicon Detector Physicist (EP-AID-DT-2020-106-LD)

CERN is looking to recruit a Silicon Detector Physicist to join its detector technologies section of the ALICE detector and systems group

  • Closing soon
  • Closing date: 29 Sep 2020
  • Switzerland | CERN
  • Date posted: 02 Sep 2020
  • Job type: Research facilities
  • Disciplines: Accelerators, neutron & light sources  | Electronics & semiconductors 

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

Are you an applied physicist expert in silicon detector? Do you wish to contribute to the start-up of the brand new ALICE silicon tracking detector and to the R&D for the future evolution of this experiment? This could be the opportunity for you! Take part!

ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment), one of the four large experiments of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, is a general-purpose heavy-ion detectors designed to address the physics of strongly interacting matter using nucleus-nucleus, proton–nucleus and proton–proton collisions. After the completion of the original scientific programme in 2018, ALICE is undergoing a major upgrade of its detector during the LHC long shutdown 2, to cover its future scientific programme planned for the next decade. A key element of this detector upgrade is the replacement of the Inner Tracking System (ITS), which is a silicon tracker at the heart of the ALICE detector, with a new, ultra-light, high-precision, seven-layer barrel detector based on monolithic active pixel sensors (MAPS). The construction of the detector was completed in 2019 and an extended pre-commissioning on surface is in progress. The new ITS will be installed in ALICE at the beginning of 2021 and, after a global commissioning of the upgraded detectors and systems, will be used for physics data taking with the LHC beams starting in 2022.

The successful candidate will join the detector technologies section of the ALICE detector and systems group, which has different responsibilities in the ITS project:

  • Characterization and integration of the MAPS.
  • The construction and commissioning of the three inner layers (Inner Barrel).
  • Development of the control system and data quality control.
  • Overall detector and services assembly, installation and commissioning on surface and in the ALICE experiment.

The section is also actively involved in the development of novel detector technologies, like ultra-light wafer scale curved monolithic CMOS pixel sensors to replace the Inner Barrel during the LHC long shutdown 3, as well as future silicon trackers in experiments beyond HL-LHC.

As silicon detector physicist, you will take a leading role in the commissioning and operation of the ALICE ITS detector. This includes:

  • Participation in the finalisation and validation of detector readout software.
  • Participation in the detector integration and data validation for the ALICE global commissioning.
  • Participation in the detector operation, also as on-call expert.
  • Leading role in the study of the ITS detector performance during first operation with beams.

In the context of new developments of monolithic CMOS pixel sensors, coordinate activities related to sensor characterization and qualification. This includes:

  • Interaction with chip design work-package.
  • Validation of integrated front-end and prototypes.
  • Characterisation and simulation of sensor response under irradiation.


PhD or equivalent relevant experience in the field of Physics and more particularly in experimental particle physics, with specialization in particle detectors, or a related field.


  • Proven, successful post-doctoral experience in the development of silicon detectors. Expertise in the assembly, integration and testing of silicon detector systems based on monolithic CMOS sensors is considered an asset.
  • Experience with hardware and software for semiconductor detectors, including detector control, data acquisition and data analysis.
  • Experience with semiconductor detector simulations, in particular with monolithic CMOS sensors.
  • Proven experience in coordinating multi-disciplinary teams of physicists, engineers and technicians.

Technical competencies

  • Knowledge and application of solid-state based particle detection technologies.
  • Assembly and integration of detectors.
  • Simulation, design and development of (parts of) detectors.
  • Analysis and optimization of detector performance.
  • Operation of experiments.

Behavioural competencies

  • Working in teams.
  • Achieving results.
  • Managing self.
  • Learning and sharing knowledge.
  • Demonstrating flexibility.

Language skills

  • English: ability to understand and speak the language in professional contexts, draw-up technical specifications and/or scientific reports and make oral presentations.
  • French: basic knowledge would be an asset.

Eligibility and closing date

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN’s mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization. Employing a diverse workforce is central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States and Associate Member States.

This vacancy will be filled as soon as possible, and applications should normally reach us no later than 29.09.2020.

Employment conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (five years). Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.

These functions require:

  • Work in radiation areas.
  • Interventions in underground installations.
  • Work during nights, Sundays and official holidays, when required by the needs of the Organization.

Job grade: 6–7

Job reference: EP-AID-DT-2020-106-LD

Benchmark job title: Applied Physicist


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