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PhD Positions in Direct Dark Matter Searches

University of Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
Posting live until
18 Apr 2024

The Experimental Astroparticle Physics Group of Prof. Penning at the University of Zurich announces the opening of two PhD positions for the LZ and TESSERACT dark matter (DM) search experiments.

LZ is a two-phase LXe TPC, hermetically surrounded by an active neutron veto and taking data until 2028. The experiment is located a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, USA. LZ provides leading WIMP-type DM sensitivities and explores many novel signatures for DM and other rare event measurements. The group is centrally involved in the operation of LZ’s neutron veto, event reconstruction, calibration, and data analysis. The group further is involved in R&D for XLZD, a future DM experiment.

TESSERACT is a novel cryogenic DM experiment that will provide leading sensitivity for light DM, up to about the mass of a proton. It utilizes state-of-the-art superconducting sensors and utilizes a multi-target approach using superfluid helium, sapphire, and GaAs to maximize sensitivity to multiple DM interactions and to identify and discriminate novel backgrounds. The experiment will be built and operated at the Modane Underground Laboratory.

The successful candidate will play a key role in the analysis of data, hardware activities and preparations for future experiments. The thesis work will include some of the following topics:

  • Data analysis of LZ or TESSERACT
  • R&D and prototyping either for XLZD or TESSERACT
  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Supporting underground operations and data-taking

We are looking for exceptional candidates who are strongly motivated to pursue a rigorous research program in an inspiring, international environment at the University of Zurich. A master's degree in physics and a solid background in particle or astroparticle physics are required. The ideal candidate will be interested in instrumentation, data analysis and willingness to travel. Enthusiasm to go beyond existing experience is highly valued.

Applicants should send a curriculum vitae, academic transcripts, and a research statement, and arrange for two letters of recommendation to be sent to:

Ms. Brigitte Freund,

Physics Department of the University of Zurich,

Winterthurerstr. 190/Bldg 36

CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland


The position can start at the earliest convenience. For full consideration, completed applications including reference letters should be received by May 31, 2024. Applications received after that date will be considered until the position is filled.


Prof. Björn Penning, email:

Brigitte Freund, email:


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