Applied Physicist (Alignment Systems) (EP-ADO-AM-2019-94-LD)

  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Contract

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 a qualified and proactive Applied Physicist, who has expertise in the design, operation and maintenance of highest precision alignment systems for large particle physics experiments? Then this opportunity is for you. Join the largest particle physics research laboratory in the world! CERN, take part!

The Experimental Physics (EP) Department carries out research in the field of experimental particle physics, supporting several experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. ATLAS is a general-purpose particle physics experiment operated by an international collaboration, and it is designed to exploit the full discovery potential and the huge range of physics opportunities that the LHC provides. The physics reach of the ATLAS experiment is determined by its capability of measuring with high accuracy several physics quantities of the particles generated in the LHC collision, as the particle’s momentum. To achieve the required momentum resolution for muons, the positions of all the measuring devices have to be known and kept under control with an accuracy of about 50 microns over a volume of 20x20x40 m3.

ATLAS Muon Detector Technical Design Report


You will be working on the alignment system of the ATLAS experiment, managing its several thousands of optical sensors which are measuring in real time the positions of muon chambers relative to each other as well as to calibrated reference objects.

You will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of this system and, in close collaboration with the ATLAS Muon project leader, you will:

  • Play a leading role in the operation of the alignment system.
  • Define the maintenance plan of the system, including repair and replacement of broken sensors, and ensure that adequate resources and support as well as spare parts are available.
  • Lead the effort to provide regular updates of the alignment constants to the ATLAS Combined Performance Group for offline event reconstruction.
  • Train the next generation of experimental particle physicists in the operation of the ATLAS alignment system and in its data analysis.

In addition you will play a leading role in the ATLAS technical review and follow-up of the detector systems for the High-Luminosity LHC upgrade.

In close collaboration with the Upgrade Coordinator and the Technical Coordinator of ATLAS you will:

  • Participate and chair reviews of the detector and mechanical systems foreseen for the ATLAS upgrades.
  • Organise these reviews and summarise their outcomes in reports.



Master's degree or PhD or equivalent relevant experience in the field of applied physics or a related field.


  • Proven in-depth experience with alignment systems of large particle detectors.
  • Extensive experience with hardware and software of optical alignment systems: sensor operation principle, sensor calibration, sensor readout, sensor data acquisition systems.
  • Experience with alignment reconstruction software, sensor-based and track-based alignment procedures.
  • Proven experience in reviewing technical and schedule aspects of large projects in particle physics experiments.
  • Experience in leading and managing a team in matrix organisation.
  • Experience with the ATLAS muon spectrometer alignment system would be an asset.

Technical competencies:

  • Simulation, design and development of optical systems: in particular optical alignment sensors.
  • Simulation, design and development of physics experiments, in particular optical alignment systems.
  • Analysis and optimization of detector performance.
  • Assembly and integration of detectors.
  • Assembly and integration of infrastructure for detectors or experimental facilities.
  • Operation of particle physics experiments.

Behavioural competencies:

  • Working in teams: working well in groups and readily fitting into a team; participating fully and taking an active role in team activities.
  • Achieving results: driving work / projects along and seeing them through to their conclusion.
  • Communicating effectively: ensuring that information, procedures and decisions are appropriately documented.
  • Setting direction.

Language skills:

  • English: proficient level / excellent command in spoken and written. Ability to draw-up technical specifications and/or scientific reports and to make oral presentations.
  • French: willingness to learn the language rapidly.

Additional Information

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 05.01.2020

Employment Conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (5 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.
  • A valid driving licence.
  • Work during nights, Sundays and official holidays, when required by the needs of the Organization.

Job grade: 6-7

Job reference: EP-ADO-AM-2019-94-LD

Benchmark Job Title: Applied Physicist

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