Type of contract

Traineeship contract for a period of 4-6 months within the EGO Optics laboratory in the Interferometer Technology Department.


The Virgo Interferometer is the most sensitive gravitational-wave (GW) detector in Europe. It is a 3km laser interferometer located near Pisa, Italy. The European Gravitational Observatory (EGO, www.ego-gw.it) is the laboratory hosting and operating Virgo. Since the first GW detection in 2015, Virgo and the two LIGO interferometers in the USA have jointly detected several GW signals, opening the new era of GW astronomy.
A 1-year-long observation run (“O3”) was concluded in March 2020. The next observation run should start mid-2022: in the meantime, all detectors are being upgraded and work is ongoing to improve their performance, building on experience gained during the O3 run.

The EGO optics group is in charge of the input optics (INJ) system for the present and future upgrade of Virgo, but with a major role in all the Optics-related subjects of the interferometer, including stray light control, auxiliary lasers, and optical characterization.

The EGO Optics Group would like to develop a portable device which would be used in situ to characterize scattering off critical surfaces. One of the possibly limiting sources of noise is the stray light originated by the scattering of some residual aberrations on the core-optics, hitting some mechanical structures and then recombining with the main beam carrying spurious information. In order to mitigate this kind of noise, especially designed diaphragms and baffles are put in place along the main beam path. From time to time, the need for in-situ inspection of both core-optics and baffles might arise, so a diagnostic instrument is needed to measure the residual scattered light of those components.

Within this frame, the Optics Group would like to develop a portable scatterometer able to supply with a diagnostic of the surface of the installed baffles and, as a final goal, also of the core optics of the interferometer.

A prototype of this device will be assembled and characterized in the EGO Optics Lab. During this internship, the student will be in charge to complete the device and verify its compliance with the requirements. This will include the measurement and optimization of sensitivity and of the control electronics.

Participation to the possible publication of the results will be part of the internship work.


Applicants should be in their last years of study in optics or physics. The work will be at a level of Master thesis (equivalent to thesis for “laurea specialistica” in Italian). English required. Good attitude to experimental work is mandatory, familiarity with control systems and related hardware/software will be an asset. European citizenship, no criminal convictions.

Place of work

EGO – European Gravitational Observatory – Via Edoardo Amaldi cap 56021 Loc. Santo Stefano a Macerata – Cascina (Pisa) Italy.

How to apply?
Interested candidates are invited to fill in the Internship Application Form and send it, together with the CV, to internships@ego-gw.it

Further information

For the whole duration of the traineeship, EGO will pay a gross monthly wage of 500,00 euro and offer the lunch service at its canteen during working days to the student.

Considering the lack of public means of transport to reach the site, it is preferable having a car.

Depending on how the covid-19 pandemic evolves in the coming months, the present internship may have to be done partly or totally from remote.

Closing date for applications

Until position is filled

Piernicola Spinicelli, PhD
Email: piernicola.spinicelli@ego-gw.it

Antonino Chiummo, PhD
Email: antonino.chiummo@ego-gw.it
Phone: +39 050 752543