Type of contract

Traineeship contract for a period of 4 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.

Due to the complexity of the Virgo interferometer, the optical setup has to be accurately simulated and the laser beams have to be clearly traced in a drawing in order to ease the commissioning phase.

Up to now, this task was accomplished by means of a 2D Gaussian-beam tracing software known as Optocad. This software, open-source and written in Fortran, has some limitations due to the fact that it only propagates the beam on a fixed plane in 2D. Actually, due to the presence of vertically oriented wedges in core optics of the Virgo Interferometer, 2D is no longer enough to get a clear picture of the beam path and a 3D tracing is now required.Within this frame, the EGO Optics Group developed a new software tool able to trace the laser beams in 3D with assigned only the positions and shapes for the optical components but no indication on the order the beam will meet each of the components. The present internship will focus on extending the capabilities of the present version of this software and applying it to case studies related to the Virgo interferometer. 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 Bachelor thesis (equivalent to thesis for “laurea triennale” in Italian). English required. Good knowledge of at least one among Fortran, C, Python/Matlab required.Good attitude to programming and simulation work, along with knowledge of Gaussian optics is mandatory. Familiarity with work on optical benches 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.


Suzanne Melo, PhD
Email: suzanne.melo@ego-gw.it
Phone: +39 050 752 322

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