Astrophysics Group

Cavendish Laboratory

Available research projects/areas

Graduate Research areas/topics for October 2015 entry

The upcoming scientific programme of AP Group is built around six primary areas. These are enumerated below in broad terms (where the ordering of topic and supervisors carries no “priority”):

  1. D Queloz:  A comprehensive research programme on the detection and characterisation of exoplanets. This includes active participation in the development of new instruments as well as the use of ground and space observatories. Our work is conducted in collaboration with other Cambridge institutes as well as other teams in UK and in Europe.  Further details are available at the following website:  http://www.mrao.cam.ac.uk/research/exoplanets.
  2. J Richer: Observational studies of star formation using radio and submillimetre techniques: (a) characterising the structure of galactic star forming clouds on parsec scales using submillimetre surveys with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope; (b) eMERLIN studies of protostellar jet sources.
  3. P Alexander, C Carilli, R Maiolino: The investigation of galaxy formation and evolution through the cosmic epochs by exploiting observations in the millimeter, infrared and optical bands, obtained at some the major groundbased and space observatories (e.g. IRAM, ALMA, VLT, Herschel, HST, and soon with JWST). Our research areas include the coevolution of star formation and black hole accretion, the dynamics of high redshift galaxies, the evolution of the gas content in galaxies (including gas flows), the evolution of the chemical enrichment  and the evolution of the dust properties in galaxies. These studies exploit samples spanning from galaxies in the local Universe to the most distant objects known. Further details are available at the following web site: http://www.mrao.cam.ac.uk/research/extragalactic-group-2/.
  4. E de Lera, P Alexander: The investigation and development of novel sensors for radio astronomy. This includes the use of new materials such as Graphene. Our research group has a wide range of expertise in the development of receivers for radio astronomy. We lead the sensor (antenna) design for the SKA-low telescope as well as other instruments (RAPID, HERA). Our activities range from the electromagnetic modeling and design of the sensors and receivers to its development, deployment and calibration. We are now studying new ways to design innovative sensor systems; more sensitive, lighter and easier to calibrate for the future radio telescopes.
  5. D Buscher, C Haniff, R Maiolino, J Young: The development of hardware and software associated with the next generation of near-infrared/optical interferometers and high resolution spectrometers for large telescopes. Potential topics related to interferometry include: high-sensitivity interferometric beam combiners, low-noise infrared array detectors, and software algorithms for reduction and image reconstruction of fringe data. Other opportunities are related to the optical and mechanical design of large spectrographs for the next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes, including novel techniques for the manufacture and testing of large diffraction gratings.
  6. A Lasenby, M Hobson, R Saunders, P Alexander: An ambitious and timely programme of experimental cosmology that addresses themes of structure formation, the evolution of baryonic gas during galaxy assembly, the tensor-to-scalar ratio during inflation, and the interplay of magnetic fields and gas in the intra-cluster medium. We intend to exploit data from ALMA, AMI, EVLA, e-MERLIN, Planck and SKA pathfinders to achieve our science aims in these areas. We will capitalise on our expertise in radio and CMB observations, theoretical modelling and data analysis; in addition we have collaborations in place which will give us access to complementary data sets in other wavebands.
  7. M Hobson, A Lasenby: A complementary programme (to our observational work) in theoretical cosmology addressing the confrontation of theoretical predictions with experiment, and the best way to carry this out, as well as original work in fundamental aspects of cosmology and gravitation. Current and planned work includes comparison of cosmological models and data sets using Bayesian evidence; tests of predictions from modified gravity theories and studies of inflation using data from the Planck satellite.

Please note that the summaries above provide only a snapshot and overview of the broad research areas undertaken by staff in the group. As such they are liable to change, and so you may wish to revisit these pages closer to the deadline for applications in February 2015 to check for any revisions and/or updates.

If you are interested in applying for projects with the Detector Physics Group, you are advised to contact Professor Stafford Withington directly at stafford “at” mrao.cam.ac.uk to obtain details of his group’s opportunities this year.