The experimental High Energy Physics group at the Galician Institute of High Energy Physics (IGFAE) of the University of Santiago de Compostela has an opening for a Ph.D. studentship in the LHCb experiment at CERN. This is an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider looking for new physics in the flavour sector. The LHCb experiment has been running since 2010 and has taken data at different energies with an extraordinary physics output.

Currently, an upgraded apparatus is being constructed and installed. This phase-I upgrade will employ a 40 MHz readout with a very flexible software-based trigger, which will allow the experiment to function effectively at the higher luminosity of 2 x1033 cm-2s-1, doubling the signal efficiency of the physics channels. The group at IGFAE is involved in the design and construction of the vertex detector. This is an ultra-light hybrid silicon pixel detector capable of reading out data at the tremendous rates required at the upgrade. The track reconstruction speed and precision are enhanced relative to the previous detector even at the high occupancy conditions of the upgrade, due to the pixel geometry and a closest distance of approach to the LHC beams of just 5.1 mm for the first sensitive pixel. The detector contains 41 million 55 x 55 mm2 silicon pixels, read out by the custom developed ASIC (VeloPix). The hottest ASIC will have to cope with integrated hit rates of up to 900 MHz which translates to a bandwidth of 16.64 Gb/s. The sensor guard ring design has been improved to cope with the high irradiation levels, which are highly non-uniform and reach 8×1015 1 MeV neq cm−2 at the innermost region. The material budget is optimised with the use of a novel technique with evaporative CO2 coolant circulating in micro-channels within a thin silicon substrate.

In addition, a phase-II of the upgrade is being prepared at the moment. An intense R&D on radiation hard sensors with fast timing capabilities has being launched to address the new generation detector for LHCb at the High Luminosity-LHC.

The timescale of the proposed Ph.D. thesis (2021-2025) implies the commissioning and operation of the upgraded phase-I detector and most importantly the R&D on sensor technology and readout electronics for the upgrade phase-II. Funded research stays at CERN and other centres are envisioned.

Required qualifications

Interested candidates must be in possession of a Master of Science degree, ideally in Microelectronics Engineering or related fields, to be able to start a Ph.D. at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. Applicants may also be all those people who, at the time of submission of the application, are not in possession of a master title but would be able to get one before signing the contract (July-September 2021). Good knowledge of English is also required.


The 4-year Ph.D. contract (Personal Investigador Predoctoral en Formación or Formación de Personal Investigador-FPI) is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the “Programa Estatal de Promoción del Talento y su Empleabilidad en I+D+I” (FPI). This position is associated to the research project “Studying Lepton Flavour Universality and the Nuclear Structure with the Upgraded LHCb Experiment”, ref. PID2019-110378GB-I00. The official call is available at  

The deadline for applications is October 27th (14:00 hours). 

The minimum salary compensation that researchers in training must receive will be 16,250 euros gross per year for each of the first two years, 17,410 for the third year and 21,760 for the fourth year.

For more information, please contact: Abraham Gallas


The Galician Institute for High Energy Physics (IGFAE) at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC) is a research institute accredited as María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence by the Spanish Ministry of Science. It hosts around 100 researchers, including more than 20 postdocs, 40 PhD students and two ERC grantees. IGFAE is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its personnel and particularly welcomes applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.

The Universidade de Santiago de Compostela is a five-century institution located in Santiago de Compostela, a lively city known for its beautiful and historic architecture. Its Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.