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Max-Planck-Institue for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE)

Research Field

A description of the fascinating research topics follows soon.

Address/Contact

Giessenbachstrasse 1
85748 Garching b. München

Members of the Research Group

Scientists

Other Staff

Teaching

Course with Participations of Group Members

Offers for Theses in the Group

Alert scheme for gamma-ray transients

The recent detection of gravitational waves (GW) with the advanced LIGO/Virgo instruments in conjunction with a short gamma-ray burst (GRB) has surprised gamma-ray astronomers because of the substantially different properties of the GRB  signal as compared to canonical GRBs. This motivates an "open-mind" search for untriggered transient events in the data stream of the gamma-ray burst monitor (GBM) on the Fermi satellite. With two previous Bachelor theses we have developed a physical background model, paving the way for automated searches, and subsequent source and background fitting.
 
This thesis shall be devoted to establishing a Python program for identifying long-term (> few minutes up to a year) transients in Fermi/GBM data, localizing them on the sky, and deriving basic properties (spectrum, light curve). One pot\ential application is to determine the spectral properties of the predicted seasonal variation of the background due to axions. The project includes elements from computational and observational high-energy astrophysics, and will allow for obtaining extensive knowledge on the broad class of high-energy transients. 
 
Some background in astrophysics is advantegeous, but affinity with Python programming is a must. 
 
Contact: Jochen Greiner, jcg@mpe.mpg.de, MPE Room 1.3.13, Tel. 30000-3847

suitable as
  • Master’s Thesis Nuclear, Particle, and Astrophysics
Supervisor: Jochen Greiner
Testing an Anger camera for gamma-ray spectroscopy

The improvements of Silicon photo-multipliers (SiPM) over the last years qualify them as promising replacements for classical photo-multiplier tubes (PMT). This is particularly interesting for cases where the high voltages and large dimensions of PMTs are difficult to afford, such as for space applications. For the simplest version of gamma-ray detectors, a scintillator crystal read out by SiPMs, the size of the scintillator determines the sensitivity, and thus should stay large. This suggests an Anger camera principle as the most efficient way for a gamma-ray detector in space: a mosaic of sparsely distributed single-cell SiPMs instead of the coverage of the full scintillator area.

This Master thesis shall test and optimize a 5x5 cm^2 sized CeBr3 scintillator read out with a mosaic of SiPMs. Measurements of the spatial and spectral resolution as well as efficiency (noise) and power consumption are foreseen, and form the basic parameters for the trade-off study. The set-up has two potential applications: (i) in the ComPol Cubesat mission pursued within the Origins Cluster of Excellence, and (ii) the POLAR-2 gamma-ray burst polarisation mission developed within the SFB "Neutrinos and Dark Matter".

Interest in electronics and ASIC readout is required, and some background in astrophysics is advantegeous. The lab-work will be done at MPP Freimann, shared with Prof. S. Mertens group.
 
Contact: Jochen Greiner, jcg@mpe.mpg.de, MPE Room 1.3.13, Tel. 30000-3847

suitable as
  • Bachelor’s Thesis Physics
  • Master’s Thesis Nuclear, Particle, and Astrophysics
Supervisor: Jochen Greiner
Improving the localization of GRBs

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are flashes of gamma-rays resulting from the death of massive stars or the merger of neutron stars. The latter also produce gravitational waves. The presently most prolific GRB detector is the "Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor" (GBM) on the Fermi satellite, containing 12 NaI scintillation detectors. The position is derived by comparing the relative count rates in the differently oriented scintillator planes.

This thesis shall use existing flight data of the brightest gamma-ray source on the sky (the Crab nebula) and improve the spatial resolution of the response matrix of selected detectors. The result shall be tested by localizing selected GRBs with GBM, and comparison against known positions of these GRBs from other satellites (e.g. Swift).

Technically, this thesis involves learning of (i) learning the basics of GRBs, (ii) data analysis of non-imaging gamma-ray detectors, (iii) understanding and correcting detector effects, (iv) fitting light curves with different count statistics, and (v) analyzing and combining large amounts of individual constraints into a coherent picture.

Some background in astrophysics is advantegeous. Python knowledge is required, and good programming skills. Joy in data analysis is required.

    Contact: Jochen Greiner, jcg@mpe.mpg.de, MPE Room 1.3.13, Tel. 30000-3847

suitable as
  • Bachelor’s Thesis Physics
Supervisor: Jochen Greiner

Current and Finished Theses in the Group

Mass Estimate of the Black Hole in the X-Ray Binary MAXI J1305-704
Abschlussarbeit im Masterstudiengang Physik (Kern-, Teilchen- und Astrophysik)
Themensteller(in): Jochen Greiner
An Independent Mass Estimate for the Stellar Black Hole in 1A 0620-00
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Jochen Greiner
Emission Maps of H2CS and its Deuterated Isotopologues towards the Pre-Stellar Core L1544
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Frank Eisenhauer
Gamma radiation from type Ia supernovae
Abschlussarbeit im Masterstudiengang Physik (Kern-, Teilchen- und Astrophysik)
Themensteller(in): Roland Diehl
Jet opening angle of short gamma-ray bursts
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Jochen Greiner
Nuclear excitation lines: Gamma ray astrophysics with INTEGRAL
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Roland Diehl
Measuring the Cosmic Gamma-ray Background and Earth Albedo Spectrum with Fermi/GBM
Abschlussarbeit im Masterstudiengang Physik (Kern-, Teilchen- und Astrophysik)
Themensteller(in): Jochen Greiner
Detection of Molecular Transitions in Star Formation Regions and Spectroscopy Laboratories
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Roland Diehl
Sagittarius A* Flares in H-band as measured from the Acquisition Camera Images of GRAVITY
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Frank Eisenhauer
Investigation of Cosmic Rays with Gamma Spectroscopy
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Roland Diehl
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