Theses & Internships at ICE

Do you have a research project in mind?

We offer several opportunities in our institute for students interested in pursuing a research career, such as doing a thesis with us.

The list of available topics to complete Master (TFM) and Bachelor (TFG) thesis is below. If interested, please send your Bachelor/Master academic transcripts and a brief CV to the researcher in charge of the project (CC Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.), indicating the approximate date of your availability.

We also accept official curricular internships, valid for universities. Most of the topics for Bachelor or Master thesis can be possibly downscaled for an internship project. Please bear in mind that we cannot host informal or summer internships.

List of available TFM / TFG projects


TopicICE researchers involvedDescriptionLink
Internship within the Gravitational Astronomy group
Miquel Nofrarias

Gravitational waves are a prediction of the Theory of General Relativity recently detected by LIGO laser interferometers on the ground. LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) is an ESA mission scheduled to launch in 2034 with the aim of detecting gravitational radiation from space by placing three satellites in heliocentric orbit separated by 2.5 million km one from the other, forming a triangle.

The Gravitational Astronomy group at ICE-CSIC and IEEC is seeking two highly motivated candidates to join the Gravitational Astronomy group at ICE-CSIC and IEEC with an internship. Remuneration and duration of the internship will be in accordance with University regulation, in case the internship is linked to the student studies. The Gravitational Astronomy group is a multidisciplinary team with experts from a wide variety of fields, such as electronics, physics, and software, and with a long-term successful expertise in the field leading the Spanish contribution to the precursor mission, LISA Pathfinder.

Our group promotes a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applicants regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. We strongly encourage women and underrepresented minorities in physical sciences to apply.

Functions

Our group is now leading the Spanish contribution to LISA. The mission in now in its phase B1 (detailed design phase). In this context welcome applications of students willing to do an internship during its degree or master studies. Available topics being:

  • High precision temperature sensors for LISA.
  • High precision magnetic sensors for LISA.
  • Optical metrology techniques for temperature sensing.
  • Active cancellation of the environment magnetic field.
  • Embedded software for optical metrology experiments.
  • Magnetic field modelling. 
Participation requeriments and selection criteria
  • Students enrolled in electronics engineering, software engineering, aerospace engineering, physics, master or equivalent degrees.
  • Fluent English, both written and spoken.
  • The internship is expected to start in the Fall semester.
  • Motivation to perform the TFG/TFM in the topic selected by the student will be positively evaluated

Contact
Validation of the prototype level-2 flooding detector operator for ESA's HydroGNSS mission
Estel Cardellach

HydroGNSS is the second ESA Scout mission, a satellite that will provide measurements of key hydrological climate variables, including soil moisture, freeze–thaw state over permafrost, inundation and wetlands, and above-ground biomass, using a technique called Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) reflectometry. HydroGNSS funding has now been secured, and it shall be launched in 2024. ICE CSIC/IEEC is part of the proposing and developing team, in charge of --among other aspects-- developing, implementing and validating the operator that will retrieve Earth surface flooding conditions from the electromagnetic measurements.

HydroGNSS will have the unique capability to measure and download to Earth GNSS-R measurements at much higher sampling rate and preserving the information embedded in the phase of the electromagnetic field. These aspects open the door to new retrieval techniques, at much higher spatial resolution. The Earth Observation group at ICE-CSIC/IEEC has developed an initial algorithm that uses phase information to detect flooding. This algorithm or its evolution will become the operational level-2 operator, this is, the official mission algorithm for inverting the electromagnetic records into geophysically meaningful variables. The student will contribute towards the validation of the flood detection algorithm using existing GNSS-R data from already orbiting satellites and other sources of information.

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Measuring the Hubble constant with Type Ia supernovae in the near-infrared while studying its diversity
Lluís Galbany

The main goal of this project is to provide an updated measurement of the Hubble constant (H0) using SNe Ia observations in the NIR J and H bands, while studying different parametrizations of their light-curves, and testing up to which extent SNe Ia are more homogeneous in the NIR compared to the optical. All these by using a sample of objects with observations in both wavelength regimes that cover epochs before maximum and up to a few weeks past-maximum light.

The student will extract the main photometric properties by both performing gaussian process interpolation and template-fitting to SN Ia light-curves with the versatile SNooPy code. Interesting light-curve parameters to extract include the time and peak magnitude of the primary and secondary maxima, and at the bottom of the valley between maxima in the NIR bands. Hubble diagrams will be constructed for every single band, and H0 will be determined from the best fit cosmology. The scatter between SN distances and the best cosmology will be compared among bands, and dependences between the scatter and any of the extracted parameters will be studied.

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Study of the G14.225 high mass star forming region
Josep Miquel Girart & Gemma Busquet

The infrared dark cloud (IRDC) G14.225−0.506 is part of the extended (77 × 15 pc) and massive (> 105 solar masses) molecular cloud. The cloud is located at a distance of 1.98 kpc and it is associated with several signpost of star formation activity. A rich population of young stars have been detected around or within the cloud from observations at infrared and X-ray wavelengths with space telescopes.  We have obtained a wealth of data with state-of-the art radio facilities (ALMA, SMA and IRAM radio telescopes). The thesis will be aimed to study the molecular content within the IRDC G14.225−0.506 region in order to better understand the relation of the properties of gas in the different cluster formation observed in the region.

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Neutron stars as a laboratory for dense matter
Cristina Manuel & Laura Tolós

Compact stars, and more particularly neutron stars, are a unique laboratory for testing matter under extreme conditions. Over the past years a particular effort has been invested in studying different scenarios for the dense phases of matter in the core of neutron stars, from quarks to hadrons at high densities. The final aim is to understand neutron star observables, such as the mass, radius, magnetic fields or rotation, in terms of a plausible scenario for its interior.

For this purpose, theoretical approaches based on effective field theories for hadronic and quark matter have been developed in our group. The master thesis proposed aims at following the study of the interior of neutron stars by applying the previously developed theoretical frameworks to obtain the equation of state and transport properties of dense matter in the core of neutron stars. With these ingredients, we will be able to address the mass and radius of neutron stars as well as the dynamical properties of neutron stars, going from rotation to the effect of magnetic fields onto neutron stars.

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The Response of the LISA Gravitational Wave Observatory
Carlos Sopuerta

LISA (the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) is the future third L-class mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) to detect gravitational waves from space in the low-frequency band (between 10 micro-Hertz and 1 Hertz). LISA will detect gravitational waves generated by the coalescence of supermassive black hole binaries; by the capture and subsequent inspiral of stellar-mass black holes into supermassive black holes; by ultracompact binaries in our own galaxy; stellar-mass black hole binaries in the milli-Hertz regime; stochastic backgrounds; etc. 

In General Relativity, gravitational waves appear two have two independent polarizations, so that a general gravitational-wave emission can be written as a linear combination of these two polarizations, and similarly the response of LISA to it. However, in metric theories of gravity, gravitational waves may have up to six independent polarizations. The goal of this master thesis project is to study the response of LISA to the most general gravitational wave, or in other words, to gravitational waves that contain all possible six polarizations.

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Modelling and correction of stellar activity effects to detect and characterize small exoplanets: simulations & algorithmic approaches
Ignasi Ribas

Stellar activity poses a major limitation to the extraction of planetary signals from radial velocities and transits. An evolving and rotating inhomogeneous star surface hampers the detection of small planets in temperate orbits and also atmospheric characterization of exoplanets using transit spectroscopy. Our ability to account for these effects is closely related to improving our understanding of stellar activity as a function of time and wavelength. This project will develop methodology to retrieve planetary signals from data affected by activity. One of the main tools will be the StarSim code, which is capable of accurately simulating stellar variability effects. Among other sources, proprietary data from the CARMENES radial velocity spectrometer will be analyzed.

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The delivery of water and organics to Earth from chondritic materials available in the protoplanetary disk
Josep M. Trigo

The transport of water and organics to our planet occurred from sequestration of these volatile phases at an early stage of the formation of planetary embryos. The study of chondritic meteorites can be complemented with the interpretation of modern dynamic studies of the mixing of primordial materials available in proto-planetary disks.

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Pulsar population synthesis with Machine Learning
Nanda Rea & Vanessa Graber

Although about a billion neutron stars are expected to exist in our own Galaxy, observational constraints limit us to only detecting a small fraction of them; we only know about 3,000 of these compact objects to date. To overcome this gap, so-called population-synthesis approaches are used to simulate many synthetic neutron star population, which are subsequently compared to the observed population of pulsars. This allows us to constrain the allowed parameter space for the neutron star characteristics at birth and learn more about the entire neutron star population and its connection to some of the Universe's most energetic events, such as Fast Radio and Gamma-Ray Bursts.

However, the comparison between the simulated and the observed neutron star populations is difficult, as the underlying parameter space is highly multi-dimensional. Recent advances in machine learning, in particular convolutional neural networks, are particularly promising to tackle these tasks. This project aims to study those machine-learning techniques and algorithms that are suited to these kinds of optimisation problems and implement them in a population-synthesis pipeline that will allow us to constrain the initial properties of the entire neutron star population.

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