Dr Jessica Steinlechner

Assistant professor, Maastricht University

Jessica Steinlechner is an assistant professor in the department for Gravitational Waves and Fundamental Physics at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

She did her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, Germany, followed by postdoc periods at the Institute for Gravitational Research in Glasgow, UK, and the Institute for Laser Physics at Hamburg University, Germany. In Maastricht, she is leading the research on mirror development for future gravitational wave detectors.

She is involved in large scale projects such as the LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors in the US and in Italy, and in the development of the European Einstein Telescope. Within the international gravitational-wave community, she chairs working groups on optics research and a committee for the involvement, support and recognition of junior scientists.

Her research focusses on the development and characterization of the large-scale mirror substrates and their highly-reflective coatings, which meet the extreme requirements on low optical absorption, scattering and thermal noise of future gravitational-wave detectors – at room temperature and at cryogenics. Materials of particular interest are crystalline-silicon substrates and, amongst several others, amorphous silicon and silicon-nitride thin films. The mixture of optics, material science and modelling provides a lot of potential for collaboration with other fields of research, e.g. within physics, chemistry or engineering.

She is looking forward to making new contacts within the international research community and in particular to explore exciting new possibilities for interdisciplinary collaborations.