Cryogenic Sample Environment Sandwich Student - Placement

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
09 Oct 2018
06 Nov 2018
Start Date
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe's largest research organisations. We're trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we're driving ground-breaking advances in science, technology and Engineering.

STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate sandwich students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research. We offer an invaluable experience with exposure to world class science and technology, and the opportunity to develop working relationships that continue well after your placement has finished.

The ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. It is owned and operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). ISIS produces beams of neutrons and muons that allow scientists to study materials at the atomic level using a suite of instruments. It supports a national and international community of more than 2000 scientists who use neutrons and muons for research in physics, chemistry, materials science, geology, engineering and biology.

The Cryogenic Team within ISIS exists to provide highly specialized support to scientists and users, enabling them to carry out challenging experiments in some of the most extreme conditions possible. As a team we work with the latest cryogenic equipment, from relatively simple helium cryostats through to our suite of dilution refrigerators and high-field superconducting magnets. You will join our team for a period of 12 months, in which time they will tackle a series of projects which aim to further our capability to deliver world-leading science. In addition, as a full member of the Cryogenic Team, they will contribute to the day-to-day activities of the group, gaining a high level of technical skill in a bustling scientific environment.

You will join a close team of cryogenic experts, and will share our duty to provide the best possible cryogenic environments to scientists and users.

Our most extreme cryogenic temperatures are provided by the suite of dilution refrigerators which we operate, maintain and develop over time. This equipment allows access to the ultra-low temperature experimental regime below 100mK. This environment is becoming increasingly popular with the scientific community at ISIS, and we therefore look to enhance our capability in this area even further.

To meet this objective you will first familiarise themselves with the dilution refrigeration cycle, from both theoretical and practical viewpoints. Following from this you will become responsible for several projects focusing on this equipment. These will include, but are not limited to:
  • quantifying the effects of vibration on samples at ultra-low temperatures.
  • high precision analysis of cryogenic gases used in the refrigeration cycle.
  • collection and analysis of run time data, with an aim to predict and prevent problems as they occur.

The placement will involve interaction with scientists and engineers within ISIS, as well as with other members of the team.

Some of the work may require:
  • working with systems that can sustain extreme temperatures.
  • working with systems producing strong magnetic fields.
  • You will be required to work in a controlled radiation area.

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria

  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry
  • right to live and work in the UK
  • achieved average 2:1 on currently completed portion of Physics degree course
  • familiar with experimental measurement techniques, particularly low amplitude electrical measurements and mass spectrometry
  • familiar with a modern scientific programming language (e.g. Python/MatLab/Labview)
  • good communication skills
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • excellent time and task management skills
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • ability to work in a radiation controlled area

  • detailed knowledge in the areas of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics & cryogenic engineering
  • demonstrable experience of the implementation of small measurement systems (E.g. Perhaps using Arduino/Rpi hobbyist electronics)
  • practical experience with research level measurement instruments (E.g. Lock-in amplifiers/frequency spectrum analysers/mass spectrometers)
  • experience with low-amplitude electrical measurements
  • in-depth knowledge of a modern scientific programming language
  • experience with technical drawing/CAD

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at .

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people - and more broadly to the world.

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