Ultrafast Laser Science 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 Central Laser Facility (CLF) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is a world-class research group with over 100 technical and scientific staff, providing advanced research facilities for UK and international scientists.

Artemis is the CLF's facility for ultrafast laser and extreme ultraviolet (XUV) science, and carries out a variety of experiments from gas-phase chemistry to materials science. The facility is based on high repetition rate, tuneable laser sources and ultra-short pulses of XUV radiation, connected by vacuum beam-lines taking the pulses to interaction chambers. Experiments on Artemis aim to use XUV pulses to track how electrons move in dissociating molecules, or during phase changes in advanced materials such as graphene.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

A placement position working within the Artemis Group alongside staff and visiting scientists is being offered, with an emphasis on ultrafast science with XUV pulses. You will be helping to set up experiments with university groups, solving problems as they occur. This will involve working with optics and ultra-high vacuum systems. You will be trained in instrument control programming and data analysis. You will also work projects to develop the facility, both on your own and as part of the team. You will be working with scientists, engineers and students from the Central Laser Facility and with visiting scientists from UK and European university research groups.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

Highly motivated. Able to work independently as well as within a team. Effective written and verbal communication skills. Good problem-solving skills. You should be following a Physics or Chemistry degree course. Relevant modules include:
  • experimental laboratory skills
  • quantum mechanics/atomic physics
  • optics/lasers
  • condensed matter physics
  • programming/data analysis.

Shortlisting (S) and Interview (I) 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 (S)
  • studying physics, chemistry or a closely related subject, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher (S & I)
  • right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • A-level Maths (or equivalent) (S)
  • A-level Physics (or equivalent) (S)
  • GCSE English or equivalent (S)
  • experimental physics or chemistry laboratory course (S)
  • experience of standard computer packages (e.g. Office) (S&I)
  • ability to apply knowledge of science to solve problems (I)
  • understanding relevant fundamental principles from their university course (I)
  • highly motivated (I)
  • able to work independently and as part of a team (I)
  • effective written and verbal communication skills (S&I)
  • good problem-solving skills (I)
  • responsible approach to health and safety (I).

  • A-level Chemistry or further Maths (S)
  • computer programming skills (S)
  • experience working in a research or laboratory environment (S&I)

This role will involve working in tight spaces where access is restricted and will involve standing for extended periods. Successful candidates will also be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles, glove and a face mask.

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.

Interview Date: 27th - 29th November 2018

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