Sandwich Student - Accelerator Physics Studies on CLARA - 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.

You will work in the Accelerator Physics Group within STFC's Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC). Particle accelerators, generating beams of charged particles, are an important technology of society, enabling research into many areas of fundamental science, as well as being used in medical treatment and diagnosis, and industrial applications. ASTeC specialises in the design, commissioning and experimental development of particle accelerators, leading and contributing to accelerator projects both in the UK and abroad. ASTeC has recently designed and commissioned the first stage of CLARA (Compact Linear Accelerator for Research and Applications) facility at Daresbury. Among other applications, CLARA is designed to provide a test facility for Free Electron Laser (FEL) research.

You will contribute to research on CLARA. You will work in a key accelerator physics area and participate in experimental work on the CLARA machine including measurement and data analysis and perform simulations to understand the underlying physics. The aim would be to achieve significant results and present them in international conferences and peer-reviewed publications, as placement students in ASTeC have in previous years.

CLARA is an electron accelerator, unique in the UK, which utilises advanced technology and this placement represents the opportunity to work directly on, and contribute to, a scientific facility pursuing science of international importance.

For example, a key accelerator physics topic gaining international importance, especially in Free Electron Lasers, is particle beam loss and beam 'halo' development (unwanted particles which are not part of the core beam). Studies have previously been performed on CLARA on sources and development of beam halo, including probing the fundamental physics involved and taking detailed measurements on the machine. With new components and configurations of CLARA being developed by 2019, including installation of a new electron source, and more advanced beam loss detection systems, we seek a deeper understanding of this area.

The exact details of the final project will be decided taking into consideration the abilities and interest of the student and the CLARA project status.

There is the possibility of travel to international conferences (previous students have travelled to the International Particle Accelerator Conference in Copenhagen and Seoul, and workshops at CERN). Some casual shift working/unsociable hours may be required. Relevant safety training will be provided.

You will be based at the Cockcroft Institute at Daresbury Laboratory. There are around 300 STFC staff at the Laboratory. The Cockcroft Institute is a collaboration between ASTeC and the universities of Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, and Strathclyde. The work programme will initially involve guided study and lectures to understand the important aspects of the design and operation of an electron accelerator. The working environment at the laboratory includes ASTeC and STFC staff (including new graduates), and academic/university researchers including many PhD students who you will have the opportunity to interact with. There are several different opportunities for sports and social activities at the Daresbury campus.

Shortlisting 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
  • be studying a degree in Physics or closely related subject
  • good verbal and written communication skills
  • readiness to learn & take on new challenges
  • good general computing skills.

  • previous project work in scientific research either in University or elsewhere
  • experience of one or more high level software packages (for example MATLAB, Mathematica)
  • experience of programming languages, e.g. Python, C++
  • evidence of initiative, in finding and pursuing opportunities to gain extra-curricular experience
  • evidence of taking positions of responsibility and/or teamwork.

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/Assessment Date: 27th-29th November 2018

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