Graduate working at STFC

Fast Neutron Diamond Detectors for ChipIr (Physics/Engineering Sciences) - Year-Long Placement


STFC offers you an opportunity to gain paid practical experience as part of your degree. Each year STFC recruit up to 45 sandwich students who are able to use and develop the skills they’ve acquired at university in a working environment, providing learning on the job and working on real projects alongside expert scientists and engineers. Learning new skills to help in their further studies. 

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale. We support a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology and materials engineering, catalysis and polymers, and on to fundamental studies of materials.

A new state-of-the-art beamline, ChipIr (for Chip Irradiation), has been built at the ISIS neutron source for neutron irradiation experiments on electronic and avionic devices and systems.

Atmospheric neutrons (produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays) are a major concern to the reliability of micro-electronic devices, which, due to their constantly decreasing dimensions and increased functionality, are becoming more susceptible to failures caused by the nuclear interactions precipitated by these neutrons (the so called single event effects).

The ChipIr team, within an international collaboration, has been developing the use of diamond based detectors for fast neutron dosimetry and spectroscopy alongside more traditional fission and proton recoil type detectors.

The Position

Artificial diamonds are used for neutron measurements, thanks to nuclear reactions of neutrons on carbon nuclei. The performance of these detectors is generally very good although transient polarisation effects have been observed under irradiation. You will investigate the performances of new detector prototypes, develop code for data acquisition and data analysis. You will be supervised by Dr C. Cazzaniga and Dr C. Frost as scientific/technical advisors.

List of duties / responsibilities

In this role you will:

  • investigate the response functions of new diamond detector prototypes with reduced pixel size. This task will include measurements with neutron and charge particles and simulations with Monte Carlo methods high fast neutron fluxes are available at ISIS. The goal is to perform a steady state neutron measurement with the new prototype and to diagnose changes of the fast neutron irradiation intensity additional information can be obtained by a bi-parametric analysis of Time of Flight and Deposited Energy Spectra. The student will participate in the development of methods for data analysis.

Personal skills & Attributes

  • taking a degree in the physical or engineering sciences
  • knowledge of a scientific programming language such as Labview, C/C++ etc
  • ability to work independently and in a team
  • technical problem solving.

Any other Relevant Information

This is a post within the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Some overseas travel will be expected.Shortlisting and Interview Criteria

Knowledge/ Skills and Experience


  • familiarity with a common scientific programming language
  • familiarity with laboratory based experiments.


  • experience of project and group work.

Personal Skills & Qualities


  • good communication skills
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • good organisational and problem-solving skills
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them.

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