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Cryogenic Sample Environment - Industrial Placement

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STFC - ISIS - Cryogenic Sample Environment Industrial Placement

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 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.

STFC consists of several distinct departments which each focus on a different specialism within science, technology, innovation and support, yet work together to achieve STFC’s grand ambitions. Different departments may look for placement students with similar skills, so you should consider which role/s are most suitable to you, and apply for up to two of these.

The ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source 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 specialised 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. The successful applicant 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.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities:

You will join a close team of cryogenic experts as part of the ISIS sample environment group. It is this group’s responsibility to provide the best possible cryogenic environments to scientists and users at ISIS.

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 (ULT) experimental regime between 0.025 – 1 Kelvin. This capability is becoming increasingly popular within the scientific community at ISIS, with requests for novel and exciting ULT sample environment arriving at every proposal round.

To meet this growing demand, you will first familiarise themselves with cryogenic sample environment, from both theoretical and practical viewpoints, with a focus on dilution refrigeration and ULT physics.

Following from this they will become responsible for several projects that aim to improve ISIS’s capability to deliver the most demanding ULT experiments. These will include, but are not limited to:

  • Development of weak thermal link technology for use in the ULT regime
  • Cryogenic support of high-pressure experiments below 1 Kelvin
  • High precision analysis of gases used in the dilution refrigeration cycle
  • Collection and computer analysis of run time data, with an aim to predict and prevent problems as they occur.

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. 

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.


  • 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)
  • Right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • Achieved average of at least 2:1 on currently completed portion of Physics degree course (S)
  • Familiar with experimental measurement techniques, e.g. low amplitude electrical measurements, mass spectrometry etc. (S&I)
  • Familiar with a modern scientific programming language (e.g. Python/MatLab/Labview) (S&I)
  • Good communication skills (S&I)
  • Demonstrate good team working capabilities (S&I)
  • Excellent time and task management skills (S&I)
  • The willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical (S&I)
  • Ability to work in a radiation controlled area. (S)


  • Detailed knowledge in the areas of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics & cryogenic engineering (S&I)
  • Demonstrable experience of the implementation of small measurement systems (E.g. Perhaps using Arduino/Rpi hobbyist electronics) (S&I)
  • Practical experience with research level measurement instruments (E.g. Lock-in amplifiers/frequency spectrum analysers/mass spectrometers) (S&I)
  • Experience with vacuum systems (S&I)
  • In-depth knowledge of  a modern scientific programming language (S&I)
  • Experience with technical drawing/CAD. (S&I)


Cryogenic Sample Environment - Industrial Placement - IRC250834

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Number of vacancies: 
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