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Development of Neutron Irradiation of Electronics Industrial Placement

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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.

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. 

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. 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. ISIS has recently completed the ChipIr instrument on its Second Target Station. This instrument has been designed to be one of the world’s best accelerated testing facilities for single-event effects in electronic chips. Single-event effects occur when fast “atmospheric” neutrons cause errors in electronic equipment and are increasing in importance across the electronics industry as chips are being used in more and more critical end-uses. The ChipIr instrument is currently in the later part of its technical and scientific commissioning and already is developing strong commercial and industrial user base across the electronics and avionics sector alongside a vibrant academic user community.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities:

An industrial placement student vacancy exists to join the group running the ChipIr instrument. The successful candidate will investigate the vulnerability of neural network systems to neutrons. Neural networks are becoming an attractive solution in safety critical applications, for automating vehicles in the consumer, military, and aerospace markets. Thanks to the intrinsic approximate nature of neural-network computation, some output errors are sufficiently close to the expected value that the application treats them as correct. Through irradiation campaigns, the student will identify the causes of tolerable and critical errors.

You will:

  • Work within a team delivering a neutron irradiation facility to a world-wide electronics industry
  • Develop a fast-neutron irradiation experiments on electronics devices (such as SRAMs, FPGAs)
  • Develop test regime and procedures to demonstrate the effectiveness of the test in the ChipIr neutron beam
  • Extend fast neutron measurement for diagnostics on the ISIS source and potentially cross calibration with other world wide neutron facilities
  • Compare results of 14 MeV neutrons and atmospheric
  • Get involved in the commissioning and development of detector systems.

The position represents an excellent opportunity to work on a state-of-the-art instrument in a highly industrially relevant and rapidly developing area and to develop your skills in scientific and technical computing, problem solving, communication and team working.

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.


Development of Neutron Irradiation of Electronics Industrial Placement - IRC250791

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Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5