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High power laser applications investigator - 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 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 Central Laser Facility based at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is a world leading, cutting edge research department containing high power lasers, Vulcan and Astra Gemini, as well as materials sciences and life sciences groups using medium and low power lasers. Researchers from the UK, EU and other countries world-wide come to use our facilities to carry out experiments requiring  high power lasers on a variety of applied and blue skies topics, such as ion source development for medical application, fusion mechanisms for energy, x-ray source development for ultra-fast imaging, laboratory astrophysics, photo-induced nuclear reactions, to name a few.

A placement positions working within the High Power Laser (HPL) Target Area teams alongside our visiting scientists are being offered, with an emphasis on participation in, as well as planning and support of, high power laser-plasma interactions experiments. In addition there will be several short and long term projects based on both diagnostic development and implementation.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

From the outset, our research scientist will be tasked with developing techniques to find the optimum laser conditions for coupling a diode pumped laser driven system with matter or plasma, and for momentum transfer and developing diagnostic techniques. This concept is of fundamental physical interest to many fields of laser matter interaction, but also has many real word applications such orbital space debris removal. Our field is one that is quickly evolving, and your research will be based on applying the latest published research to current state of the art laser facilities.

To investigate this, you will have the ability to develop analytic models for our physical understanding of the mechanism and will have access to numerical simulation codes and modest computational resources. Should suitable laser time become available, you will have the opportunity to plan for an experimental investigation on a high power laser system and potentially conduct one, where they will field diagnostics, which they will collaborate on developing to investigate the new ablation techniques they identify. You will also be responsible for developing analysis algorithms for the experimental data in Matlab or Python for example.

You will have the opportunity to identify possible paths forward for the research as the project evolves. We therefore require you to be motivated, with a strong interest in applying their individual and obtained knowledge to drive the research project forward. This is an opportunity to become a fully active team member in our research group, and to contribute to a fast growing research field.

Contacts and Communication

The position is in a team environment working directly with researchers and PhD students in the Experimental Science group, as well as target area teams and external researchers from mostly UK/EU universities.

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.


High power laser applications investigator - Industrial Placement - IRC250847

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Number of vacancies: 
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