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Laser Scientist for CALTA - 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.

STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) is at the forefront of global development and scientific exploitation of high power lasers. In addition to the high power laser systems operated as user facilities, the CLF is also home to the Centre for Advanced Laser Technology and Applications (CALTA).  CALTA aims to develop high energy laser amplifier technology and applications for science and industry.  CALTA built the world’s first kilowatt-level high energy pulsed diode pumped solid state laser with a world leading 100 J of energy at 10 Hz (1kW) for the HiLASE facility in the Czech Republic and have provided a similar system for the European XFEL (Germany).  CALTA’s DiPOLE10 prototype system continues to provide a valuable experimental laser system platform with which to test new technologies and is under constant development.  The CALTA team of scientists and engineers are working on several challenging international projects simultaneously.

CALTA is beginning an exciting new project to advance high energy laser amplifier technology and applications through designing and building new state-of-the-art systems. We offer the opportunity to be involved in a variety of different activities including computer modelling, enhancing diagnostic capabilities, supporting the development to operate DiPOLE at higher pulse repetition rates, and playing an active role in cutting-edge experimental campaigns both in the UK, using DiPOLE10, and with our international partners at HiLASE in the Czech Republic.  The position offered is within a diverse team environment working directly with staff in the CALTA team and CLF engineers.  You will;

  • support experiments with world renowned scientists and solve problems as they occur
  • operate laser and cryogenic systems
  • analyse data and report your findings to the team by written report and presentations
  • enhance the DiPOLE laser system, both on your own and as part of the team
  • have a project assigned which will be flexible allowing you opportunities to direct and influence outcomes

In the laser laboratory, you will operate, adjust and control lasers and associated electrical and mechanical equipment in a standing position, often for several hours in the course of the working day; for safety reasons, it is not permitted to sit down in the laser laboratories. Mechanical precision is an important element of the role and you must be able to see and adjust the position of laser beams, fiducials, pinholes and other mechanical elements to sub-millimetre accuracy.

Please also be aware that lighting is variable and will flash repetitively as a direct consequence of the laser operation. 

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.


Laser Scientist for CALTA - Industrial Placement - IRC250880

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Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5