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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 Detector and Electronics Division designs, constructs and installs instrumentation solutions for STFC’s facilities programme. The team is unique in the UK in that it contains the complete skill set from beamline integration and high data rate data acquisition to sensor material development, CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) imaging and ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) design. The Division also supports delivered systems over their operational lifetime. We currently have an active programme in support of ISIS, Diamond, CERN, Nuclear physics, Laser facilities, Space Science and astronomy. In addition, we have an additional translation programme into high impact areas such as medical imaging. All projects within the Division are managed to the ISO9001 standard.

Within the Detector and Electronics Division ASIC Design Group activity focuses on the design of mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs) for the readout of sensitive detectors, and specialises in the design of analogue preamplifiers matched to the detector, and optimised for noise performance and power.​ Our ICs are found in advanced instruments for space science, medical imaging, synchrotrons,nuclear physics, and particle physics ​experiments, with channel densities ranging from tens to millions of channels in size, such as in the Silicon Tracker layers of the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Applications such as these require our designs to be able too perate in harsh environments, such as extreme temperatures or radiation.

Utilising the leading IC design software tools, we offer a complete on-chip solution to detector readout with high performance Analogue-to-Digital Converters (ADCs), high-speed data serialisers, and slow-control interfaces such as SPI and I2C, all within the same IC. We design with microelectronic technologies from 350nm to 65nm, selected on the basis of technical need and available budget, and our ongoing development programme ensures that we are always advancing our capabilities in anticipation of the requirements for next generation detector systems.

Our sensors can efficiently detect radiation from across the electro-magnetic spectrum and are available in a wide range of sizes, with stitching techniques allowing us to manufacture sensors up to the size of a full 300mm silicon wafer. Pixel sizes can range from a few microns to several tens of microns depending on the in-pixel circuit complexity and the unique requirements of each application.

The CMOS Sensors Design Group has been designing full-custom image sensors for scientific applications since the 1990s. Initially, our focus was on space science, earth observation and particle physics, but since then our expertise has expanded to include other high-end sectors such as medical imaging and transmission electron microscopy. Our work now covers a vast range of activities with a wide range of scientific and industrial partners.

Over the years, we have developed a considerable portfolio of Intellectual Property (IP), which we use today to meet our customers' many demanding requirements. Included in our portfolio is the patented INMAPS process, allowing us to develop intelligent pixels without compromising imaging performance

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

From day one our Placement Students will work along side experienced designers developing circuits for real projects. Students are expected to perform transistor level design of circuits using CAD tools to build and simulate circuit schematics, and convert these circuits to layout ready for manufacture.

Personal Skills and Attributes

You should be enrolled on a good honours degree course in a relevant subject, and enthusiastic about a technical career in microelectronics or electronics in general.

You need to have a good awareness of basic electronic principles and how these apply to modern circuit design.

You must be self-motivated and dedicated to understanding the continuously evolving design tools and methods.

You will be supported by experienced colleagues, but will be expected to be able to act on their own initiative and demonstrate a systematic and analytical approach to problem solving.

You will have good interpersonal skills and the ability to integrate and work effectively within the existing close-knit team.  Good written and verbal communication skills (in English) and the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, project partners and customers is essential.

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.


Microelectronics Industrial Placement - IRC250843

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Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5