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Neutron detector development - Industrial Placement

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STFC - ISIS - Neutron detector development - 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 the world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. It provides scientists and engineers with a facility to determine the structure and dynamics of materials at the molecular/atomic level, using beams of neutrons and muons. The Neutron Detector group, in which the successful candidate will be placed, has a rigorous research and development programme to meet the demands for new radiation detectors at ISIS. The successful student will contribute to this programme, working alongside experienced scientists to develop and evaluate the potential of new detector technologies. At ISIS the properties of any given detector have to be carefully matched to the specific scientific techniques performed on the neutron or muon instrument they serve. The detection efficiency, count rate capability and spatial resolution all need to be carefully optimised to meet the requirements of particular instruments.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

This placement will focus on the characterisation and development of neutron imaging systems for future ISIS instrument upgrades, as well as instruments currently under development for the European Spallation Source in Lund (Sweden). The technical specification for these systems is demanding, as they use the time-of-flight technique to measure the kinetic energy of the neutrons. These systems are used to produce images and 3D reconstructions of samples, non-destructively investigating samples ranging from new fuel-cell technology for clean energy applications to ancient artefacts for cultural heritage studies.

You will develop and commission detectors for two types of neutron beam imaging systems. Gaseous GEM type detectors are ideal for coarse spatial resolution imaging and beam monitoring. CMOS sensors are used for high resolution 2D imaging and tomography.

Duties for the GEM detector development include: designing and constructing a number of prototype detectors, experimentally determining the characteristics of these detectors and optimising the design. CMOS sensor based detectors are already available and the emphasis will be to design and implement suitable experiments to determine detector performance. Use will be made of the ISIS beam and imaging data will be analysed and interpreted using a range of software tools, linking detector performance to the demands of our imaging beamline (IMAT).

You will be responsible for carrying out a development programme, with both hands-on experimental responsibilities as well as data analysis. Help and advice will be provided by the industrial placement supervisors.  You will present results of their work in regular informal meetings with the detector group.

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)
  • Studying for a degree in physics or another physics related degree (S)
  • Experience in experimental physics (S&I)
  • Interest in experimental physics related to ionising radiation (S&I)
  • Basic computer skills (S&I)
  • Good communication skills (S&I)
  • Demonstrate good team working capabilities (S&I)
  • The willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical (S&I)
  • Ability to take initiative and to work effectively with limited supervision at times (S&I).


  • Experience using electronics for processing electronic signals, such as oscilloscopes (S&I)
  • Experience with detection of ionising radiation (S&I)
  • Experience with data analysis (S&I)
  • Good problem solving skills (S&I).

Special Requirements

This role will require working with ionising radiation


Neutron detector development - Industrial Placement - IRC250824

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More about this vacancy

Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5