TARGETjobs black logo
City scape

Polarized Neutrons - Industrial Placement

Salary notes: 
Job/scheme locations: 
Type of opportunity: 
Application deadline: 

STFC - ISIS - Polarized Neutrons 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. 

Project Description:

Polarized neutron beams (beams in which the magnetic moments of the neutrons are aligned in the same direction with respect to a magnetic field) can be used to improve the information gained from nearly any scattering experiment. In the case of neutron diffraction, which probes both the atomic and magnetic structures of materials, polarized neutrons provide a means to separate the magnetic component from the other contributions to the total scattering. This is especially useful when the magnetic scattering is weak, as is the case for a broad range of materials relevant to quantum computing and superconductivity. Polarized neutrons also provide unprecedented access to the spatial components of the magnetic moments in materials, and are therefore the ultimate technique for solving complex magnetic structures. This is important for understanding the physics underlying phenomena which may lead to new sensing and memory storage technologies.

An especially promising instrument for the implementation of polarized neutrons is the WISH instrument at ISIS. Located at the ISIS second target station, this state-of-the art neutron diffractometer supports a broad and active science programme centred on magnetic materials. The installation of polarized neutron capabilities on WISH will require several additional elements to be added to the existing instrument: these will, respectively, create the incident polarized beam, allow for the manipulation of the polarization direction along its path to the sample, and finally for the detection of the polarization following scattering. Whilst the means of producing the polarised neutrons will be based on proven technological concepts, installation on a beamline requires optimization given the geometrical constraints of the existing instrument to obtain the best performance. The aim of the project is to design these elements via both analytical calculations and numerical simulations (both ray-tracing and electromagnetic) using large-scale computing infrastructure available at RAL. The project will be central to a bid for an upgrade of the instrument, and providing funding is secured, will be realized to the specifications of the project within the next few years. As such, this project offers the exciting opportunity to participate in the provision of a world-leading capability on a multi-million-pound item of research instrumentation.

The project will be carried out jointly between the ISIS Crystallography group, which is responsible for operating 8 neutron diffractometers (including WISH) across the facility, and the polarized neutrons section in the ISIS Excitations and Polarized Neutrons Group, which operates polarized neutron infrastructure, including a 3He filling station, and provides expertise for polarized neutron-related projects as well as operating 4 neutron spectrometers. Full technical and scientific support will be provided to the student for the duration of the placement. 

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, with a strong academic record (S)
  • Good written and oral communication skills (S & I)
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (I)
  • Evidence of programming skills (particularly in C, python) (S & I)
  • Ability to work as part of a wider team, as well as on own initiative. (I)


  • Some familiarity with X-ray or neutron scattering, particularly diffraction (I)
  • Evidence of independent programming work from e.g. previous summer placement (S & I)
  • Basic awareness of project context. (I)


Polarized Neutrons - Industrial Placement - IRC250875

Remember to mention TARGETjobs when contacting employers!

More about this vacancy

Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5