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Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy - 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 sandwich 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 (CLF) at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) is one of the world’s leading laser facilities, providing scientists from the UK and Europe with an unparalleled range of state-of-the-art laser technology. The CLF’s wide ranging applications include experiments in physics, chemistry and biology, accelerating subatomic particles to high energies, probing chemical reactions on the shortest timescales and studying biochemical and biophysical process critical to life itself. From advanced, compact, tuneable lasers which can pinpoint individual particles to high power laser installations that recreate the conditions inside stars, a vigorous development programme ensures that our facilities maintain their international competitiveness.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

The ULTRA laser facility provides state of the art, high power femtosecond lasers for pump - probe measurements, to probe molecular dynamics on the femtosecond to microsecond timescales in research on proteins, DNA, catalysts and molecular devices.

We seek a placement student to work with a team of CLF scientists and engineers to support the work at the facility.  The student will be given the opportunity to experience work at the leading edge of science facility development in areas, including preparation of the laser laboratory infrastructure, development of experimental diagnostics and instrumentation and learning chemical and laser safety.

Projects can include:

  • Instrument development
    • building new optical and mechanical setups
    • designing diagnostic equipment for the laser systems
    • writing software for system control and data acquisition
  • User support
    •  preparing experiments for visiting scientists
    • making chemical/biochemical samples for users
    • working with existing tools and developing new methods for analysing data.

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)

• Enrolled in degree in physical or engineering sciences, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher (S)

• Interest in scientific instrumentation and development (S&I)

• Highly motivated (S&I)

• Good computing skills (S&I)

• Able to work in a team  (I)

• Good communicator (S&I)

• Able to show initiative   (I)

• Responsible approach to health and safety (I)


• Knowledge in interfacing instrumentation (e.g. oscilloscopes, mechanical devices) to computers (S&I)

• Programming skills (particularly in Labview, Python, Matlab) (S&I)


Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy - Industrial Placement - IRC250868

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More about this vacancy

Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5