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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. 

Vulcan high power laser is an ultra-high intensity laser interaction facility that provides service to both national and international university-based research groups, allowing them to conduct experiments in the field of plasma physics. Vulcan is one of the most powerful lasers in the world, and is under continuous development to maintain its world-class status. The latest Vulcan upgrade is a new PW beamline fully based on OPCPA technology.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

 It is envisaged that over the year, time within this role will be divided between scientific projects (70%) and operating the laser (30%).

Science/development Project:

OPCPA technology has matured during the last few decades and now is widely used to generate intense, ultrashort pulses in the NIR as well as in the mid-IR spectral regions. Most of the NIR systems are based on grating stretchers/compressors, which are expensive and lossy, whereas systems in the mid-IR are benefiting of a compact all-bulk compression. The goal of this project is to investigate whether the all-bulk chirp control can be transferred to the OPAs in the NIR. The post holder will contribute to a project of all-bulk chirp control in the NIR, by helping to build and characterize a multiple-stage OPCPA system in the NIR spectral region.

Vulcan Operations:

You will join the Vulcan Laser Operations Group as part of a small team contributing to the success of experiments conducted by the facility users. The main duties are to send different Vulcan laser beams to different target areas when requested. 

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) 


  • Completed Optics, Photonics, Lasers or similar course (S&I)
  • Experience of work in a laboratory (S&I)


Vulcan Laser - Industrial Placement- IRC250927

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More about this vacancy

Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5