South East


The Vulcan High Power Laser Facility is part of the Central Laser Facility situated at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK and is an ultra-high intensity laser interaction facility that provides a service to both National and International university-based research groups, allowing them to conduct experiments in the field of plasma physics. Vulcan has a high profile with both an International and World stage reputation. Vulcan is one of the most powerful lasers in the world, and is constantly update to keep track of the best laser technology and the ever more demanding needs of the science community. 

These improvements include a major upgrade to include a secondary Petawatt beamline to the target area. 

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities  

Science/development Project

Lasers are the backbone and the workhorse of scientific and technological development. The Vulcan laser is at the forefront of laser development. The placement student will directly contribute to the development, testing and integration of new elements into the Vulcan laser system to enhance system performance. This will involve constructing optical hardware, optical design work and/or software development. 

  • Diagnostics design and development for existing and future laser systems 
  • Commissioning of state-of-the-art high power laser systems for research including optomechanical installation, data acquisition, and optimisation 
  • Computational work for simulating laser systems including MATLAB and Opticstudio 
  • Technical writing required to document progress/produce reports 
  • Laser simulation 
  • Fast electronics 
  • Laser design 

Vulcan Operations 

This opportunity will join the Vulcan Laser Operations Group as part of a small team working in a friendly atmosphere, contributing to the success of experiments making this a world leading facility!

In order to apply for this role you must have:  


  • 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  
  • Right to live and work in the UK  
  • Minimum of two years of degree course in physics, or a closely related subject, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher 
  • A-level Maths or equivalent 
  • A-level Physics or equivalent 


  • Knowledge of basic optics 
  • Experimental physics laboratory course 
  • Knowledge of one programming language (e.g. Visual Basic, C++, MATLAB) 
  • Knowledge of laser/optical theory

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community.  

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 

How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

More Details



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Didcot, Oxfordshire


South East

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