Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC246663
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £19136
Date Posted 06 September 2018
Contract Type Student - Sandwich Course
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 28 October 2018
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £19136
Contract Type: Fixed Term (12 Months)
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 28th October 2018
Interview Date: 27th - 29th of November 2018

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. To find out more about STFC please see one of our videos:

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.

Within STFC, ISIS is a world leading facility for scientific research using neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy, with a strong scientific user programme and extensive international links. We support a national and international community of more than 2000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology, materials engineering and IT, as well as fundamental physics and chemistry investigations.

Job Description:

The Excitations and Polarized Neutrons Group at ISIS operates four neutron spectrometers, as well as a 3He filling station. The 3He filling station is used to prepare so-called neutron spin-filters, vessels containing highly polarized 3He gas – where the magnetic moments of the 3He nuclei point in the same direction – which are used to filter out one polarization state from a neutron beam. These neutron spin-filters are then used for neutron scattering experiments at various instruments at ISIS. The 3He filling station consists of two main parts; a high power (45 W) fibre laser optical system for polarizing the 3He at low pressure and a non-magnetic compressor for filling the neutron spin-filters.

One of the main limitations of the technique is the level to which the 3He nuclei can be polarized.  At the moment our 3He filling station can achieve a level around 70% nuclear polarization – but 80% should be possible, which would lead to much more efficient neutron spin filtering (by up to a factor of 2).  This project will focus on improving the levels of 3He polarization in our labs with a program of modernization and optimization of the optical components of the 3He filling station. 

In this context, the role of the polarized neutrons sandwich student will be to:

  • perform diagnostics on the existing 3He filling station hardware, identifying areas where improvements can be made
  • participate in the design and construction of a new laser and optical system for the 3He filling station
  • test the upgraded 3He filling station using a range of experimental techniques (optical polarimetry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and neutron beam measurements)
  • otherwise assist the polarized neutron technician with the maintenance and day-to-day operation of the 3He filling station, including the support of user experiments.

Full technical and scientific support will be provided to the student for the duration of the placement.

If successful, the project should lead to a dramatic improvement in our capability for the provision of highly polarized 3He, as well as better data quality from our neutron instruments.  It is also anticipated that the project will lead to at least one peer-reviewed publication.

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. More information can be found at

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.

Shortlisting (S) and Interview (I) Criteria


  • 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)
  • studying for a degree in either Physics or an optics-related discipline (e.g. Optical engineering) (S)
  • right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • good written communication skills (S&I)
  • evidence of good laboratory skills (I)
  • ability to work as part of a wider team, as well as on own initiative (I)
  • willingness to learn (I)
  • comfortable with working with high power laser systems (I)


  • some familiarity with modern optics, and analytical techniques (S)
  • some optical laboratory experience beyond undergraduate level (e.g. summer internship) (S)
  • basic awareness of the project context (I)
  • basic understanding of scattering techniques (I).

In addition to the competitive salary, an excellent index linked pension scheme and generous leave allowance are offered. Full details of offered benefits can be found on STFC’s careers pages.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive background and pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process.

Applications are handled by UK Shared Business Services. To apply please download the application form and save it to your pc. You must upload the completed form and a copy of your CV. Please save all your documents with the IRC reference number in the filename and your name.

STFC Sandwich Student Application Form

You must be on a sandwich degree and be taking the industrial placement as a recognised sandwich year to be eligible. You must also have the right to work in the UK. Please ensure that you include a reference from your University as part of your application form.

You can apply for up to three Sandwich student placements; this will require you to complete ONE application form however please ensure that you upload the application form to all three placements and save the relevant reference number (e.g. IRC205817) in the filename of each application that you upload.

Closing date: 28th October 2018

Interview/assessment date: 27th – 29th November 2018

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK.  At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK. You can check your eligibility here:

We want to make our application process as easy for you as we possibly can. If you experience any problems in applying for this job, or have any feedback for us about the application process, please contact our Recruitment Hotline on 01793 867000 (8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday). Please quote the appropriate IRC reference number when calling.

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