CALTA Student - Laser Scientist - Sandwich Student

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest science research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Harnessing our world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in “state of the art” science and technology. 

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 a placement has completed.

STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) is at the forefront of global development and scientific exploitation of high power lasers. In addition to the high power laser systems operated as user facilities, the CLF is also home to the Centre for Advanced Laser Technology and Applications (CALTA).  CALTA aims to explore novel laser technology and advance high energy laser amplifier technology and applications for science and industry.  CALTA built the world’s first kilowatt-level high energy pulsed diode pumped solid state laser with a world leading 100 J of energy at 10 Hz (1kW) for the HiLASE facility in the Czech Republic and are now building a similar system for the European XFEL (Germany).  CALTA’s DiPOLE10 prototype system provides a valuable experimental laser system platform with which to test new technologies and is under constant development.  The CALTA team of scientists and engineers work on several challenging international projects simultaneously.

A Glimpse of our Big Science

An introduction to the world-leading science and technology at STFC.

Summary of Key Duties

CALTA is beginning an exciting new project to advance high energy laser amplifier technology and applications through designing and building new state-of-the-art systems.  We offer the opportunity to be involved enhancing diagnostic capabilities, supporting the development to operate DiPOLE at higher pulse repetition rates, and playing an active role in experimental campaigns both in the UK, using DiPOLE10, and with our international partners at HiLASE.  The position offered is within a team environment working directly with staff in the CALTA team and CLF engineers. 

You will;

  • support experiments with world renowned scientists and solve problems as they occur
  • operate laser and cryogenic systems
  • analyse data and report your findings to the team by written report and presentations
  • enhance the DiPOLE laser system, both on your own and as part of the team
  • have your own project which will be flexible allowing you opportunities to direct and influence outcomes.


You will be responsible for managing your own time and project to achieve a success.  You will have responsibilities relating to the operation of a novel laser system and supporting cutting edge science to develop the laser and laser applications.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

All training will be provided on the job, during your year within the CALTA group you will develop knowledge of;

  • lasers 
  • cryogenic systems
  • adaptive optic systems
  • common detectors and using oscilloscopes 
  • second and third harmonic generation
  • control systems.



  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and are either required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry 
  • right to live and work in the UK 
  • first two years of degree course in physics, chemistry or a closely related subject, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher
  • A-level Maths or equivalent
  • A-level Physics or equivalent
  • GCSE English or equivalent.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • experimental physics or chemistry laboratory course
  • experience of standard computer packages (e.g. Office).


  • computer programming skills
  • experience working in a research or laboratory environment
  • experience working with lasers
  • have taken relevant modules such as
    • Optics/lasers
    • Programming/data analysis.

Opportunity Overview

  • Closing Date: October 30, 2017
  • Salary: £18,946
  • Placement Duration: Year-long
  • Location: Didcot (Oxford)
  • Region: London and South East
  • Type: Work Placement / Internship

Other benefits...

  • Generous leave allowance
  • Pension scheme

Disciplines accepted...

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Science

To Apply

Job ID Number: IRC242555
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