Work Placement / Internship

Experimental Science Group Laser Plasma Industrial Placement

Didcot, Oxfordshire

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The Vulcan laser is a part of the Central Laser Facility based at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Researchers from the UK, EU and other countries world-wide come to use our facilities to carry out leading experiments in the physical sciences, materials research and life sciences. 

Vulcan is one of the most powerful lasers in the world and the ultra-high intensity laser interactions it can generate result in extreme conditions of matter! This allows scientists to carry out fundamental experiments exploring laboratory astrophysics, fusion mechanisms for energy and photo-induced nuclear reactions. During the interaction laser energy can also be converted to other forms of radiation and the mechanisms by which this is done are investigated with experiments on ion source development for medical application and x-ray source development for ultra-fast imaging. 

The extreme conditions produced require dedicated Interaction Areas where the experiments are setup and Vulcan is fired into. The Experimental Science Group works directly with scientists providing expertise during the planning and running of experiments in these Interaction Areas. 

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Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities  

This opportunity will work within our team alongside our visiting scientists. Time within the roles will be shared between development projects and supporting experimental operations. 

During the placement we will encourage participation and support to the variety of high power laser-plasma experiments that are performed on Vulcan. Requirements change with each experiment, and can vary from sourcing equipment to the design and running of plasma diagnostics and the analysis of data. 

Direct contribution to the development, testing and integration of new diagnostics and equipment will be part of this placement. This may involve designing and constructing hardware, and/or software development. We will encourage our placement student to contribute project ideas corresponding to individuals skills and interests. 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

Placement students should have a good grasp of basic physics concepts (e.g. optics, electromagnetism). An interest in this field, and demonstrate knowledge above the expected undergraduate level would be required. Lab experience beyond standard undergraduate labs is highly desirable. Are you self-motivated and have the ability to work autonomously as well as within a small team? 

Drive and a passion for science are definitely a positive attribute, and good communication skills are vital. Previous experience in a customer facing environment and the ability to manage self and others would also be beneficial. There is a requirement to be computer literate, having at least a working knowledge of MS Office applications. An interest and previous experience in programming is useful, but not essential.  

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  
  • First two years of degree course in physics, or a closely related subject  

Knowledge/Skills and Experience 


  • Good understanding of basic physics concepts (optics, electromagnetism, lasers)  
  • Experimental laboratory course  
  • Practical laboratory skills (this will be tested by a laboratory exercise)  


  • Computer programming experience (e.g. MATLAB, Python, C++,)  
  • Experience working in a research or laboratory environment  
  • Knowledge of laser/optical/plasma physics theory and modelling techniques/software  
  • Have customer facing experience  

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes 


  • Effective communication skills  
  • Demonstrate good team working capabilities  
  • Highly motivated and able to work independently  
  • Good problem-solving skills  
  • Responsible approach to health and safety 


  • Computer programming experience (e.g. MATLAB, Python, C++,)

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Opportunity Overview

  • October 31st, 2021
  • £ 20,129 + benefits
  • All grades
  • Year-long
  • Didcot, Oxfordshire
    (Show map)

Preferred Disciplines...

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Science

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