Work Placement / Internship

Ultrafast Laser Scientist Industrial Placement

Didcot, Oxfordshire

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The Central Laser Facility (CLF) at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) is one of the world’s leading laser facilities, providing scientists, from the UK and Europe and industry with an unparalleled range of state-of-the-art laser technology! 

The CLF’s wide ranging applications include experiments in physics, chemistry and biology, accelerating subatomic particles to high energies, probing chemical reactions on the shortest timescales and studying biochemical and biophysical process critical to life itself. 

From sophisticated, compact, tuneable lasers which can pinpoint individual particles to high power laser installations that recreate the conditions inside stars, a diligent development programme ensures that our facilities maintain their competitiveness on a world stage. 

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The ULTRA laser facility provides state of the art, high average power, lasers and instruments for performing pump – probe molecular spectroscopy measurements! These are used to study the composition along with the static and dynamic properties of matter during a timescale which spans almost 12 orders of magnitude, from femtoseconds to milliseconds, in research which addresses questions which range from the function of biological molecules such as proteins and DNA, to renewable energy and energy saving through better catalysts and photovoltaic devices.  

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities  

Do you have an interest in scientific instrumentation and development? We seek an industrial placement student to work with a team of CLF scientists and engineers to support and further develop the facility. The student will be given the opportunity to experience work at the forefront of science and develop the facility in areas that include preparation of the laser laboratory infrastructure, development of experimental diagnostics and instrumentation and learning about chemical and laser safety. 

Projects can include: 

Instrument development 

  • Design, build and characterise new optical and mechanical apparatuses 
  • Design diagnostic equipment for our high average laser (class 4) systems 
  • Develop software for system control and data acquisition 

User support 

  • Preparing scientific experiments and getting acquainted with state-of-the-art scientific techniques in molecular spectroscopy 
  • Preparing chemical/biochemical samples for visiting scientists 
  • Working with existing tools and developing novel methods for data analysis using various software packages  

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  
  • Enrolled at degree level in physical or engineering sciences, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher 
  • Interest in scientific instrumentation and development  
  • Highly motivated  
  • Good computing skills beyond the use of email and office packages  
  • Able to work in a team  
  • Good communicator  
  • Able to show initiative  
  • Responsible approach to health and safety  
  • Have the ability to work in a laser laboratory environment  


  • Knowledge in interfacing instrumentation (e.g. oscilloscopes, mechanical devices) to computers  
  • Programming skills (particularly in Labview, Python, Matlab, CAD) 

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Opportunity Overview

  • October 31st, 2021
  • £20,129 + benefits
  • 2:1 and above (expected)
  • Year-long
  • Didcot, Oxfordshire
    (Show map)

Preferred Disciplines...

  • Electrical
  • Electronic
  • Materials & Minerals
  • Materials Science
  • Mechanical
  • Physics
  • Science

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