Work Placement / Internship

High-Power Laser Development Scientist Industrial Placement

Didcot, Oxfordshire

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The Centre for Advanced Laser Technology and Applications (CALTA) is a group within STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF). CALTA is responsible for the development of the record-breaking, high-energy laser amplifier technology known as DiPOLE. DiPOLE technology has allowed CALTA to build the world’s first kilowatt-level, high-energy, diode-pumped, solid-state laser. The outstanding performance of this laser is achieved through the production of pulses at an energies in excess of 100 J at a repetition rate of 10 Hz.

Two kilowatt-level DiPOLE laser systems have now been built and are installed at European facilities as well as a prototype 10 J at 10 Hz DiPOLE system which is based at the CLF. This prototype system provides a valuable experimental platform with which new technologies can be tested both in terms of improving laser systems and exploring new applications for DiPOLE systems. Meanwhile, two more exciting projects are currently underway to develop new state-of-the-art DiPOLE systems. 

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Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities:  

The industrial placement offered is within a small, diverse team environment working directly with CALTA scientists and CLF engineers. You will have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of different activities such as: 

  • Leading your own assigned project, under the mentorship of a technical manager, where you will be able to direct and influence outcomes
  • Supporting world-renowned scientists and playing an active role in ground breaking experiments by helping to identify and seek problems as they occur
  • Developing techniques to improve DiPOLE laser systems for safe operation at higher energies and higher repetition rates
  • Learning how to operate lasers and cryogenic systems
  • Learning and developing computer modelling software skills
  • Running experiments, analysing data and reporting your findings to the team, and other placement students, via written reports and presentations. 

In the laser laboratories, you will operate, adjust, and control lasers and associated electrical and mechanical equipment. Therefore, you are required to stand, often for several hours over the course of the working day, as sitting is not permitted in the laser laboratories for safety reasons. 

Mechanical precision is a significant element of the role and you will need to see and adjust the position of laser beams, fiducials, pinholes, and other mechanical elements to sub-millimetre accuracy. 

Please also be aware that lighting is variable and will flash repetitively as a direct consequence of the laser operation.  

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 (or three years of an integrated master's course) in physics (or natural sciences with a high physics content) or a closely related subject (e.g. engineering), including an experimental laboratory course 
  • Predicted grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher 
  • Experience with standard computer packages, e.g. Microsoft Office  
  • Enthusiastic with an interest in lasers 
  • Able to work independently and as part of a team as the need arises  
  • Highly motivated  
  • Good problem solving skills  
  • Responsible approach to health and safety 


  • Experience working in a laboratory environment 
  • Computer programming skills, e.g. Python, MATLAB or LabVIEW  
  • Experience working with lasers  
  • Have, or will have completed by the placement start date, relevant modules in areas such as optics/lasers and/or programming/data analysis  

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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...

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Electrical
  • Electronic
  • Materials & Minerals
  • Materials Science
  • Physics
  • Science

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