Work Placement / Internship

Design of Neutron Single Crystal Instruments Industrial Placement

Didcot, Oxfordshire

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The Crystallography Group at ISIS operates nine neutron instruments for diffraction and imaging studies, performing world class powder and single crystal diffraction measurements.  

In the contest of the Endeavour project, which will bid for significant capital investment at ISIS for a suite of new instruments and major upgrades to the current facilities, the Crystallography Group has a project for extending the single crystal neutron diffraction capabilities at the facility, with an upgrade of the existing SXD instrument and the construction of a new instrument LMX.  

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The single crystal upgrade programme will allow to perform diffraction experiments beyond the capabilities currently offered by the suite of instruments within the ISIS Crystallography Group, widening the breath of science covered by the single crystal diffraction instruments to include large molecules from functional materials to small proteins. This upgrade program is an unique opportunity to further expanding the neutron user community and fill the gap between supramolecular chemistry and structural biology! 

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities:

The objective of this post is carrying out Monte Carlo simulations in order to optimise the final designs of the SXD and LMX instrument, taking advantage of the recent developments in neutron guide and detector technologies. Simulations will start from existing initial design and focus in particular on the optical neutron path, flux at the sample position and expected count rates for a given specific resolution. The project will offer the student the opportunity to work at a world leading facility, learn about neutron diffraction methods and instrumentation and gain firsthand experience of the use of Monte Carlo methods to optimise a sophisticated design with many variables. 

After learning about the application of single crystal diffraction methods, current instrumentation at neutron facilities worldwide and methods to simulate their performance using Monte Carlo methods, the student will: 

  • Assess the current initial outline specification (flux, resolution, etc) for the SXD and the LMX instrument at ISIS, in collaboration with members of the ISIS Crystallography Group and selected external researchers 
  • Perform Monte Carlo simulations (mainly with the McStas software) of the predicted performance of both instrument, to assess moderator requirements and optimize design parameters such as flight path, guide geometry and detectors position 
  • Benchmark the Monte Carlo simulations by comparing the predicted performance of SXD and LMX with experimental test data 
  • Write a report about the simulations done and the results acquired

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  
  • Good written and oral English language skills  
  • Basic experience with computer programming 


  • Basic knowledge/use of computer simulations  
  • Basic knowledge of diffraction methods 

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Opportunity Overview

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

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