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Neutron and Muon Detector Development Sandwich Student

Internship at Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Neutron and Muon Detector Development Sandwich Student

Internship at Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

  • LocationDidcot, UK
  • Position levelInternship
  • Job period icon
  • Application deadline iconPosted on 08 Oct, 2018
  • Start date iconStart date:
  • Visa iconVisa Sponsor
  • Competitive£ 19,136.0 per year

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

STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

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 your placement has finished.

Within STFC, ISIS is part of the National Laboratories directorate. The National Laboratories provide research facilities and capabilities that, because of their scale, complexity, strategic character or cost, are appropriately operated as a national research resource. The ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source is the world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. It provides scientists and engineers with a facility to determine the structure and dynamics of materials at the molecular/atomic level, using beams of neutrons and muons.

The Neutron Detector group has a rigorous research and development programme to meet the demands for new radiation detectors at ISIS. At ISIS the properties of any given detector have to be carefully matched to the specific scientific techniques performed on the neutron or muon instrument they serve. You will contribute to our research and development programme, working alongside experienced scientists to develop and evaluate the potential of new detector technologies.


The Neutron Detector group has two positions available. One position for our “Scintillation detector development for neutrons” project and the other for our “Muon and neutron detector development” project.

The “Scintillation detector development for neutrons” project will focus on the optimisation of scintillation detector technology, for use in neutron detectors for future ISIS instrument upgrades. Neutron detectors have been constructed in the past using scintillation detectors equipped with 6LiF:ZnS(Ag) scintillators and wavelength shifting fibres. Yet, instrument upgrades require scintillation detectors with improved position resolution and more complex geometries. Further development of this type of detector is therefore required.

The “Muon and neutron detector development” project will focus on the development of micro pattern gas detectors (MPGD) and silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) based detectors for future instruments at ISIS. Both technologies have found wide application in particle physics, demonstrating high rate capability, good temporal and spatial resolution and the ability to operate in magnetic fields. All these properties make them good candidates for future detectors of ISIS instruments. The challenge is to optimise these technologies for the instruments developed at ISIS and to identify novel applications for both MPDG and SiPM detectors.

Summary of Key Duties

You will investigate methods to produce detectors with the required performance and at an acceptable cost. This is typically done by designing and constructing a number of small prototype detectors, experimentally determining the characteristics of these detectors and optimising the design in our suite of laboratories. Detector characteristics that will be measured include: neutron detection efficiency, gamma sensitivity, intrinsic detector background, detector resolution and count-rate capability. At the end of the project a prototype detector will be built to verify the performance on a more realistic scale. A successful detector will be awarded beam time on an ISIS instrument.


You will be responsible for carrying out the experimental programme. Help and advice will be provided by the supervisors. You are also expected to present results of the project in regular meetings with your line manager and in section meetings

Shortlisting (S) and Interview (I) Criteria



  • 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 (S)
  • studying for a degree in physics or another physics related degree (S)
  • right to live and work in the UK (S)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • experience in experimental physics (S&I)
  • interest in experimental physics related to ionising radiation (S&I)
  • experience using electronics for processing electronic signals, such as oscilloscopes (S&I)
  • basic computer skills (S&I).


  • experience with detection of ionising radiation (S&I)
  • experience with data analysis (S&I).

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • good communication skills (I)
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities (I)
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical (S&I)
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them (I)
  • ability to take initiative and to work effectively with limited supervision at times (S&I)
  • tenacity and determination to pursue an experimental development programme (S&I)


  • good dexterity (I)
  • good problem solving skills (S&I).

Special Requirements


  • willingness to work with ionising radiation (S&I).

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

Interview Date: 27th - 29th of November 2018

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