Manufacture of Nanowire Laser Targets Placement at Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Placement Year (10 Months+)
Application Deadline
3rd March 2019
South East
Didcot - Oxfordshire
Salary Band
£18,000 - £19,999
Role May Involve
Chemistry Physics Science/Research

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Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Overall Rating

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Manufacture of Nanowire Laser Targets Placement - IRC248014

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.

The Target Fabrication Group at the Central Laser is responsible for providing complex objects for use in high-power laser experiments. These objects, known as targets, are at the focal point of high-intensity laser interactions and are often made into complex geometries from novel materials. Target requirements are dependent on experimental requirements and vary broadly from one experimental campaign to the next, covering a range of topics including plasma physics and particle acceleration, laboratory astrophysics, and industrial applications opportunities.

In order to create extreme environments, the laser is focused to an interaction point comparable to the width of a human hair and the targets that are required have features of the same magnitude. On this scale manufacture and quality control is extremely challenging. Target Fabrication requires a wide capability of physical and chemical processes, together with advanced characterisation techniques to deliver targets that meet the experiment’s requirements.

A placement studentship is available at Target Fabrication that will be tasked with supporting the material science requirements of the group. The project will be a mixture of supporting the day to day production requirements for the high-power laser experiments, and a personal project researching the production of nanowire targets for use in laser target assemblies.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities:

  • production of low density materials supporting the needs of laser experiments scheduled on the Vulcan and Gemini lasers
  • carry out laboratory based practical worker searching and developing the repeatable manufacture of nanowire targets in a range of materials
  • working closely with research groups to transfer technology and processes
  • characterisation of samples using various techniques such as SEM, Optical Microscopy and AFM
  • work closely with project supervisors to deliver against set milestones and report back in regular group meetings.

Job Requirements to be assessed at Shortlisting (S) and Interview (I)


  • 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)
  • right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • A Level Chemistry and/or Physics. Currently on Physics or Chemistry Degree course (S)
  • some knowledge of chemical processes such as critical point drying (CPD) and familiarity with a chemistry laboratory (S&I)
  • demonstrates the ability to understand the underlying principles of target fabrication and high-power laser experiments (I).


  • experience in spin coating, dip coating, wet etching and CPD (I)
  • experience with a range of optical, contact and non-contact metrology systems (S&I)
  • understanding of the plasma physics underpinning the target design (I)
  • awareness of quality control issues (I)
  • experience of working in a cleanroom environment (I)
  • demonstrates and awareness of health and safety issues (S&I)
  • excellent manual dexterity and co-ordination (I)
  • demonstrates the potential to solve challenging problems (I)
  • attention to detail (S&I)
  • good oral and written communication skills(S&I)
  • ability to listen to instruction and develop processes accordingly (I).

Special Requirements

This role will require the successful candidate to wear cleanroom and personal protective equipment including respirators, gloves, and facemasks. It will also require working with microscopic objects, microscopes, solvents and adhesives.

About Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

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.

How to apply

To find out more and to apply please click on the apply button. You will need to complete an application form when applying.