3He Spin-filters for neutron polarization analysis and wider applications

The project is based on the development of state-of-the-art techniques to magnetically polarise neutrons for use on the ISIS pulsed neutron source.

One technology being developed utilises an isotope of helium gas as a filtering medium which itself has to be magnetically polarised with high powered lasers. The success of this project to date has led to £1M funding to install this helium gas technology on several of the ISIS instruments.


List of Duties / Work Programme / Responsibilities

The student will be intimately involved with this project and will be helping in the running and development of a purpose built neutron beam-line that will be used to test the various neutron polarisation components. 

Furthermore the student will assist in the group labs, using high powered lasers and vacuum systems to create polarised 3He neutron spin filters. Working within a multi-disciplinary environment he/she will be assisting in the installation of the various devices, helping to write the software to control them and also taking part in the analysis of the results.


In addition there will be an opportunity for the student to get directly involved in the design of some of the polarisation components themselves where their experience with component testing will become invaluable as their placement progresses. Magnetically polarised gases are finding uses in other areas of physics and in particular in medical MRI/NMR applications. The student will find him/herself in one of the UK’s most vibrant areas of technology and will be having contact with several leading teams in this emerging technological area. 

The project will enable a student to get hands on experience of software and hardware interfacing, control software and data analysis.

Personal Skills and Attributes

  • Good interpersonal communication and presentation skills, ability to interact with staff at all levels
  • Ability to work effectively within a team
  • Good practical skills
  • Responsible attitude to personal safety and the safety of others
  • Contacts and Communication


For further information about the position, please contact Stephen.Boag@stfc.ac.uk or ISISSandwichStudents@stfc.ac.uk

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