Sandwich Student - Detector Technology

STFC offers you an opportunity to gain paid practical experience as part of your degree, learning on the job and working on real projects alongside expert scientists and engineers.

ISIS is the world’s leading centre for pulsed neutrons and muons. It provides scientists and engineers with a facility to determine the structure and dynamics of materials at the molecular/atomic level. A vigorous research and development programme is underway to meet the demands for new radiation detectors at ISIS. The successful student will contribute to this programme, working alongside experienced scientists to develop and evaluate the potential of new detector technologies.

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. The detection efficiency, count rate capability, timing accuracy and insensitivity to environmental influences all need to be carefully optimised to meet the requirements of particular instruments.

This placement will involve the investigation of various detector technologies for future ISIS muon spectrometer upgrades. The muon instruments at ISIS require detectors with very good timing accuracy and high count rate capability, combined with the ability to operate in high magnetic fields. Scintillation detectors do have a good timing accuracy and high count-rate capability, but the light sensors that are used at ISIS at the moment, so-called PhotoMultiplier Tubes (PMTs), are not able to operate in high magnetic fields. Alternative light sensors that are able to operate in high magnetic fields are available and are now under investigation. Gas filled detectors, which are widely used in particle physics, might also be suitable for muon spectroscopy and are under investigation as well.

List of Duties / Work Programme / Responsibilities:
You will investigate methods and technologies to optimise the performance of detectors for muon spectroscopy at ISIS. 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. The emphasis of the project will be on determining the characteristics of magnetic field tolerant detectors, such as MicroChannel Plate (MCP), Silicon PhotoMultipier (SiPM) and gas filled detectors, and assessing their potential for muon detectors. The optimised design will be awarded measurement time on an ISIS muon spectrometer, You will carry responsibility for the experimental programme, which must utilise the beam time efficiently.

You are expected to present results of the project in regular meetings with your line manager and section meetings.

Contacts and Communication:
The ISIS Detector Group currently consists of 14 members of staff and is divided into two teams. The Research and Development team is responsible for detector performance and the Technical team is responsible for detector prototyping, assembly, installation and maintenance. Your immediate line manager is part of the Research and Development section. Additional contacts will include all personnel of the ISIS Neutron Detector Group.

Personal Skills and Attributes:
Willingness to work as part of a multidisciplinary team and with ionising radiation is a requirement. It would be advantageous if the student is dextrous and has a particular interest in experimental research.

Any other Relevant Information:
Work will require the use of sealed radiation sources and some opportunity to perform tests on ISIS beam lines is available.

For more information and to apply, please click here.

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