Sandwich Student - Fast Neutron Diamond Detectors for ChipIR

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale. We support a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology and materials engineering, catalysis and polymers, and on to fundamental studies of materials.

A new state-of-the-art beam-line ChipIr (for Chip Irradiation) has been built at the ISIS neutron source of the for neutron irradiation experiments on electronic and avionic devices and systems.

Atmospheric neutrons (produced  in the atmosphere by cosmic rays) are a major concern to the reliability of micro-electronic devices, which, due to their constantly decreasing dimensions and increased functionality, are becoming more susceptible to failures caused by the nuclear interactions precipitated by these neutrons (the so called single event effects).

The ChipIr team, within an international collaboration, has been developing the use of diamond based detectors for fast neutron dosimetry and spectroscopy alongside more traditional fission and proton recoil type detectors.

The Position

Artificial diamonds are used for neutron measurements, thanks to nuclear reactions of neutrons on carbon nuclei. The performance of these detectors is generally very good although transient polarization effects have been observed under irradiation. The selected student will investigate the performances of new detector prototypes, develop code for data acquisition and data analysis. The sandwich student assigned to this project will be supervised by Dr C. Cazzaniga and Dr C. Frost as scientific/technical advisors. 
List of Duties / Work Programme / Responsibilities
You will:

•         develop a fast neutron diamond detector employing an optimized high voltage duty-cycle that alternates positive and negative voltage bias in the range -400V < HV < +400V. A high voltage duty cycle is necessary to recover from polarization effects and maintain a steady state operation for a long time. In particular, a programmable High Voltage (HV) bias supply will be installed. 
•         develop test regime and procedures to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new HV system for steady state neutron measurement. This will be used to diagnose changes of the fast neutron irradiation intensity on the ISIS source where high intensity fast neutrons are available on a number of instruments.
•         extention of the fast neutron measurement for diagnostics on the ISIS source and potentially cross calibration with other world wide neutron facilities. 
•         additional investigations using a bi-parametric analysis of the diamonds response using both time and deposited energy in the detector. 
•         involvement in the commissioning and development of other detector systems.

Contacts and Communication

You will become a member of the ChipIr team.  You will need to be team oriented and be able to liaise extensively with other ISIS staff and groups to progress their experimental programme.  There will be opportunities to collaborate with staff  at other neutron sources and universities, particularly with regard to the development of the fast neutron detection.

Personal Skills and Attributes

•         taking a degree in the physical or engineering sciences. 
•         knowledge of a scientific programming language such as Labview, C/C++ etc
•         ability to work independently and in a team
•         technical problem solving

For more information and to apply, please click here.

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