Offspec Instrument Scientist
24 Nov 2014




The ISIS Large Scale Structures Group is seeking an Instrument Scientist to support the science programme on the Offspec neutron reflectometer and more widely within the group.


OffSpec is a multipurpose instrument optimized for the study of off-specular neutron reflection, polarized reflectometry and the development and exploitation of spin-echo scattering techniques. It was constructed as part of the first phase of instrumentation on the ISIS second target station and has been operational since 2010. The instrument was designed to have the lowest possible inherent backgrounds to enable the study of weak signals and may be rapidly reconfigured to study an extremely broad range of systems in both hard and soft condensed matter.

OffSpec is a world class unpolarised and polarised reflectometer which delivers a broad simultaneous band width of neutrons (1-14.5Å) and is capable of studying free liquid surfaces. Polarisation with off-specular polarization analysis is routinely available for the study of complex magnetic systems while the intensity of the beam allows kinetic studies of interfaces on timescales of a few 10s of seconds for larger samples.

The spin-echo system was developed by TU-Delft in collaboration with ISIS and has enabled the development and exploration of Spin-echo Resolved Grazing Incidence Scattering (SERGIS) and Spin-Echo Small Angle Scattering (SESANS) at pulsed neutron sources. It is now expected that these techniques will begin to move from development into exploitation over a broad range of scientific themes, particularly in soft-matter.

The Large Scale Structures Group provides neutron scattering facilities and expertise for the study of surface and interfacial phenomena across a diverse range of research areas such as polymers, colloids, biological systems and magnetic/superconducting thin films. The Group currently supports 7 neutron instruments (small angle neutron scattering and reflectometry) and is designing and constructing 2 further instruments for the second Target Station Project

List of Duties / Work Programme / Responsibilities

A full-time vacancy exists to assist in the development and running of the OffSpec instrument. The position represents an excellent opportunity to develop both collaborative and personal scientific research programmes exploiting the capabilities of neutron reflectometry in the areas of hard/soft condensed matter or the life sciences. In addition to assisting with the development and running of OffSpec the successful candidate will be expected to take a lead in developing the user community and delivering new scientific capabilities to the LSS instrument suite.

Contacts and Communication

The successful candidate will interact extensively with visitors both from higher education institutions and industry. This will take the form of enabling, leading and expanding the scientific programme for OffSpec. External representation will also range from presenting their own scientific work at conferences to strategic engagement with stakeholders regarding future directions.

Internally, the candidate will be expected to contribute to and lead aspects of the LSS scientific programme and actively represent the group in its interactions with other ISIS and STFC science and technology groups.



•         PhD in experimental hard or soft condensed matter or a related science (or imminent awarding of)


•         Post-doctoral experience in a relevant scientific area: hard/soft condensed matter, life sciences, neutron spin-echo etc.

Knowledge and Experience


•         Experience of Neutron and/or X-ray Reflection.

•         Potential for development of a personal scientific programme

•         Working knowledge of one or more of the standard computing languages used within the group (e.g. Python, Fortran, C, C++, Java, Visual Basic, Labview etc)


•         Post-doctoral experience in relevant science areas: soft condensed matter, life sciences, etc.

•         Evidence of a publication record in relevant science areas: hard/soft condensed matter, life sciences, etc. commensurate with experience

•         Experience of polarised neutron, neutron Spin-Echo or small angle X-ray scattering techniques.

•         Experience of instrumentation control and development

Personal skill and Qualities


•         Good interpersonal communication and presentation skills, ability to interact effectively with staff and ISIS users at all levels.

•         Ability to work collaboratively and individually to support the user community

•         Flexibility to occasional requests to work out-of hours to support users

•         Responsible attitude to personal safety, and the safety of others 

Special Requirements


•         Medically fit for, and willing to, work in classified radiation areas (classified worker status)

•         Willing to work with chemicals and/or biological material in the ISIS chemistry and biology laboratories.

•         Willing to work with high power laser systems.

•         Willing to work at heights (>3m) behind appropriate safety barriers

•         Willing to work in relatively confined spaces ~2x2m2 floor area.


Salary: £ 28,383 - 43,164 (depending on experience)
Grade: D-E
Contract Type: Open-Ended 
Hours: Full Time 
Closing Date: 6 Jan 2015 


For an informal discussion about this role please contact:  Robert Dalgliesh ( or John Webster (

To apply for this post, please use the 'Apply' link on the Top Careers website.