Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Graduate Optoelectronics Engineer/Scientist - STFC

Early Careers
2000000E Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC), based at Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, is a centre of excellence for research and development on advanced particle accelerators.  We work with the top particle accelerator laboratories around the world to deliver innovative and cutting-edge research facilities, pushing the science and technology frontier forwards.  ASTeC is a key partner within the world-leading Cockcroft Institute. We work very closely together on a broad range of accelerator research topics and have a number of joint PhD studentships with CI university partners.

The next generation of particle accelerators – including Free Electron Laser (FEL) light sources and Plasma Accelerators – require particle bunches with femtosecond duration and timing stability.  Ultrafast laser systems provide the most immediate and practical gateway to the femtosecond timing regime and underpin multiple critical accelerator systems.  The Femtosecond Lasers and Timing (FLT) group within ASTeC is responsible for developing technology including: femtosecond laser-based sources from the ultraviolet to far-infrared for particle beam generation and manipulation; temporal and spectral characterization of laser, electron and FEL photon sources; and femtosecond synchronization of laser and electron sources.  

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

A key goal of accelerator science is to unlock the properties of matter on femtosecond timescales.  In so-called ‘pump-probe’ experiments, the time-of-arrival of charged particle bunches with respect to a perturbation (typically achieved through laser excitation) determines the fundamental time resolution that can be measured.  The ability to resolve femtosecond processes is therefore dependent on femtosecond synchronization of accelerated particle beams to laser sources.  This is a significant challenge, requiring a detailed understanding of multiple accelerator systems (lasers, RF, diagnostics, beam dynamics) and the development of state-of-the-art optical and electronic technology.  Most of all, it requires attention to detail and excellent problem-solving skills.

As an optoelectronics engineer/scientist, you will work on a variety of optical and electronic systems, including ultrafast lasers, fiber optics and both low-level and high-power radio-frequency systems.  Your goal will be to synchronize multiple accelerator client systems to each other via a common master timing reference signal with femtosecond precision.  You will work closely with experienced staff, developing both theoretical and hands-on practical skills required to develop expertise.  In support of this you will have access to a laser laboratory and precision measurement apparatus dedicated to synchronization studies.  You will also take part in operational shifts on the CLARA electron accelerator, working with experts to measure the timing stability of the electron beam.   In addition to working alongside accelerator scientists of all disciplines, your training within the wider accelerator field will be supported through access to the Cockcroft Institute education programme.

This role is ideal for an experimental physicist or engineer, with the opportunity to make a real difference to ongoing and future accelerator developments on the Daresbury campus.  As synchronization requires an understanding of a wide range of accelerator systems, the role is well-suited for those interested in a broad overview of practical accelerator concepts.  There will be the opportunity to attend international conferences to present your work and collaborate with other leading international accelerator institutions. 

Specific responsibilities include: 

  • Design, prototyping, and commissioning of accelerator synchronization systems, including: 
  • Optical-optical and optical-RF phase detectors
  • Beam arrival monitors
  • Stabilized optical fiber links
  • RF and optical timing references
  • Hands-on work with ultrafast laser and precision electronic systems in the CLARA Synchronization Laboratory.
  • Operational support for synchronization systems, working on accelerator shifts as a member of the CLARA particle accelerator team

We recruit on a rolling basis therefore we recommend you to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Applications will be reviewed and considered on an ongoing basis until our roles are filled.

In order to apply for this role you must have:

  • Obtained your first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2019, 2020 or be due to receive it in 2021
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above
  • The right to live and work in the UK

Essential Criteria:   

  • Excellent experimental skills in engineering or physics 
  • Demonstrable experience in practical problem-solving 
  • Excellent problem-solving skills 
  • Proactive with a high degree of self-motivation, able to deliver under pressure and against deadlines 
  • Enthusiasm to learn and ability to seek advice and guidance 
  • Be able to work collaboratively, and on self-initiative 
  • Good communication skills, including the ability to explain scientific concepts effectively and write scientific reports 
  • Enthusiasm for science, technology, and engineering 

Desirable Criteria:

  • Sound theoretical understanding of:
  • Optics, including fiber optics 
  • Experience with Lasers 
  • Electronic systems 
  • Strong mathematics element to degree training 
  • Experience with scientific computing packages, e.g. MATLAB, PYTHON, or otherwise appropriate 
  • Experience in instrumentation codes, e.g. LabVIEW, or otherwise appropriate
  • Ability and desire to understand context of work as part of a larger whole
  • Good planning and time management skills 
  • Willingness to participate in Public Engagement activities, to engage the public with the work that goes on within STFC 

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity-driven, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. Our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

One of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake cutting-edge projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. Our research seeks to understand the Universe from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter, yet creates impact on a very tangible, human scale.

For more information about STFC, please visit

How to Apply

Online applications only for this role. Please submit your CV and a covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for STFC and the role you’re applying for. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit your application without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

About UKRI

UK Research and Innovation brings together nine organisations to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

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