Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Photocathode and Electron Source Development Scientist Graduate - STFC

Early Careers
2000000D Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

STFC’s Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC) undertakes particle accelerator research for current and future ‘Big Science’ facilities. We work on numerous high profile projects with national and international partners, such has CERN, DESY and PSI. ASTeC is a key partner within the world leading Cockcroft Institute (CI). 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 accelerator physics group within ASTeC has expertise in designing, commissioning and operating particle accelerators and are currently working on a next generation test facility, CLARA (Compact Linear Accelerator for Research and Applications) and VELA (Versatile Electron Linear Accelerator), hosted at Daresbury Laboratory. CLARA will test advanced Free Electron Laser concepts and novel acceleration concepts and provide a platform for much of the underpinning research and development of the future UK X-ray laser facility. VELA is a photoinjector test facility with dedicated diagnostics to allow full 6D beam characterisation. High brightness beam from VELA and CLARA can also be delivered to dedicated beam exploitation areas to test novel concepts in a wide range of disciplines.

The next generation of electron particle accelerators for both light source and high energy physics applications require high brightness sources and thus low intrinsic emittance. In a single pass electron machine the emittance cannot be improved within the accelerator without removing particles (e.g. collimation) and so the photoelectron source effectively defines the ultimate performance. For this reason the photocathode represents one of the most critical components in electron accelerator design.

Therefore, an opportunity exists for a well-motivated candidate to work with the team of scientists, engineers and academic collaborators in developing, characterising and testing existing and new photocathodes to be used as electron sources in the next generation of world-class ‘Big Science’ particle accelerators.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

The ideal candidate should demonstrate a keen interest in the physics and chemistry of advanced materials and the enthusiasm to apply this to the development of photocathodes for accelerator science applications.

The range of activities involved includes but is not limited to:

  • Contributing across the breadth of the ongoing research into existing and novel photocathodes for accelerator applications
  • Responsibility for and ongoing development of the newly established equipment for the fabrication of alkali telluride and antimonide photocathodes.
  • Laboratory based growth and testing of telluride and antimonide photocathodes with a view to improving performance
  • Participation in in-accelerator characterisation of photocathodes using the VELA/CLARA test accelerators
  • Fabrication of ‘run’ photocathodes to defined specification for the CLARA accelerator
  • Contribution to the existing programme of work on alternative photocathode materials including liaising with our university collaborators
  • Involvement in on-going collaborations with UK and international partners on photocathode related research (e.g. CERN, BNL, etc.)
  • Contributing to the dissemination of knowledge in this area by writing manuscripts for publication and presenting work at UK and international conferences and workshops
  • The successful candidate needs to have a good understanding of the physics and chemistry of advanced materials along with strong practical skills. An interest in, or previous experience of vacuum science and technology, thin film growth, materials characterisation and/or lasers would be advantageous.

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: 

  • Knowledge of the electronic structure of materials and the photoemission process 
  • Excellent practical skills, including experience of project based work 
  • Excellent problem solving skills and ability 
  • Good communication skills including ability to write scientific reports 
  • Be able to work collaboratively, and on personal initiative 
  • Ability and willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical 
  • Willingness to partake in occasional national and international travel 

 Desirable Criteria:        

  • Experience and/or knowledge of vacuum systems, thin film technology and/or in-vacuum materials characterisation techniques 
  • Experience and/or knowledge of surface metrology techniques 
  • Experience and/or knowledge of lasers and their practical use 
  • Experience with programming and/or scripting languages, particularly Matlab, Labveiw or Python 
  • Good planning and time management skills 

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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