Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Ultrafast Laser Scientist

220000MI Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council
Salary: £31,931 - £34,709 or £39,748 - £44,166 per annum (dependent on skills and experience)
Hours: Full time or Part time (minimum 30 hours per week)
Contract Type:  Open Ended
Location: Science and Technology Facilities Council, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Harwell, Oxfordshire 

Come and do the kind of science that made you want to become a scientist. Explore the unknown and get to grips with the biggest challenges in Big Science. And, alongside world class engineers and technologists, use everything you've learnt to find real-answers that shape society and improve lives. 

Put simply, discover the kind of impact you can make when you work with some of the best facilities and brightest scientists in the world.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations. Through combining world-class facilities with major international collaborations, and some of the world’s most talented staff, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science and technology.

STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) provides advanced laser research facilities for UK and international scientists. The CLF has two ultrafast science groups, Artemis and Ultra, who are jointly developing a new high repetition rate ultrafast pump-probe facility. Artemis focuses on ultrafast laser and extreme ultraviolet (XUV) science, using XUV pulses produced through high harmonic generation, for experiments in physical sciences. Ultra generates mid-infrared pulses for ultrafast vibrational infrared and Raman spectroscopy, with applications in chemistry and life sciences.

About The Role

The CLF is now seeking a scientist with a background in ultrafast laser science to join the Artemis and Ultra teams.  Your primary responsibility will be to operate and maintain our new 100 kHz laser system, based on a thin-disk Yb:YAG pump laser and optical parametric chirped pulse amplification stages. The laser system will be used for a variety of experiments including high harmonic generation (HHG) and HHG spectroscopy, time-resolved photo-emission, x-ray transient absorption spectroscopy, ultrafast vibrational spectroscopy and Kerr-gated Raman spectroscopy. You will work with university research groups using the facility to help deliver these experiments. This may involve further development of the system, such as building optical parametric amplification or nonlinear compression stages. There will also be opportunities to work on experiments with our 1 kHz Ti:Sa laser system, including on gas-phase photoelectron spectroscopy.

You will be encouraged to maintain and develop collaborations to sustain your own scientific research, to write papers, apply for facility beam-time or grants, and to attend and present at conferences.

About You

You will need to be an experimentalist, with a PhD in physics or physical chemistry (or equivalent relevant experience), and will have operated ultrafast lasers and optical parametric amplifiers. Experience in high harmonic generation or design of optical parametric amplifiers is useful, as is experience of photoelectron spectroscopy or transient absorption. It is useful if you have experience designing and developing scientific instruments, data acquisition and instrument control software, and are proficient in LabVIEW, MATLAB or Python. For the higher band, we expect you to have postdoctoral experience (or other relevant employment experience) and a track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals.

You will be working in a multi-disciplinary environment with physicists and chemists from university groups who are using Ultra and Artemis. You need to be a good communicator who can work effectively as part of a team. It is beneficial if you have an interest in the science areas covered by Artemis and Ultra, and a desire to develop your knowledge further.

We ask some of the biggest questions in the universe, to answer some of the biggest challenges in the world. Together, our scientists, technologists, engineers and business support team explore the unknown across every field you could think of. And they turn what they find into work that changes the world around us. 

What could you achieve with the world-leading facilities and experts of one of Europe's largest research organisations by your side? Join us and discover what's possible.

Person Specification

The below criteria will be assessed at either Shortlisting (S), Interview (I) or both (S&I). 

Appointment at the higher pay band requires demonstration of these criteria to a higher level.


•    A degree in physics, physical chemistry or a closely related subject. (S)
•    A PhD in physics or physical chemistry (or equivalent relevant experience). (S)
•    Experience operating ultrafast lasers. (S&I)
•    Experience operating optical parametric amplifiers. (S&I)
•    Able to work as part of a team. (I)
•    Good communication skills. (I)
•    Responsible approach to health and safety. (I)

Essential at higher salary band and Desirable at lower salary band:

•    Postdoctoral research experience (or equivalent relevant experience). (S)
•    Track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals. (S)


•    Experience in development of ultrafast lasers and optical parametric amplifiers. (S&I)
•    Experience maintaining ultrafast lasers and optical parametric amplifiers. (S&I)
•    Experience with high harmonic generation (S&I)
•    Experience with design of optical parametric amplification stages. (S&I)
•    Experience with photoelectron spectroscopy or transient absorption (S&I)
•    Interest in the science areas covered by Artemis and Ultra, and a desire to develop your knowledge further. (I)
•    Experience in scientific instrument development and design. (S&I)
•    Experience developing data acquisition and instrument control software. (S&I)
•    Proficiency with LabVIEW, MATLAB or Python programming. (S&I)

Additional Information

It is helpful if you are able to work paid overtime on some evenings or occasional weekends to provide support for experiments. 
This role also offers opportunities for international travel to meet collaborators and attend conferences.

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we ask the biggest questions in the universe to find answers that change the world around us. We seek understanding. We’re proud of the impact we make. And we’re committed to helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy. Being part of all this means contributing to work that pushes boundaries and creates possibilities. You’ll work with, and learn from, true experts. Whatever your role, you’ll be free to question, and encouraged to share ideas. And, in a positive and supportive culture, you’ll discover just what a difference you can make when you’re equipped and inspired to excel.

We’re a place where curious minds thrive. Not bound by profit, we explore ideas that others don’t, ask questions that others won’t, and discover answers that others are not equipped to find. And, alongside Mars landings and black holes, we also explore diverse, international projects in everything from science and engineering to computing and technology. Whether it’s at the cutting edge or behind the scenes, our work is intellectually challenging. It’s very often ground-breaking.  And it’s endlessly, irresistibly fascinating.

For more information about STFC please visit 

You can also visit our careers site

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at  

Choosing to come to work at UKRI means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme, excellent holiday entitlement, access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme.  For more details, visit benefits of working for UKRI.

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 
How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. 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 an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

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