Postdoctoral Research Associate, Beamline I16

This vacancy is now closed
Job Title Postdoctoral Research Associate, Beamline I16
Job Reference DIA0944/TH
Post Type Full time, three year fixed term
Division Physical Science
Salary information Circa £33k
Application deadline 27/07/2014

Job Description

The UK’s national synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, conducts world-class research in virtually all fields of science. Located 20 minutes from Oxford, it sits in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and offers rewarding career opportunities.

Beamline I16 (Materials & Magnetism) has been operational for five years and provides a World-class single crystal diffraction facility that is optimised for resonant and magnetic x-ray scattering in the 3-15 keV energy range. It provides variable photon polarization, a six-circle kappa diffractometer and a range  of sample environments and advanced detectors, to support a vibrant UK and international research community and in-house team, focusing on electronic ordering in materials that are of topical interest in condensed matter physics.

The postholder will be involved with carrying out experiments on I16 and other beamlines or neutron facilities, on novel materials exhibiting frustrated magnetic order and/or multiferroic behaviour. Frustrated magnets are the subject of many theoretical and experimental studies due to the variety of exotic quantum effects that arise in these systems. In some instances magnetic frustration plays a crucial role in breaking inversion symmetry, generating an electric polarization in the sample. In such systems a strong coupling between the magnetic and electric properties occurs, hence a very precise knowledge of the magnetic and structural ground states in multiferroic and frustrated magnets is crucial to understand the mechanisms involved in the coupling of the magnetic and electrical properties. The small x-ray beam size, the sensitivity to chirality and non-collinearity, and chemical selectivity, have established magnetic x-ray scattering as a unique tool to study these fascinating materials.

The successful candidate will also be expected to spend some time on beamline development and also to undertake limited 'local contact' duties. A willingness to adapt to unsocial working hours and weekend during short period of time is essential for all experimental activities at large scale facilities.

The PDRA will be responsible for the planning of experiments, preparation of the surfaces and characterization of samples, development of experimental techniques and samples environments. Analysis of experimental data will require the use of existing codes as well as development of Python-based software.

  • Day-to-day responsibility for the in-house research programme including the analysis and publication of the results;
  • testing and commissioning of a range of sample environment equipment necessary for his/her research work;
  • support of relevant research projects of the users, who will come from a diverse scientific background;
  • presentation of the in-house research, beamline developments and scientific papers at meetings and conferences;
  • assist with the general commissioning of beamline hardware and the development of data acquisition, visualisation and analysis software;
  • assist the beamline staff in maintaining and running the beamline peripheral laboratories.

Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • Appropriate first degree;
  • PhD;
  • Good knowledge of x-ray diffraction and crystallography;
  • Good knowledge of condensed matter physics, including magnetism;
  • Experience of programming;
  • Proven track record in advanced data analysis;
  • Ability and initiative to get to the heart of the problem and take it effectively through to completion;
  • Good interpersonal, communication and presentational skills;
  • Ability to interact effectively with staff at all levels.
  • Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team;
  • Self motivation;
  • Must be available to travel occasionally within the UK and abroad, including overnight absences;
  • Must be available to work long/unsocial hours during short period of time (1 week).

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

  • Skilled in computer programming, ideally Python;
  • Good organisational and planning skills;
  • Experience with synchrotron-based techniques and instrumentation;
  • Experience of sample environment equipment;
  • Experience with Windows/Linux/Unix.

Further Information

  • Must be available to travel occasionally within the UK and abroad, including overnight absences;
  • Must be available to work long/unsocial hours during short period of time (1 week).

Applying for employment

For further details on applying for employment at Diamond, please visit our 'Application Form' page.

Appointments will be made depending on the skills and experience of the candidate. Electronic Diamond application forms in MS-Word are preferred. These should be emailed to

Other information