Postdoctoral Research Associate for Beamline I07 (Surface and Interface Diffraction)

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Job Title Postdoctoral Research Associate for Beamline I07 (Surface and Interface Diffraction)
Job Reference DIA1101/TH
Post Type Full time / Fixed term for 3 years
Division Physical Science
Salary information Circa £33k
Application deadline 24/01/2016

Job Description

Diamond Light Source is a synchrotron light source and a leading scientific facility of its type in the world. Located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in South Oxfordshire, we will host research facilities supporting cutting edge research in all fields of science. Beamline I07 is a high-resolution X-ray diffraction beamline for investigating the structure of surfaces and interfaces under a wide range of different environmental conditions, ranging from UHV surface science to soft condensed matter and biological systems.

This position will focus on ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) surface science and the successful candidate will be responsible for the day to day running of the complex surface science chamber used for the surface x-ray diffraction and preparation work. This system comprises multiple chambers with equipment to measure low energy electron diffraction (LEED), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and Auger spectroscopy in addition to preparation facilities such as sputter guns and sample heating. The scientific goal of the project is to study the effects of dopants on high quality thin films of topological insulator materials, such as bismuth telluride or samarium hexaboride. A variety of substrates and doping of the film will be studied using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) techniques to produce thin films or multilayer heterostructures.

Beamline I07 will be used to establish the structure and morphology of the film whilst the electronic structure will be studied using other facilities for angle resolved photoemission. Topological insulator (TI) materials are of continuing interest due to the unique behaviour they exhibit where for a three-dimensional TI, the inner bulk is insulating whilst the surface allows spin-dependent conduction. Thin film TI’s offer the possibility of tuning the surface state and also producing higher quality structures without defects that appear in the bulk materials. In addition to the research project, the PDRA will be involved in some of the external user experiments that will also use the UHV chamber.

Key Responsibilities:

Working with the surface and interface diffraction beamline team in the following areas:

  • Day-to-day responsibility for the in-house research programme on thin film topological insulators including the analysis and publication of the results;
  • Testing and commissioning of a range of sample environment equipment;
  • 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;
  • Experience of ultrahigh vacuum methods for surface science studies;
  • Experience or knowledge of Surface Science;
  • 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 work as part of a multi-disciplinary team;
  • Self motivation;

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

  • Knowledge of Topological Insulator research;
  • Experience or knowledge of relevant Soft Condensed Matter or Electrochemistry techniques;
  • Experience of sample environment equipment;
  • Experience of synchrotrons / x-ray beamlines;
  • Experience with Windows/Linux/Unix;
  • Experience of programming, especially Python, and Java;
  • Experience or knowledge of surface x-ray diffraction;
  • Experience or knowledge of x-ray reflectivity;
  • Good organisational and planning skills;
  • Ability to interact effectively with staff at all levels.

Further Information

  • Must be available to travel occasionally within the UK and abroad, including overnight absences.

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

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