Postdoctoral Research Assistant

This vacancy is now closed
Job Title Postdoctoral Research Assistant (BLI07)
Job Reference DIA0694/TH
Post Type
Division Science
Salary information Circa £33K
Application deadline 24/03/2012

Job Description

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron science facility. Located at Harwell Science & Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, we enable world-leading research across a wide range of scientific disciplines and industrial applications.

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. The system comprises of equipment to measure low energy electron diffraction (LEED), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Auger spectroscopy in addition to preparation facilities such as sputter gun and sample heating. It is planned for a scanning tunnelling microscope to be added in the near future.

The scientific goal of the project is to produce high quality thin films of topological insulator materials such as Bismuth Telluride or Bismuth Selenide. A variety of substrates and doping of the film will be studied using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) techniques. Beamline I07 will be used to determine 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 current interest due to the unique behaviour they exhibit whereby for a three- dimensional TI, the inner bulk is insulating whilst the surface allows spin-dependant conduction. Thin films 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.

Main responsibilities will be:

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

  • Day to day responsiblity for the inhouse 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 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 Techniques (e.g. AFM/STM, XPS/UPS, Auger Spectroscopy, LEED/RHEED, Ellipsometry, Thin film preparation);
  • Ability and initiative to get to the heart of the probem 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

  • Experience or knowledge of surface x-ray diffraction;
  • Experience or knowledge of x-ray reflectivity;
  • 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;
  • Knowledge of Topological Insulator research;
  • Good organisational and planning skills;
  • Ability to interact effectively with staff at all levels.

Further Information

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