Applications are now closed.

Particle Physics is running a summer internship programme for undergraduate physics students that will take about 6 students. Priority will be given to students in their second year and above. Students will work with a supervisor in the department, usually a postdoctoral researcher or lecturer, on a self-contained project. Students are encouraged to take part in department life, joining researchers for coffee, discussions and seminars.

The projects run for typically 8 weeks, nominally 1 July through to the end of August.  Students will be paid as employees of the University, receiving a payment of £11.92 per hour (subject to tax and National Insurance deductions). The project is normally full-time, but hours can be discussed with individual supervisors.


Unfortunately, due to UK visa regulations, we are only able to accept applications from candidates who do not require a visa to work in the UK. EU students currently in the UK who have been granted Pre-Settled Status are also welcome to apply along with current students in the UK on a Tier 4 visa that allows vacation employment. If you have queries about your personal circumstances, please get in touch with

How to apply

You should email a one-page-only application, in pdf format, to Kim Proudfoot ( by Monday 8 April 2024. Students should ask for a short academic reference letter to be emailed by the same date. Offers will be made as soon as possible after this date.

On your 1-page application, you should tell us why you are interested in the programme and which project(s) most interest you. Also include your contact details, your year and course, and contact details (including email) of your academic referee. Please also mention any computer programming experience and any previous research experience that you have had. You are welcome to informally contact the supervisor(s) to find out more details about the projects that interest you. For any administrative issues, contact Kim Proudfoot (


The CERN Linear Electron Accelerator for R&D

Supervisor:  Professor Philip Burrows (
Duration:  8 weeks
The CERN Linear Electron Accelerator for R&D – has been commissioned and experiments are taking place on the beamline. The intern will have the opportunity to work on simulation studies for operating and upgrading the 220 MeV electron beamline. There are also opportunities for working on simulations of novel beam position monitors and high-gradient radio-frequency accelerating cavities.

Searching for dark matter at the LHC

Supervisors:  Professor Alan Barr (
                     Dr Ben Hodkinson (

Dark matter is one of the most prominent puzzles in fundamental physics. The mystery can be solved by various extensions to the Standard Model that introduce new fundamental particles which we would expect to be produced at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In this project you will explore the hints of supersymmetric dark matter that could be present in recent LHC data. You will make use of machine learning methods, statistical techniques and/or particle physics theory to understand which models remain viable and which signals that we may soon be sensitive to. Experience with Python, bash scripting, C++ and machine learning would be advantageous but can be learned as part of the project.

Mu3e Experiment

Supervisors: Dr Richard Plackett (
Duration: 8 weeks
The Oxford Physics Microstructure Detector (OPMD) group develops new silicon detectors for Particle Physics and Astrophysics experiments.  We operate a state-of-the-art 160m2 cleanroom facility in support of this activity.  These cutting-edge sensors operate at the core of modern Particle Physics detectors, such as those at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, as well as instrumenting telescopes, atom interferometers, and other highly demanding projects. As such they are a critical aspect in a large number of the most active fields of research today.  OPMD is playing a large role in the Mu3e experiment, an upcoming detector based at the high-intensity muon beamline at PSI in Switzerland, that will measure the Standard Model forbidden muon to three electron decay; a strong test of lepton flavour violation.  Oxford is responsible for the construction of the Outer Pixel tracking system that measures the momentum of the produced electrons.  This challenging, ultra-low mass, detector is entering the construction phase and we are looking for a summer intern to help with this.   

This will be a very hands-on project working closely with applied physicists, and technicians, setting up and performing quality control measurements, testing silicon detector ASICs., assembling and testing prototype ladder structures, and helping to develop our production routine. 


Supervisors: Professor Steven Biller (
                     Professor Jeff Tseng (
                     Professor Armin Reichold (
Duration: 8 weeks
SNO+ is a large-scale liquid scintillation detector current operating in Sudbury, Canada. It has a diverse programme of physics, including measuring oscillations of reactor ant-neutrinos, studying geo-antineutrinos, solar neutrinos and supernova neutrinos. With the addition of Tellurium to the detector in 2025, it will also perform a sensitive search for neutrinoless double beta decay. The summer project student will help study event reconstruction and the identification of backgrounds to varisou physics analyses. Some knowledge of programming in C++ and python would be beneficial.

PaMIr+: 2024 Summer placements in interferometry on fast targets

Supervisor: Professor Armin Reichold (
Duration: 8 weeks
The PaMIr team is very happy to offer a range summer project topics at most one of which projects can be funded through the departments summer placement funds. PaMIr is short for Phase Modulation Interferometry. The PaMIr group is developing a novel method to interferometrically measure rapid displacements with high accuracy and time resolution as well as low latency on a large number of interferometers simultaneously.  This summer we expect to deliver our first commercial prototype to our industrial partners. PaMIr+ summer placements will help to extend the PaMIr scope in the following ways:

  • To explore the performance of our technique by setting up experiments to compare PaMIr with other precision measurements on our brand new 10m, high speed test stand.
  • To develop novel, high performance data analysis techniques that explore novel offline analysis algorithm which may be performed on GPUs  .
  • To compare the performance of the real time algorithm with its offline counterparts.
  • To explore the combination of PaMIr with our own method for absolute distance measurements based on frequency scanning interferometry (FSI).

PaMIr is designed to become a plug-compatible extension to our FSI technology which is now used in its commercial form (Absolute Multiline™) in many scientific projects in accelerator science, particle physics, astrophysics and many industrial settings. Our technology already has applications in many large-scale science experiments. Among them are the alignment of the crab cavities in the upgrade HL-LHC, control of undulators at LCLS-II (Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC), relative positioning of the primary and secondary mirrors of several next generation telescopes (GMT, EELT, KECK), as well as future measurements of deployable space antennae on satellites.The high speed, continuous differential measurements from PaMIr can be used in dynamic control loops to measure rapidly time variable positions continuously over long periods. These are needed in many of the above science problems and in the control of robots and CNC production machines in industry which play a huge role in our societies. The PaMIr collaborates with two industrial partners, VadaTech Plc and Etalon. We have enjoyed input from five summer students and two MPhys student to date who have been great contributors to our research.  The Oxford team involves 9 people, all on a par- time basis.

We can offer a wide range of possible engagements with the PaMIr project as listed below.

  1. Developing and performing experiments with our new fast motion stage system in which we compare PaMIr measurements to other reference instruments.
  2. Analysing PaMIr and reference instrument data with multiple Matlab or C++ or CUDA based algorithms and comparing the performance of algorithms and interferometer hardware.
  3. Determining the performance of PaMIr while varying operational parameters 

Work in the PaMIr group requires understanding of second year wave optics, in particular lasers and interferometry. General computer skills are also required for all of the above projects.
Skills useful for all of the above projects are a genuine interest and ideally some experience with programming in Matlab and/or C/C++ as well Git. For the lab work, skills in setting up optics and opto-mechanics will be beneficial. Interested applicants can discuss project options with Prof Armin Reichold (

Probing for additional neutrinos at the LHC

Supervisor: Professor Chris Hays (
Duration: 8 weeks
The Standard Model of particle physics includes the Higgs mechanism to provide mass to all known particles -- except neutrinos.  The very small mass of the neutrinos cannot be explained within the Standard Model, as new particles are required.  One possibility is the existence of neutrino partners that enter a mass matrix: when this matrix is diagonalized one neutrino family has a small mass while the other has a large mass. 

Measurements at the LHC can test the existence of heavy neutrinos, up to a mass of approximately 1 TeV (or ten times that of the Higgs boson).  This project will investigate possible signatures of heavy neutrinos and estimate the potential for the LHC to observe them.

SNO+ supernova trigger and background studies

Supervisor: Professor Jeff Tseng (
Duration: 8 weeks
A galactic core-collapse supernova is expected to emit an intense burst of neutrinos which can be detected by SNO+, and the experiment has online systems which are intended to detect such bursts in near real-time, conduct some basic data analysis, and notify the larger multi-messenger astrophysics community via the SNEWS (Supernova Early Warning System) network.  The student will refine the criteria by which such bursts are analyzed, and examine non-supernova bursts already recorded to see how to reject them without jeopardizing a genuine supernova signal.  The student may also work on the pre-supernova neutrino monitor, and SNEWS real-time analyses, if time permits.  The project will mostly involve computing, simulation, and data analysis, and is expected to take 8 weeks.

Simulation of Higgs-boson production at a future Higgs factory

Supervisor: Dr Elisabeth Schopf (
The experimental study of the Higgs boson, which was discovered in 2012 at the LHC at CERN, and its interactions is of utmost importance in the field of particle physics today. The Higgs boson is related to the Higgs field that was created incredibly shortly after the Big Bang and gave rise to the masses of fundamental particles. Larger scale structures in the universe could only form after fundamental particles became massive. Therefore the Higgs boson is intrinsically linked to the past and future evolution of the universe. 

Since the discovery, Higgs bosons have been studied at the LHC, which collides protons at immense energies. However, ultimate precision in measurements of Higgs-boson properties can only be achieved at a future collider. Currently, several proposals are being considered to build such a “Higgs factory”. One proposal, studied in the Particle Physics sub-Department at the University of Oxford is an electron-positron collider that relies on novel plasma acceleration for the electron beam and would collide beams with asymmetric energies (HALHF). This would enable to realise this Higgs factory at a fraction of the cost of conventional accelerators. The asymmetric beam energies and the corresponding consequences for Higgs-boson measurements are a challenge of this proposal and need to be studied to inform on the design of the experiment.

The summer student project we offer will study the environment of Higgs boson measurements at HALHF. You will support the generation of simulated events of Higgs boson production at HALHF, utilising and adapting available simulation software for high energy physics. You will investigate the kinematic properties of the Higgs-boson decay products in this experimental setup. Additionally, you will study several options for the experimental setup in light of key Higgs-boson measurements of the HALHF physics programme.

We are looking for a student joining us for 10-12 weeks. Programming skills in C++ and/or python at a beginner to intermediate level are required. Knowledge of particle physics and particle accelerators at an introductory level are highly desirable. 

Instrumentation development to search for dark matter with the DarkSide-20k Experiment

Supervisor: Professor Jocelyn Monroe (

This project will involve performance qualification of silicon photon sensors employed in the DarkSide-20k experiment. DarkSide-20k searches for dark matter particles, gravitationally bound to our galaxy, interacting in an ultra-sensitive terrestrial detector.

The signature of dark matter interactions in DarkSide-20k is light produced by the argon target. This light signal is detected by novel silicon photon detectors, composed of arrays of silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs).

You will learn to measure the photon detection performance of these cutting-edge silicon detectors in a cleanroom environment, employ calibration techniques and develop data analysis skills.

The project aims are for you to learn new skills in research at the low background frontier of particle physics, to contribute to the delivery of the silicon detector readout system that instruments part of the international DarkSide-20k experiment, currently under construction at the LNGS laboratory in Italy; and to gain experience with working as part of a research team.

Entry requirements
You should have, or be studying, a degree in physics, engineering or computer science and have laboratory experience.

ATLAS Upgrade

Supervisor: Professor Tony Weidberg (

The current ATLAS tracking detector needs to be replaced by a more radiation tolerant, better granularity and faster detector for operation at the High Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC). HL-LHC will provide an order of magnitude more integrated luminosity than the current LHC. At Oxford we are heavily involved in the upgrade for the tracker for strip and pixel systems.

This project is on the parts of the strip system that we are producing at Oxford. I would like a summer student to work on analysis of QC/QA data from ATLAS bus tapes and staves. The bus tapes are 1.4 m long copper/polyimide flexible circuits that carry low and high voltage power to the modules. They also have 100 um track and gap differential pairs to provide the 40 MHz clock and high speed control data to the silicon modules. In addition there are 100 um track and gap differential pairs for data readout at 640 Mbps. A failure in any line could result in the loss of a module. Therefore very thorough QC/QA is required for the bus tapes. At Oxford we use a custom robot to measure the electrical performance and dimensions of every bus tape received from CERN. CERN also perform some QC on these tapes and we need to do a statistical analysis of the quality of the tapes as well as correlating our data with the data from CERN. By the time this summer project would start we will have data from a significant number of tapes for a summer student to analyse.

In Oxford we are also doing the assembly of the carbon fibre staves which provide all the mechanical, electrical and cooling services for the ATLAS modules. We have stringent criteria on the dimensions of these staves and extensive QC data will be acquired. There would be an opportunity for a student to develop analysis code for this data so that we could develop a better understanding of the quality.

In addition to the software activities, a summer student could also get hands on experience with the test systems used.

Simulating detector designs for the Electron Ion Collider

Supervisor:         Dr Sam Henry (
                          Prof Todd Huffman (
Duration: 8 weeks

The Electron-Ion-Collider (EIC) is a planned particle accelerator to intersect beams of electrons and protons or heavy ions at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York. The goal is to study the inner structure of the proton and the interactions of quarks and gluons. Oxford is involved in a critical component, the silicon tracker detector, which will require an innovative design to track the trajectories of particles to high resolution, while keeping the material budget in the inner volume low. This will require simulation software to model the transport of particles through the structure. The intern will set up a system to do this at Oxford using the collaboration software, and local installations, and use this to investigate the radiation levels and detector performance for different designs.