Particle Physics will run a summer internship programme for undergraduate physics students. We anticipate taking about six students and 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 4 July through to the end of August. Students will be paid as employees of the University, receiving a payment of £10.56 per hour (subject to tax and National Insurance deductions). The project is normally full-time, but hours can be discussed with your supervisor.

Eligibility

Applications are welcome from students at institutes outside of Oxford. 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 sue.geddes@physics.ox.ac.uk  

How to apply

You should email a one-page-only application, in pdf format, to Sue Geddes (sue.geddes@physics.ox.ac.uk) by Monday of 1st week, 25 April 2022. Students should ask for a short academic reference letter to be emailed by the same date. Offers will be made in mid-May 2022.

On your one-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 Sue Geddes (sue.geddes@physics.ox.ac.uk).

Projects

The CERN Linear Electron Accelerator for R&D

Supervisor:  Professor Philip Burrows (philip.burrows@physics.ox.ac.uk)
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.

Novel materials for charged particle tracking in particle physics experiments

Supervisor: Dr Daniel Hynds (daniel.hynds@physics.ox.ac.uk)
Duration: 8 weeks
Silicon detectors are the leading detector technology for charged particle tracking within the particle physics world, in large part due to the commercial development of silicon chips underpinning modern technology. The challenging requirements at the Large Hadron Collider and future facilities have driven R&D in directions which are not as economically desirable - radiation tolerance, low mass, precise time-stamping, etc - which has led to the investigation of novel non-silicon materials. GaAs and CdZTe have long been used for X-ray detection, while GaN, diamond and others are increasingly being pursued for particle tracking. This project will focus on other novel materials, such as Perovskites and InP, and will combine lab-based measurements with simulation work and literature studies of prototype detectors. The candidate is expected to:

  • Make initial measurements of InP detectors
  • Use a fast laser to investigate signal development and characteristics
  • Model the device behaviour in simulation
  • Review literature for the material properties to include in detailed electrical modelling
  • Investigate the feasibility of Perovskite-based devices

Ultra fast detectors for HEP applications

Supervisors: E Giulio Villani (enrico.villani@stx.ox.ac.uk) and Professor Daniela Bortoletto (daniela.bortoletto@physics.ox.ac.uk)
Duration: 8 weeks
Low Gain Avalanche Detectors (LGAD) are modified Avalanche Photodiodes (APD) that achieve a high electric field region close to the reversed junction. Electrons generated by an incident ionizing particle passing through the detector and drifting to the high field region start the impact ionization process, leading to charge multiplication and higher signal. Optimization of the signal gain, through careful design of the detectors, allows time resolution currently of the order of 10’s ps. Such timing resolution could help solve pile up issues in high luminosity collider experiments, besides being a powerful tool for several scientific applications. The candidate is expected to:

  • Use a fast laser to investigate the timing resolution of LGAD devices with different gain layers.
  • Compare the performance of non-irradiated and irradiated LGAD devices.
  • Model gain/timing degradation versus radiation fluence.
  • Characterize a fast amplifier, including phase noise estimate and its effect on timing resolution of the LGADs setup.
  • Document the data and methodology followed during the project.

PaMIr+: 2022 Summer placements in interferometry on fast targets

Supervisors: Professor Armin Reichold (armin.reichold@physics.ox.ac.uk) and Dr Christos Pallikarakis (christos.pallikarakis@physics.ox.ac.uk)
Duration: 8 weeks
The PaMIr team is very happy to offer a range summer project topics during the summer vacation 2022. At most, one of these projects can be funded through the department’s 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.  
PaMIr+ summer placements will help to extend the PaMIr scope in two ways:

  1. To link the displacement to absolute distance measurements made with our own Frequency Scanning Interferomerty systems (FSI).
  2. To develop a portable, standalone single channel solution of PaMIr

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 project is funded through an innovation partnership grant and direct industry funding from our industry partner Etalon. The prospective summer students will become temporary members of the PaMIr group, which currently has ten members (many of whom are part time on the project). Professor Armin Reichold (group leader), Dr Christos Pallikarakis (senior researcher), Dr Peter Qui (PDRA), Dr Jubin Mitra (FPGA engineer), Mr Mark Jones (analogue electronics engineer), Mr Rui Gao (FPGA engineer) and Mr Johan Fopma (Head of physics electronics engineering), Mr Riccardo Chiello (FPGA engineer), Dr Weida Zhang (RF electronics engineer), Mr Antoni Wojcik (MPhys Student). We have enjoyed input from five summer students and two MPhys student to date who have been great contributors to our research. Seven further part time team members are working on the project in our partner organisations.

This summer student opportunity offers a wide range of possible engagements with the PaMIr project. The activities suitable for a summer student fall into two broad categories and are listed below.

1. PaMIr measurements, simulations and analyses

  • Setting up a new fast motion stage system
  • Simultaneously measuring displacements with PaMIr and 4 other reference instruments
  • Analysing PaMIr and reference instrument data with multiple algorithms and comparing them.
  • Determining the performance of PaMIr as a function of laser power and mode of laser stabilisation methods
  • Comparing the performance of PaMIr with different stabilised lasers
  • Measurement with PaMIr at so called “critical distances”

2. Combinations of PaMIr with Frequency Scanning Interferometry

  • Simulations of PaMIr style modulated beams driven by frequency swept light sources
  • Try out time segmented analyses of FSI data.
  • Measure initially absolute distances with FSI and follow up with displacement measurements using PaMIr.
  • Perform an in depth literature search for FSI and PaMIr related techniques.

All projects will require some presence in our laboratory but some are more suitable to some degree of remote working provided that a well-functioning remote computing set-up and network connection is available to the student. Work in the PaMIr group requires an 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 Professor Armin Reichold (armin.reichold@physics.ox.ac.uk) and Dr Christos Pallikarakis (christos.pallikarakis@physics.ox.ac.uk).

W boson production in association with jets (W+jets)

Supervisors:  Professor Claire Gwenlan (Claire Gwenlan@physics.ox.ac.uk) and Eimear Conroy (eimear.conroy@physics.ox.ac.uk)
Duration: 8 weeks
W boson production in association with jets (W+jets) is one of the most common processes at the LHC. It is an important test of our physics modelling, a large background to many new physics searches, and helps us measure the structure of the proton. The intern would have the opportunity to assist with the W+jets cross-section measurement using 13 TeV data from the ATLAS detector, focusing on the evaluation of the backgrounds to the W+jets process. The candidate should have an interest in coding, with strong python skills. A knowledge of C++ is also encouraged.