STFC issues recruitment call for £85 mill UK project to build World's most powerful laser
1 Oct 2023
The Science and Technology Facilities Council is recruiting experts to participate in the construction of the Central Laser Facility’s Vulcan 20-20 laser.
STFC and CLF are recruiting professionals including scientists at various career stages including post-docs, PhDs, and graduate trainees, plus engineers, designers, project managers and senior, graduate and apprentice level technicians.
Located at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in South Oxfordshire, CLF has already secured approval for its £85 million upgrade programme, featuring the Vulcan 20-20, expected to be the world's most potent laser when completed in 2029.
The Vulcan 20-20 upgrade program will establish a laser facility capable of generating a central laser beam with a staggering 20PW power output, complemented by eight auxiliary beams boasting outputs of up to 20kJ, and representing a 20-fold increase in power.
The initiative will also revolutionise CLF's laser amplification technology through Optical Parametric Chirped Pulse Amplification (OPCPA), a concept first introduced by CLF in a 1997 paper.
Since its inception in 1977, the Vulcan laser has been in high demand for research spanning various scientific domains, from exploring astrophysical phenomena like supernovae and solar flares to investigating laser fusion as a potential clean energy source.
Professor John Collier, Director of the Central Laser Facility, stated: "Vulcan has been the flagship laser at CLF for many years, recognized globally as a pioneering facility. Over the past four decades, it has made significant contributions to plasma physics research and trained hundreds of PhD students.
“The time is ripe for Vulcan to undergo its next major upgrade, positioning it to serve a new generation of scientists and ensuring the UK maintains its leadership role in this field."
The Vulcan facility will temporarily halt operations in September 2023 prior to construction work starting in Spring 2024. The 20-20 program is primarily funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the UKRI Infrastructure Fund.
All roles being recruited to support the Vulcan 20-20 program will be posted on the CLF website.