Full details of how to apply can be found from our main Summer Student page.
We require completed CVs, along with a Letter of Recommendation from your university tutor, by 21st February 2020.
Possible projects include the following.
free to tell us in your CV in which projects you would be particular
interested (can be one or more). If you have no strong preference, that
is fine. We will be looking for the best students and will try to match
them up to suitable projects.
Upgrade Strip-Tracker Module Production
The ATLAS detector is one of two
large general purpose detectors designed to probe new physics at the Large
Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. During the year 2025, the LHC has an ambitious
upgrade program, known as the High Luminosity (HL-)LHC that will greatly extend
the statistical sensitivity to new physics. To achieve this, the LHC will shut
down for a period of ~3 years to allow for improvements to the LHC accelerator
systems. The HL-LHC will increase the luminosity of the proton beam by a factor
of between five and seven, meaning that the average number of particle
interactions per passing beam crossing increases greatly. Therefore the HL-LHC
presents an extremely challenging environment to the ATLAS experiment, beyond
that it was originally designed. An upgrade of the ATLAS detector is needed to
cope with the high radiation environment. RAL is involved in the upgrade of the silicon tracking
detector, the ITk, which surrounds the interaction region of the ATLAS
experiment. The tracker measures the momentum and trajectory of charged
particles. Silicon strip detector modules will be built and tested here and we
are looking for a summer student to join our team during the pre-production
phase. The student will be involved in the testing and assembly of each of the
module components and will have the opportunity to study data collected at DESY
Proposed Dates: Anytime
after 22nd of June
Desired Skills: Knowledge of C++ and Linux.
Upgrade Strip-Tracker Module Loading
This project is ear-marked for students from SEPnet Universities.
Preparing for the High-Luminosity Phase of the LHC
operation, the ATLAS Experiment will undergo significant upgrades of hardware
in 2025/26. Production, in particular for new parts of the Inner Tracker (ITk),
will start in 2021 and therefore needs to be prepared now. Robotic Gantry
systems at RAL will be used to monitor
precision positioning of £12M worth of silicon modules on carbon-fibre support
structures. Students will be working on LabView programs used to operate the
robotic gantry, running image acquisition and processing, as well as automatic
Proposed Dates: Starting as early as June until early
Desired Skills: Programming (anything really), any
hardware understanding is a nice-to-have
Upgrade Pixel-Endcap Assembly
Upgraded ATLAS Pixel Tracker will be the biggest pixel detector system ever
built, with over a billion detector channels.
RAL will be a key player in the assembly of the Pixel Endcaps. RAL will assemble hybrid pixel detector modules onto
lightweight carbon-fibre half-rings for the Upgrade.
the next few months we will continue our work on precision placement of detector
modules onto the half-rings. We seek a student to undertake refinement of
placement methods, and measurement of the achievable placement accuracy. This
will be carried out using our high-precision motorised gantry system, equipped
with a camera, laser displacement sensor and adhesive dispense system. Specific
tasks include calibrating the accuracy of the gantry itself, using a laser
interferometer and comparing the gantry to a coordinate measuring machine by
surveying standard test objects. We will look at the automation of vacuum
switching between the vacuum chucks in the system, to handle detector modules in
a more automated way. We will build prototype detector assemblies, which will
be tested by our collaborators to verify the electrical and cooling system
design for the Upgrade. We will carry out trials with different candidate
adhesives and dispensing methods, assembling dummy and mechanical grade
part of the work we must be able to test the electrical functionality of the
detector modules before and after mounting to the half-ring structure. Equipment
control using Labview software plays an important part of the work. We are
currently working on improvements of the existing software, which controls detector
module placement, adhesive deposition and survey. Opportunities exist to work
on developing these improved programs.
Desired Skills: We
seek a dextrous student with good practical skills and patience. Some
programming experience is needed for control of equipment and analysis of
results. A basic understanding of experimental errors and statistics is
important, as is basic mathematical proficiency. Experience of Labview
software, Arduino or Raspberry Pi would be useful, but is not essential, as
would knowledge of a mechanical CAD package.
ATLAS Trigger Upgrade
The ATLAS Trigger system makes fast real-time decisions
on whether to keep data from interesting proton-proton collision events at the
LHC to be studied later, or discard them. We can only keep about 1 in 100,000
collisions. The trigger software makes this selection by identifying
characteristic features within the data, for example looking for tracks that
could be from the decay of a Higgs or a new exotic particle. This requires a
data centre with over 50,000 CPU cores. The trigger software is being upgraded
ready for the start of a new period of LHC data-taking starting in 2021. You
will analyse the performance of the new trigger software on data and simulation
and help to optimise the performance to maximise the ATLAS physics potential.
You will implement improvements to the software and measure the changes.
Desired Skills: You
should have an interest in computing with some experience of programming in C++
or a similar language. Some knowledge of ROOT would be helpful but is not
Algorithms for the Trigger Upgrade
The Large Hadron Collider will be upgraded to a
much higher luminosity machine for operation beyond 2027. The resulting huge
number of interactions (a few hundred) in each bunch crossing must be
disentangled and to cope with this the CMS detector will be upgraded. A
critical element is the first level of triggering which must decide on whether
an event has the potential to include evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model within a few microseconds. One completely new feature of this hardware
trigger is the availability of tracks reconstructed in the Silicon Tracker.
This enables algorithms to be executed at this trigger level that are beyond
the capability of the current CMS detector. The student will study possible
algorithms, such as the reconstruction of the origin of interactions, and
evaluate how useful they are for triggering on interesting physics events as
well their viability for implementation in programmable fast electronics
(FPGAs). The project may include implementing these algorithms in FPGAs using
Dark Matter group at RAL is involved in the construction of the LUX-ZEPLIN
double-phase liquid Xenon detector at Homestake Mine in the US. We are also involved in
the R&D programme for the future G3 Liquid Xenon Dark Matter project. One
of the R&D elements is to simulate and measure the so called "Migdal
effect" the detection of which will significantly improve the detector
sensitivity for low-mass WIMP searches. The success of the future
experiment depends on a careful understanding of this effect.
student will be involved in the modelling of the low-pressure optical time projection chamber
and simulations of its response to low-energy electrons and nuclear
recoils created in the process of the neutron scattering.
Designing and building Particle Physics Exhibits for Public Engagement
This project is ear-marked for students from SEPnet Universities.
The Particle Physics Department (PPD) at the Rutherford Appleton
Laboratory (RAL) participates in and supports the UK particle physics
experimental programme. Our mission also includes public engagement and we run
a number of Public Understanding of Science events for schools and the public.
We are currently planning new exhibits to explain to the public our work, the
science behind it and its broader applications. Once complete, these exhibits
will be on display in the RAL visitor’s centre.
The student will help
with the design and delivery of these exhibits. This will be a varied project
involving the construction of models, electronics and programming. The student
should have good practical skills and an interest in explaining science to the
Desired Skills: Experience of Arduino or Raspberry Pi programming
would be useful, but is not essential.
Reading Ancient Scrolls
This project will look at a
novel way of reconstructing archaeological finds using X-ray fluorescence
measurements, in particular ancient writing on scrolls that were charred during
the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Whilst the suggested methodology is
reasonably simple, a pin-hole x-ray camera that is energy sensitive, the
extraction of the very faint signal over background will require careful
analysis of the recorded data. Many measurements have already been made, but
few of the data has yet been analysed and issues in the initial recording
require a deeper understanding of the data and their analysis. The project will
allow one to study the sensitivity of the apparatus, based on data recorded
from templates, as well as trying to understand actual data recorded on a real
object and giving the best shot a making a dream-come-true for the world of
ancient classics and archaeology.
Most of the work will involve
programming of data decoders and statistical analysis of that data using either
Python or a programming language of your choice. Code exists (in Python and
C++) to read in data files and generate simple plots (2D images, 1D energy
spectra) of the existing data.
Desired Skills: Familiarity with Python or C++ would be helpful.
Boulby Underground Laboratory
The Boulby Underground Laboratory is situated 1.1 km underground at Boulby Mine in the North-East of England. It is a mult-disciplinary lab, undertaking work associated with Dark Matter, Biology, Geology etc.
We are looking for a
summer student to help us develop our outreach efforts here at Boulby. The
student will help to create outreach material for display in our newly
refurbished surface facility, help with filming and presenting live links to
schools and outreach events from our underground laboratory, help us to create
a strong presence at outreach events (such as the Daresbury Open Week) and help
promote diversity in STEM in the local area. The student will also be involved
in our latest outreach programme where we will be working with schools in the
highlands and islands of Scotland to programme and operate robots remotely in
our underground laboratory.
Desired Skills: We are looking for someone with a passion for
science engagement who would be happy to find themselves both in front of and
behind of a camera.
This project would be located at the Boulby Mine near Whitby … a long
way from the Rutherford Lab! it's an incredible experience working 1 km
underground inside a clean room in a potash mine.