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Research Associate in High Energy Density Material Physics

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Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
32,236 - 39,609 a year
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Role Description

This position is an exciting opportunity to work at the forefront of high energy density physics.  You will play a key role in an international team of investigators utilising the newly commissioned European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) to create and diagnose the properties of laser-compressed high-pressure condensed matter systems.

Your role will be to propose, design and lead a range of experiments to expand our understanding of high strain-rate material deformation at the lattice level.  You will explore the lattice-level physics mediating compression and release, and inform and participate in experiments aiming to create novel high-pressure and ambient metastable materials.  In doing so you will develop and utilise a range of x-ray diagnostics and data analysis techniques.  You will disseminate this work via high-profile publication and presentation at international conferences.  A PhD or equivalent in a laser-plasma physics, high-pressure physics, XFEL-based materials science, or a similar discipline will be essential.

As part of this role you will work with colleagues at UK based and international research institutions. In particular, you will have close collaboration with the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge, and the European XFEL.  In addition you will undertake a 6 month secondment at the European XFEL aiding in the commissioning of the UK-contributed DIPOLE laser and associated shock physics infrastructure.


The Department of Physics is at the forefront of pioneering global research and technological advancement in our world leading research centres, focused around condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and plasma physics and fusion energy at the York Plasma Institute. As a Department we strive to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We aim to ensure that there is a supportive and egalitarian culture at all levels and across all staff groups. We promote good practice and a strong culture of equality in higher education, and are proud of our Juno Champion Award and Athena SWAN Silver Award.


  • To conduct research under the supervision of senior colleagues and to contribute to the production of research.
  • To assist in the identification and development of potential areas of research and the development of proposals for independent or collaborative research projects.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

  • PhD in a relevant area of Physics or equivalent experience
  • Experience in planning and conducting laser-plasma, synchrotron or X-ray free electron laser-based experiments
  • Highly developed communication skills to engage effectively with a wide ranging audience
  • Ability to write up research work for publication in high profile journals and engage in public dissemination

The post is fixed-term for a period of up to 45 months, and will be available from 1 November 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Informal enquiries may be made to Dr Andrew Higginbotham ( or Emma Stent (

The Department of Physics values all employees for the qualities and skills they bring to the workplace and aims to be a diverse and egalitarian community in which all can thrive. 


The University is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community  – a place where we can all be ourselves and succeed on merit. We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, campus facilities and services to support staff from different backgrounds.

Athena Swan Silver         

A place where we can ALL be ourselves #EqualityatYork



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