Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics
Summer 2018 job posting
Job number TR18-2-4

Position Title:

Atom trap for beta decay Research assistant 

Name of Project:

Improvements in spin-polarization of laser-cooled atoms. 


We have recently completed the most accurate beta decay asymmetry ever measured, by measuring the difference in number of betas emitted with and against the nuclear spin direction. This is the observable first used by Wu in 1957 to discover that parity symmetry is violated by the weak interaction. We have improved her experiment by an order of magnitude using an atom trap, confining beta-decaying radioactive atoms with the pressure of laser light.
We are upgrading this experiment to do better, and want to improve the degree of spin polarization, and how well we measure it. To do this, we must improve the quality of circularly polarized light, suppress magnetic fields that are not in the polarization direction, and learn to manipulate the atoms into various quantum states.


Implement a new faster type of liquid crystal variable retarder, and improve and determine the light polarization. Learn to trim magnetic fields with modifications of Helmholtz coils. Determine and improve the resulting polarization of the laser-cooled atoms.

Skills learned during this work experience:

Nonlinear optics, control programming, magnetic field manipulation.


Physics or Engineering Physics student preferred. Optics course and/or lab would be an asset. Some quantum mechanics would be helpful to understand the atom trapping.

Shiftwork required:


Period of work:

May-August with possible 4-month extension  
Salary is commensurate with academic progress and previous relevant work experience, and ranges from $ 2080 to $ 2800 per month plus 4% vacation pay.
TRIUMF pays round-trip airfare (this does not apply to Vancouver/Victoria students); for Vancouver Island students, TRIUMF will pay ferry costs.

TRIUMF is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in the workplace, and we welcome applications from all qualified undergraduate students as defined below:

  • Canadian undergraduate students or Canadian Permanent Resident undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited post secondary institution in Canada (or outside Canada) who are studying in a vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • Foreign full-time undergraduate students currently enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level, and who are studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration, and who have a valid Canadian study permit which allows for employment off-campus, and who have applied for a Social Insurance Number
  • Foreign undergraduate students enrolled in a recognized undergraduate program of study abroad who have accepted, or are in the process of accepting, an "Invitation to Apply" for a work permit under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program

Applications must be received at TRIUMF by 4:00pm Pacific time on 2018-01-22.

One complete PDF for EACH position must be submitted. Please save the PDF as lastname-job number (eg Smith-15.pdf)

Email to:

Mail to:

TRIUMF Student Program
Job Number TR18-2-4
4004 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, B.C.
V6T 2A3

No phone calls please. TRIUMF wishes to thank all applicants for their interest, and regrets that only those being considered will be contacted.

TRIUMF is located on the campus of the University of British Columbia.
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