Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics
Summer 2018 job posting
Job number TR18-2-7

Position Title:

Particle physics with ultracold neutrons - student project 

Name of Project:

Development work for the UCN source and the neutron EDM experiment 


Knowledge of fundamental properties of the neutron helps us understand many aspects of the universe; it all starts right after the Big Bang: the energy available at the time of the Big Bang created a large number of particle and antiparticle pairs, which in turn, annihilated and transformed back to energy, but in the end matter won over antimatter in the universe, making our existence possible. The main ingredient to that, matter anti-matter asymmetry, requires another fundamental asymmetry, called CP violation. This, in turn might show up in a non-zero electric dipole moment (EDM) of the neutron, making EDM measurements the flagship of fundamental neutron physics.
As tools to achieve this, we use ultracold neutrons (UCN), which are neutrons of such remarkably low energies that they are totally reflected from the surfaces of a variety of materials. Hence, they can be confined in material bottles for long periods of time. Typically, UCN have kinetic energies less than 300 neV (and velocities of order 8 m/s). Since neutrons are a fundamental constituent of the universe, confined neutrons can be used in experiments to study many interesting questions - like the search for the neutron EDM.

The UCN facility is currently being commissioned, and the neutron EDM experiment is in the conceptual design phase. Exciting times lie ahead of the UCN project since we recently perfomed the first production ever of ultracold neutrons in Canada!

Various opportunities exist for an undergrad student to contribute in a significant way to the success of the UCN source and to the future design of the neutron EDM experiment.


We are looking for a student to stay with our project for two terms.
The student will work on developing equipment for the neutron edm experiment or the UCN source.

Thus the student's duties will be well balanced between hands-on tasks in the laboratory or the experimental area, and office work such as: development of 3D computer models as well as analytical investigations using tools like CAD software, finite element analysis, computing software, or simulation packages (solidworks, opera, ansys, matlab, mathematica, Monte Carlo, GEANT4, and similar).

The hands-on tasks will be related to the commissioning of the UCN source and design or test-setups geared towards the nEDM apparatus. Actively participating in the conceptual design, installation work and measurement campaigns of both components will be crucial to the students activities.

This might require a moderate amount of shift work. Furthermore, the student will receive education about advanced radiation protection and will eventually be trained as TRIUMF nuclear energy worker.

This entire work will be carried out in an international team environment with physicists and graduate students from the different institutes (KEK, U of Osaka, RCNP, UBC, UNCB, U Manitoba, U Winnipeg, SFU, and TRIUMF) who are part of the Japanese-Canadian UCN-nEDM collaboration. The student will communicate to other collaboration members and give updates about his or her work regularly during oral presentations and written reports.

Skills learned during this work experience:

The student will be familiarized with fundamental neutron physics topics, high precision measurement applications, and particle physics techniques. His or her analytical skills will be enhanced and experience from course/lab training or previous work terms will be applied to fundamental research. The student will have the possibility to take part in the daily live of an experimental physics collaboration and contribute to the advancement of the project.
Additionally, participation in our weekly international status meetings for the UCN source and EDM experiment will introduce the student into the world international collaboration. This will enhance the students communication skills and train clear presentation of technical and scientific concepts to peers.

We are providing a stimulating environment for students to learn new things while contributing significantly to the overall progress of the UCN project. Last but not least, the TRIUMF coop program offers education about other scientific projects related to the Canadian subatomic physics community via student lectures throughout the work term!


Third or Fourth year physics, engineering (Eng.Phys.), computer science or mechanical engineering students with some experimental experience.
Affinity for experimental techniques and development is what we are looking for in an ideal candidate.

We expect the student to work independently on given tasks - after proper introduction to the topic and support by other team members when problems come across. Experience gathered in previous coop terms is appreciated.

Basic knowledge in programming in any common language/application will be an asset (C/C++, Matlab, Labview, etc).

Experience using CAD software (ideally SolidWorks) is recommended. Some experience using FEA software (e.g. ANSYS, Opera, FEMM) and C++ (or equivalent) and working in a linux-based environment would also be advantageous.

Shiftwork required:


Period of work:

summer term  
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 TR18-2-7
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.
For more information, visit our web site