Plasma Wakefield Acceleration Physicist (BE-ABP-LAF-2022-64-LD)

Geneva, Switzerland
20 Jun 2022
20 Jul 2022

Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter - fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

Job Description


Are you an Accelerator Physicist or Engineer experienced in plasma wakefield acceleration? Would you be interested in working in an exciting international environment at the forefront of modern science? Would you like to work on cutting-edge accelerator technologies at the Advanced Wakefield Experiment (AWAKE)? Then Take Part and join one of the teams that help to deliver unique particle beams used by physicists from all over the world to answer the questions at the heart of particle physics!

You will join:

The Accelerators and Beam Physics (ABP) Group, which is part of the Beams department (BE) - in charge of beam performance over the complete CERN accelerator chain - from the source to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The Group carries out Research & Development (R&D) activities on the upgrade of the LHC and its injectors, on the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC), Future Circular Colliders (FCC) and Muon Collider study, as well as on novel acceleration techniques (AWAKE).

The Lepton Accelerators and Facilities (LAF) section provides expertise in the field of lepton accelerators design, commissioning and operation, including accelerator test facilities. It is responsible for theoretical, numerical and experimental studies on the beam dynamics of future lepton accelerators and colliders and the study and design of new acceleration experiments based on proton driven plasma wakefield acceleration and related EU projects.

Following the update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics, CERN is ramping up its R&D efforts on advanced accelerator technologies; The Advanced Wakefield Experiment, AWAKE is an accelerator R&D experiment at CERN to demonstrate for the first time ever plasma wakefield acceleration of electrons in wakefields driven by a proton bunch. AWAKE has now started into its next phase towards demonstrating accelerating electrons to high energies while preserving the beam quality to be eventually in the position to propose first particle physics experiments.

To strengthen the plasma acceleration experimental expertise at CERN and to position CERN as early as possible as leaders in this novel acceleration technology, you will play a key role in the scientific exploitation, operation and organisation of AWAKE.


As a plasma wakefield accelerator physicist you will take part in the R&D efforts for advanced accelerator technologies of AWAKE.

You will:

  • Take a leading role in all aspects of the plasma wakefield experiment AWAKE at CERN, including the conception, design, building, commissioning and running of the plasma wakefield experiment. This could be conducted outside of regular working hours.
  • Coordinate the CERN part of the physics program of the experiment including the measurement campaigns and data analysis, contributing to the documentation and dissemination of the results in scientific papers.
  • Take a leading role in the simulations for plasma wakefield acceleration to optimize the performance reach of the AWAKE experiment.
  • Develop beam dynamics aspects (generation and transport) of plasma wakefield accelerated beams.
  • Supervise a team of students and fellows and build up a core-team with plasma wakefield expertise at CERN.
  • Take part in other plasma wakefield studies where CERN is involved and provide expert advice.
  • Collaborate with external researchers from collaborating institutes and integrate their contribution at CERN.


  • PhD or equivalent relevant experience in the field of physics or engineering or a related field.


  • Demonstrated experience of working in a scientific environment, preferably in the design and/or operation of plasma wakefield acceleration experiments.
  • Experience in designing, building and performing plasma wakefield experiments.
  • Experience with beam commissioning and performance optimization, in particular in plasma wakefield accelerator facilities.
  • Experience of experimental techniques and analysis of data from beam measurements.
  • Experience in the development of simulation codes for plasma wakefield acceleration.
  • Experience in beam dynamics, optics design, beam instrumentation exploitation and physics of lasers would be an asset.

Technical competencies:

  • Analysis and optimization of accelerator performance: including plasma wakefield accelerators.
  • Knowledge and application of plasma wakefield physics.
  • Knowledge and application of beam operation.
  • Simulation, design, and development of plasma wakefield accelerators.

Behavioural competencies:

  • Achieving results: having a structured and organised approach towards work; being able to set priorities and plan tasks with results in mind.
  • Solving problems: assimilating large quantities of information, identifying key issues and formulating conclusions clearly and concisely.
  • Working in teams: cooperating constructively with others in the pursuit of team goals; balancing personal goals with team goals.
  • Demonstrating accountability: taking responsibility for own actions and decisions.
  • Managing self: projecting self-confidence when presenting ideas, proposals and opinions.

Language skills:

  • Spoken and written English: ability to understand and speak the English language in professional contexts. Ability to draw-up technical specifications and/or scientific reports and to make oral presentations in English.
  • The ability to speak French would be an advantage, at least a willingness to learn rapidly.

Additional Information

Eligibility and closing date:

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization. Employing a diverse workforce is central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States and Associate Member States.

This vacancy will be filled as soon as possible, and applications should normally reach us no later than 12:00 CET 18.07.2022.

Employment Conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (5 years). Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.

These functions require:

  • Work in Radiation Areas.
  • Interventions in underground installations.
  • A valid driving licence.
  • Work during nights, Sundays and official holidays, when required by the needs of the Organization.
  • Stand-by duty, when required by the needs of the Organization.
  • International travel.

Job grade: 6-7

Job reference: BE-ABP-LAF-2022-64-LD

Benchmark Job Title: Applied Physicist