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PhD Thesis Student (m/f) Subject: Power absorption mechanism and energy transfer in X-ray gas attenuators - Ref CFR 375
Employer: ESRF
Location: Grenoble, France
Employment Start Date: As soon as possible

Organization Description:

The ESRF is a multinational research institute, situated in Grenoble, France and financed by 19 countries mostly European. It operates a powerful synchrotron X-ray source with some 30 beamlines (instruments) covering a wide range of scientific research in fields such as biology and medicine, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, materials and surface science, and physics. The ESRF employs about 600 staff and is organized as a French société civile.

Job Description:

The scope of this PhD thesis is to explore further the mechanisms involved in the interaction between X-rays and gas molecules. Third-generation synchrotron sources generate extremely bright X-ray beams and the management of associated heat-load is a critical issue for the design and the operation of a synchrotron beamline. Solid attenuators are the traditional solution, which reach limitation when dealing with very high power. Gas attenuation could be an attractive solution especially for dynamic attenuation control by gas pressure monitoring. In addition gas is a stress-free material and a homogeneous medium. For this reason it allows better beam phase-contrast preservation. A prototype has been developed and tested at ESRF. Spectral power absorption measurements show that X-ray absorption by gas cannot be approximated by a simple model based on photon absorption by solid matter.

New models for photon absorption, power transfer from photons to gas molecules and then to the cooled walls, will be developed. Plasma physics could be involved in these mechanisms. Experiments with gas attenuators will be conducted at ESRF beamlines to verify results calculated from the proposed models. Diamond windows damaged by photon-electron physical-chemical processes were observed on a prototype operated at the high energy beamline ID15. Understanding of this damage mechanisms and proposal of remediation solutions are also part of this PhD project. The latter should result in a fully operated gas attenuator with power absorption monitoring.


We are looking for candidates with a strong background in physics, experimental physics, applied physics or equivalent. Both experimental and modelling skills are required. Experience with plasma physics, synchrotron radiation, and relevant engineering field are appreciated. The candidate should possess good communication skills and work effectively with a team composed of individuals with diverse cultural and technical backgrounds.

The working language of the ESRF is English. You should hold a degree in Physics, Experimental Physics, Applied Physics or equivalent allowing enrolment for a PhD, such as an MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent.

Contract of two years renewable (subject to satisfactory progress) for one year. Monthly gross remuneration: 2286 €.

Job Application:

For further information on employment terms and conditions, please refer to The ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from disabled persons.

If you are interested in this position, please apply on-line at this address:




Ref. CFR375 - Deadline for returning application forms: 31 May 2013

Date Posted: February 22, 2013