Shock Physics Group Lead

First Light Fusion Ltd
Oxford, UK
Closing date
4 Oct 2023

Job Details

Job Description

Having demonstrated fusion last year, First Light Fusion’s next goal is to achieve fuel ignition through DT fusion by building the world’s largest pulsed power machine to drive projectiles into our targets. The Experimental Department is responsible for designing, fielding, diagnosing, and analysing these experiments and other diagnostic variants to benchmark our simulations. The company is undergoing a growth phase to achieve these goals and as part of this is establishing a new Shock Physics group within the Experimental department.

This role is to lead the Shock Physics Group, reporting to the Head of Experimental Physics. The Group will be responsible for designing and carrying out experiments to optimise, diagnose and investigate shock physics phenomena, focusing primarily on First Light’s amplifiers. The amplifier is a part of the target that couples the incoming projectile energy into the fuel cavity, aiming to do this as efficiently as possible. It is expected that the group will achieve this by measurement of shock properties (profile, shape, pressure, temperature) inside or at the output of a FLF amplifier. Typically, these shocks will be in solid materials and will be travelling at 10’s km/s.

In this role you will work and coordinate with the other group leaders and other departments. You will be responsible for recruitment and management of your Group. You will also be responsible for capability development and, in conjunction with the CSO, advising on strategic direction.

We are committed to diversity and offer flexible working as well as considering part time roles. Some home working is possible, however due to the laboratory-based nature of the role it is expected that most time will be spent on site.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Designing and carrying out experiments to optimise diagnose and investigate shock physics phenomena in First Light Fusion's amplifiers;
  • Developing new, best-in-class, diagnostics, techniques, and shock physics capabilities;
  • Helping to provide strategic vision for shock physics within the company;
  • Line management of a team of scientists;
  • Working closely with simulations and theory, typically within other departments;
  • Coordination with other groups within the Experimental Department.


  • PhD in Physics, Engineering, or similar industrial experience;
  • Experience working in a laboratory-based team;
  • Knowledge of shock physics theory;
  • Knowledge and experience, both with the theory and application of, shock physics diagnostics such as ultra high-speed imaging, radiography, diffraction, spectroscopy;
  • Experience working in relevant physics regimes with strong shocks;
  • Knowledge of health and safety;
  • Passion for fusion and for taking a bold approach to a high-risk transformational technology;
  • Fast and effective problem-solving skills;
  • Ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines;
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.


  • Line management experience;
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver to agreed objectives and manage resources using project management techniques;
  • Experience using simulations to refine and analyse experiments;
  • An understanding of Pulsed Power;
  • Advanced knowledge of Plasma Physics and High Energy Density Physics.


  • Competitive salary;
  • 25 days annual leave + bank holidays;
  • Free lunch, snacks, and soft drinks;
  • Cycle to work scheme;
  • Electric vehicle car scheme;
  • Relocation support;
  • Flexible working;
  • Generous share options scheme;
  • Health and wellbeing scheme;
  • 8% employer pension contribution without matching requirements;
  • Enhanced parental and sick leave.

Supporting Documents for Shock Physics Group Lead


Projectile fusion is a new approach to inertial fusion that is simpler, more energy efficient, and has lower physics risk. Inertial fusion is a pulsed process, where, like an internal combustion engine, a small amount of fuel is injected and sparked to make it burn. The main existing approach to inertial fusion uses a large laser as the "spark plug", triggering the reaction. We use a high velocity projectile instead.

Find Us
01865 807 670
Unit 10, Oxford Pioneer Park
Mead Rd, Yarnton
United Kingdom

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