Post-doctoral Research Assistant in Infrared-Radiofluorescence Dating and Luminescence Imaging

DEADLINE: 20 March 2020
WORKPLACE: University of Oxford

1. Introduction

The School of Archaeology is seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Assistant (PDRA) to work under the direction of Dr Jean-Luc Schwenninger to improve our understanding of infrared-radiofluorescence (IR-RF) dating and to develop and apply a novel imaging system and dating methodology for resolving long-standing chronological issues associated with early human evolution. The role will have a specific focus on IR-RF dating and ultra-low light detection and imaging of luminescence signals emitted by potassium feldspar minerals.
This post is part of the NERC funded ‘Improving the chronology of early human evolution’ project awarded to Dr Jean-Luc Schwenninger and Dr Marine Frouin (Stony Brook University, New York) whose principal aim is to determine the age of fossil and artefact bearing sediments in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa. A major objective of the research is to test the hypothesis that selecting mineral grains of specific geochemistry may allow us to extend the IR-RF age range and to evaluate the upper dating limit, accuracy and precision of the technique in order to achieve more reliable chronologies for early hominin evolution.

2. Your responsabilities:

The successful candidate will contribute to the commissioning, development and application of a new single photon imaging instrument based on a state-of-the-art electron multiplying charge coupled device (EMCCD) capable of capturing radio-fluorescence emissions at the level of single sand-sized mineral grains. This post offers an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated individual to make a significant impact in an emerging field of geo-chronological research.

3. Your qualifications:
Candidates must hold or be close to completion of a doctorate in a relevant field but given the nature of this research, the PDRA should have a strong background in luminescence physics and preferably be already familiar with IR-RF dating, spectroscopic analyses and/or low light luminescence imaging techniques.

4. Contact for further information:
Dr Jean-Luc Schwenninger (