Target Fabricators Donna Wyatt and Ian East have won an IOP Technician Award!
07 Jan 2020



​We are delighted to announce that two of CLF's Micro Target Fabrication technicians, Ian East and Donna Wyatt, have won this year's IOP Technician award in the team category for their work creating targets which are feats of incredible micro-engineering.





The targets are made up of multiple components, typically smaller than a human hair, and assembled with precise alignment. Their work is immensely skilled and is essential for scientists working in the high power laser community.


donna and kyle 4.pngDonna is one of the most experienced micro target fabricators in the world. She has recently assembled, by hand, 16-component micro targets to a sub 10 micron level of accuracy, and employed a range of micro engineering techniques such as laser machining and photo etching. The targets were used on CLF's high power Vulcan laser for an experiment investigating magnetic fields.

Donna said about receiving the award, “After more than 21 years as a target fabricator, I am thrilled to receive this award. I love the challenge of producing bespoke micro structures that have never been produced before and ultimately doing a job that only a handful of people in the world do, in a globally renowned research facility is incredibly rewarding."


49099578952_3277b2e748_c.jpgIan constructs three-dimensional microstructures used in experiments with the CLF's Vulcan and Gemini lasers. Using a variety of handheld tools he fabricates hundreds of targets for each experiment modifying them according to the requirements as the experiment progresses. He has recently been working on 250 coil targets for a long-running series of experiments looking at how cancer cells respond to protons accelerated by a laser.

“I'm delighted to be given this award; I never thought joining RAL as a trainee at 18 that I'd receive an award from the Institute of Physics," Ian remarked. “I love the varied nature of my job and the challenges that it brings every day. My role has changed a lot in my 15 years at STFC and this award is a very nice and unexpected pat on the back for my work here."​

John Collier, Director of the CLF, added: “Target Fabrication is an intrinsic part of high power laser experiments. Without people like Donna and Ian, who create complex and bespoke targets that vary experiment to experiment, we could not conduct the wide range of physical science ​investigations that we achieve today with lasers. I would like offer huge congratulations to Donna and Ian for a very well deserved teamwork award."​

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IOP President, Jonathan Flint CBE, said: “The IOP is extremely proud to be offering these awards. Technicians are science professionals in their own right, and it is time they received the status, acknowledgement and reward they deserve. We want these new IOP awards to help highlight the crucial role of technicians in education, research and industry, and raise understanding of their professional status.

“This is the first time that the IOP has awarded technicians to recognise the outstanding contribution they make to the physics community. Technicians help create and deliver the experiments that thrill school students and support the technical teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates. Without them, physics-based industries could not function and we could not expand our understanding of the natural world."

Also a winner of the prize was Emma Meehan, who was recognised in the business/facility category for her work supporting the multidisciplinary science programme in Boulby Mine, the UK's only deep underground science facility.

STFC Executive Director, National Labs, Dr Neil Geddes congratulated all three STFC staff: “The work that Emma, Donna and Ian do on behalf of STFC is key to the success of the complex experiments undertaken in our Central Laser Facility and in the Boulby Underground Laboratory. It is wonderful to see the physical sciences community recognising their important contribution. These awards confirm what we already knew: that our technicians are great!" 

All the winners received a prize of £1,000, a trophy and a certificate from IOP President Jonathan Flint CBE and IOP CEO Professor Paul Hardaker at the IOP annual awards dinner on the 19th of November.

Ian East said about the event, “It was a lovely evening, superbly hosted by the hotel and professionally run by the IOP. Was a great experience and proud moment to get the award and be able to celebrate it there with family as well as STFC colleagues."

Ceremony Photo Credit:​​

Contact: Towrie, Helen (STFC,RAL,CLF)