Facilities and Vacuum Equipment Technician

California, United States
01 Jul 2019
End of advertisement period
01 Sep 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. We thrive on finding and cultivating talented people who are passionate about what they do. Join us and be a part of the diverse Caltech community.

Job Summary

LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled Facilities and Vacuum Equipment Technician to join its team. LIGO is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The current generation of advanced interferometers came on line in 2015 and shortly after LIGO launched the field of gravitational wave astronomy with the first observation of the birth of a black hole; this achievement led to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded to LIGO founders. LIGO consists of two widely separated (3,002 km), 4 kilometer-long interferometers operating as a single, phased detector. LIGO Hanford Observatory is located north of Richland, Washington and LIGO Livingston Observatory is in Livingston, Louisiana. Concurrent to observatory operations, the Laboratory maintains a vigorous R&D program, primarily centered at the Caltech and MIT campuses, to further enhance the capabilities of the LIGO detectors. For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/.

The successful candidate will be matrixed across both Facilities and Vacuum Groups at LIGO Hanford Observatory and will contribute to both Operations and Maintenance and Detector Upgrades. The successful candidate will report to the Facilities Team Lead and be responsible for day-to-day maintenance and repair, facility expansions, and equipment upgrades across the entire site. This position requires an understanding of and compliance with cleanroom protocols and laser safety procedures, as well as prior experience working on ultra-high vacuum systems. The successful candidate will primarily offer support to engineers and scientists working at the LIGO Hanford site and is required to use a variety of tools and techniques to execute assignments independently, employing good judgment as required to properly maintain LIGO equipment, buildings, and site to ensure that they are in safe working order.

Job Duties

  • Assemble and repair ultra-high vacuum equipment and components
  • Troubleshoot, repair, and maintain building HVAC equipment
  • Execute failure analysis, root cause, and corrective action processes for vacuum support systems and facilities
  • Rig and crane critical loads under safe working conditions
  • Relocate, retrofit, repair, and maintain Class 100 cleanrooms
  • Operate, repair, and maintain construction and rigging equipment including aerial and scissor lifts, fork trucks, pallet jacks, overhead bridge crane, and large mulching and front loader tractors
  • Coordinate procurement of supplies, parts, and materials required for vacuum and facilities operations and maintain stock mechanical supplies
  • Design, fabricate and assemble tooling and fixtures for laboratory instrumentation
  • Build and install precision mechanical assemblies and science apparatuses inside  cleanrooms and vacuum chambers during vent cycles
  • Assist with vacuum chamber door removal/installations, involving precise rigging
  • Design and build custom crates for shipping sensitive laboratory equipment and instrumentation
  • Operate and maintain manual milling machines, lathes, drill presses, bandsaws and cold saws
  • Perform routine support functions including, but not limited to, plumbing and carpentry work using appropriate tools and techniques
  • Add input and value to development of test procedures and evaluation methodologies and propose new methods to improve processes

Basic Qualifications

  • The candidate must have a minimum of High School Diploma
  • Must have at least 7 years of related work experience
  • Must be able to interpret mechanical and electrical drawings along with technical specifications and assembly instructions
  • Must have excellent organizational skills, a high level of initiative, and the ability to work in a collaborative environment and maintain a professional demeanor
  • Must have the ability to interact daily with functional peer group and supervisors
  • Must apply basic knowledge of policies and practices to assignments and follow standard building practices and construction techniques
  • Must have good written and verbal communication skills and be able ability to communicate with people who have a broad range of backgrounds and skills
  • Must have an aptitude and enthusiasm to learn new skills
  • Must be safety oriented and have a safety-conscious attitude and safe work habits
  • Must have a valid driver’s license at the time of employment and ability to maintain it throughout the course of employment
  • Must be able to travel occasionally to other LIGO sites and collaborating institutions
  • Must have the ability to work a varied schedule during observing runs; this may include responding to site equipment-related emergencies during evenings, overnights, weekends, and holidays
  • Must be able to lift 20 or more pounds

Preferred Qualifications

  • Welding experience
  • Plumbing and carpentry experience
  • Experience in planning and scheduling work tasks
  • Knowledge of ultra-high vacuum processes and protocols
  • Knowledge of clean room protocols
  • Basic computer skills needed to complete electronic time cards, reports, and emails
  • Experience in an academic or laboratory setting
  • Experience working in a scientific team environment

Required Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter