California, United States
13 Feb 2020
End of advertisement period
13 Apr 2020
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary

The Kavli Nanoscience Institute is seeking an electron, ion, and scanning probe microscopist with nanofabrication research and/or industry experience to help manage a suite of advanced microscopy instruments within its class 10,000/1,000/100 cleanroom facilities. This position will oversee the management of – and training responsibilities associated with – instrumentation used in lab research, primarily two transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), three scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), two focused ion beam (FIB) systems (one He/Ne/Ga-FIB and one SEM/Ga-FIB), an atomic force microscope (AFM), and associated analytical and sample preparation equipment. The candidate will be expected to engage in process development and verification related to the microscopes and, because of this, familiarity with the basics of nanofabrication processes and instrumentation – particularly related to lithography, etching, and deposition – is a plus. The successful candidate will develop educational resources and provide technical engineering support to researchers in the design and setup of experiments and interpretation of results. The ideal candidate can work independently and collaboratively with students, postdocs, staff, and faculty members to assess their needs and address the technical requirements for laboratory experiments.  

Job Duties

  • Primary area of responsibility will be managing the SEM, FIB, TEM and AFM suite of equipment (see microscope models and existing resources: https://lab.kni.caltech.edu/index.php/Equipment_List#Microscopy), including managing a lab technician, approximately 25% of whose time can be used to assist in the lab’s overall microscopy operation:
  • Serve as the primary point of contact with users of SEM, FIB, TEM, AFM and auxiliary equipment, providing training in imaging and analysis techniques, sample preparation, and overall user supervision.
  • Educate users on the proper use of equipment from a procedural standpoint, and on the underlying physics of the various techniques.
  • Perform scheduled maintenance and alignments, order and monitor use of supplies/consumables, and perform any necessary troubleshooting to ensure optimal functionality of instruments.
  • Review and implement best practices and standard operating procedures, which already exist for the lab’s microscopy equipment; modify and add to these resources, as needed.
  • Develop new educational resources and training materials (e.g. presentations, posters, instructional videos).
  • Develop and execute new skills and techniques in SEM, FIB, TEM and AFM, in order to add to the overall microscopy capabilities of the lab.
  • Help to assess needs for new microscopy equipment, and evaluate and install new hardware, when necessary,
  • Remain aware of the current state-of-the-art equipment and techniques in order to advance the KNI research community’s proficiency; this includes an ongoing review of relevant scientific literature, participation in professional societies, and attending conferences and training opportunities.
  • Work with vendors and service engineers, as needed.
  • Act as an advocate for lab members by helping to voice their concerns, needs, etc. to senior management.
  • Develop and execute innovative methodologies to improve facility management.
  • Take initiative to improve work processes that affect the functions of the facility; anticipate problems and work proactively to resolve them.
  • Ensure compliance with Institute policies, scientific protocols, regulatory agencies, and safety practices.
  • Nurture on- and off-campus contacts to drive awareness of the facility.
  • Assume additional responsibilities to promote the KNI’s mission as needed.

Participate in staff-led research initiatives: 

  • Contribute to short-term studies and projects that aim to produce process recipes that serve as experimental starting points for lab users.
  • Opportunity to contribute to longer-term studies aimed at publishing in journals, in conjunction with other KNI staff members, student researchers, and Caltech PIs; may include participating in writing research proposals where microscopy expertise is needed.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or related field.
  • Minimum of four years direct experience operating electron and ion microscopes in a research or production environment.
  • Proficient in common SEM and FIB techniques, e.g. secondary electron and backscattered electron imaging, EDS, electron beam lithography, direct ion beam etching, cutting and imaging cross-sections, TEM lamella sample preparation, microscope automation.
  • Experience in common TEM techniques, e.g. TEM and STEM imaging, bright field and dark field imaging, electron diffraction, EDS, HAADF, EFTEM, EELS.
  • Experience creating training documentation and educational resources.
  • Excellent time management, organization, and attention to detail. 
  • Highly proficient in listening and communicating with students, staff, faculty, and vendors.
  • Maintain a dedicated and flexible mindset, and a continued interest in developing new skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • M.S. in Engineering, Materials Science, Physics or related field.
  • Experience operating etching and/or deposition and/or lithography equipment.
  • Experience in AFM imaging and related techniques, e.g. tapping mode, contact mode, image analysis.
  • Instructional experience.
  • Lab management experience.

Required Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • List of Three Professional References