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Scientist / Research Engineer (Open Rank)

Company: National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Location: Charlottesville
Posted on: May 15, 2020

Job Description:

Position Description: Position SummaryThe Central Development Laboratory (CDL) at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory seeks a Research Engineer with expertise in novel millimeter-wave detectors, low temperature sensors, superconductors, and millimeter/submillimeter wavelength electronics for astrophysical observations. The position is at the CDL campus in Charlottesville, VA, and reports to the Director of the CDL. The selectee will be a member of the NRAO Scientific Staff and will lead the observatory's effort in developing the next-generation of millimeter wave/sub-millimeter wave detectors, to include leading our on-going work on Traveling-Wave Kinetic Inductance Parametric (TKIP) amplifiers. The selectee will also be a member of CDL's millimeter/sub-millimeter receiver group currently working on a program of Superconductor-Insulator-Superconductor (SIS) junction-based designs in the development of low-noise millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelength instrumentation for use on the ALMA telescope and on other instruments around the world. TKIP technology is a high-priority component of CDL's strategic plan. As the lead engineer working on the development of TKIP amplifiers, the selectee will work on a collaborative program of development in close coordination with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Virginia, and other institutions. In collaboration with UVa, CDL maintains a milli-Kelvin test lab. CDL has a close collaboration with the superconducting circuits foundry in the University of Virginia's Microfabrication Laboratory (UVML), which has been instrumental in much of NRAO's mm/sub-mm receiver development and in production of superconducting circuits for ALMA, and the selectee will be responsible for extending this collaboration into the TKIP realm. This will include providing technical leadership, determining the direction and technical priorities of the TKIP program, and working closely with UVML in its support of the program. The ideal candidate will contribute to the overall NRAO mission and will be able to demonstrate the ability to work within a collaborative environment that promotes motivation, leadership and team building, in both scientific and functional areas. NRAO staff scientists are expected to be versatile and flexible in their science and functional work to adapt to new challenges and opportunities as NRAO and the astronomical landscape evolve. Job Duties SummaryThe position entails both independent research and functional responsibilities. As an NRAO staff scientist, the selectee will be expected to carry out an independent research program using 25% of his or her time. The research program may be wide-ranging across engineering disciplines, as long as it has synergies with NRAO facilities and mission, particularly ALMA. Applicants should discuss their versatility and ideas for advancing the state-of-the-art in high frequency radio astronomy instrumentation in their cover letter. NRAO staff scientists are expected to support the Observatory and the community through functional duties. For this position, such functional responsibilities might include, but are not limited to:Lead CDL's effort in developing TKIP devices suitable for use on NRAO instruments. Assist in the design and development of low-noise millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelength instrumentation for astrophysical observations. Assist in the development of the next generation millimeter and submillimeter low-noise receiver technology that may be deployed on ALMA and on future instruments.and other duties, as dictated by the needs of the observatory and the skills and interests of the successful applicant. This position is based at the Central Development Lab (CDL) of the NRAO located in Charlottesville, VA. The CDL has a long history of developing new technology to enable forefront research in radio astronomy. Current research and development programs include cryogenic, low-noise front-ends, wideband electromagnetic components such as antenna feeds and polarizers operating from below 1 GHz to nearly 1 THz, phased-array feeds, highly integrated receiver architectures that employ early signal digitization and novel encoding, wideband and scalable digital signal processing architectures, and photonic signal generation, time reference distribution, and data transmission.In addition to competitive pay, the NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. Our retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant's base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions. Position Requirements: Minimum EducationA Ph.D. in Physics, Applied Physics, Electrical Engineering, Astronomy, or a closely related field. Candidates with a Master's of Science degree in physics, applied physics, electrical engineering, astronomy, or a closely related field will be considered if they have demonstrated an equivalent level of accomplishment to a PhD. Minimum ExperienceMust have demonstrated extensive experience in the field of millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelength electronics with at least one year of post-graduate/industry experience in designing and building cryogenic millimeter-wave instrumentation. Preferred ExperienceA record of technical achievement in novel microwave or millimeter/submillimeter-wave instrumentation, TKIPs, MKIDs, SIS junctions, antennas, radio interferometry and arrays, and/or photonics with at least five years professional experience. Extensive experience in the following fields: low-noise mm/sub-mm wavelength receivers and related technologies; superconducting millimeter-wave electronics; microwave circuit design using modern commercially available software (e.g., CST Microwave Studio, QuickWave, Sonnet EM, Microwave Office, ADS); and cryogenic (4-K) systems. An understanding of the science of radio astronomy is desirable. QualificationsThe successful candidate must also possess leadership skills, excellent analytical and organizational skills. In addition, the candidate should have excellent documentation and communication skills in English, including technical writing and public speaking and the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively to other scientists and engineers with different technical backgrounds. Application Instructions: Special Instructions to Applicants: For consideration, select the "Apply" button below. Please prepare a single PDF document consisting of the following items:Cover letter stating why you are interested in this position - the letter should describe how your education and experience match the requirements and qualifications described above (maximum 2 pages).Curriculum vitaeList of refereed publicationsSummary of past technical and observational experience relevant to the position (maximum 2 pages).Description of research accomplishments and future research plans (maximum 4 pages). Each applicant should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be submitted by individuals familiar with their technical and scientific abilities. Letters should be submitted directly to Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of recommendation are sent by the referees. The initial deadline for receipt of complete applications is September 30, 2019, however, applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled. Please direct all inquiries to Dr. Bert Hawkins at Equal Opportunity Employer Statement: AUI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. To view our complete statement, please visit If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.PI120011334

Keywords: National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville , Scientist / Research Engineer (Open Rank), Engineering , Charlottesville, Virginia

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