Careers at Virginia Tech

TEM Specialist

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Work type: Research Faculty
Senior management: Vice President for Research
Department: ICTAS
Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Categories: Research / Scientific

Job Description

The position involves: (a) operation of TEM and SEM instruments, (b) support of TEM and SEM data analysis, (c) sample preparation and management, (d) participation in education and outreach activities, and (e) implementation of directed pilot projects, for mainly external users of the Virginia Tech National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure (NanoEarth) under the direct supervision of the NanoEarth Director. NanoEarth is housed in Virginia Tech’s Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory (NCFL). The main requirement of this position is electron microscopy operation, but practical research/service experience in powder X-ray diffractometry is helpful.

Day-to-day activities related to TEM operation may include: 1) interacting with internal and external users to understand the objectives of their work, scheduling suitable sample preparation and training, and coordinating necessary instrument/staff time; 2) managing day-to-day maintenance support of instruments, calibrating the instruments and keeping them in good functioning condition, arranging the purchase of consumable supplies, and being first responder for hardware problems; and 3) maintenance and supervision of related shared data analysis computers including, but not limited to, operating system updates, anti-virus updates, file maintenance.

About NanoEarth:
NanoEarth is the leading destination for earth and environmental nanoscience discovery. We serve the scientists and engineers solving our greatest environmental challenges.
NanoEarth supports researchers across academia, government, and industry to enable critical discoveries at the nanoscale. We provide the advanced tools and expertise to guide nanotechnology research and propel environmental solutions.

The National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure is a node of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), an NSF-funded network of 16 centers spread throughout the United States serving as user facilities for cutting edge nanoscience research. NanoEarth is part of Virginia Tech's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS), and proudly headquartered in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Specific job functions include:
(1) Operate TEM and SEM for NanoEarth projects using appropriate imaging and/or spectroscopy techniques. For TEM, fundamental crystallography and basic alignment skills are essential.
(2) Support TEM data analysis for NanoEarth users. This includes, but is not limited to, user training on basic data analysis software usage, and helping prepare technical reports. Note that the majority of users have very limited electron microscopy knowledge and resources.
(3) Collaborate with NanoEarth and NCFL staff for education and outreach activities, including conducting tours of the facility for NanoEarth users and related visitors and organizing and supporting laboratory demonstration sessions for a wide range of visitors from precollege age to undergraduate and graduate student visitors.
(4) Collaborate with NCFL staff instrument specialists to manage NanoEarth related sessions and support day-to-day maintenance and troubleshooting of the facility’s electron microscopes; working with service engineers may be required.
(5) Conduct NanoEarth related pilot projects under the supervision of the NanoEarth Director and the Executive Committee.
Due to the nature of an NSF-funded national center, the position requires occasional work during weekdays after 5pm and weekend. Occasional travel may also be required.

Required Qualifications

- Advanced degree in a related field, or bachelor's degree with significant relevant professional experience.
- Scientists/engineers experienced in Earth science, particularly geology, mineralogy/petrology, and environmental science.
- Experience with all stages of TEM operation including sample preparation; basic electron microscopy with crystalline and non- or poorly crystalline samples, including basic crystal structure analysis by TEM selected area and nano-beam electron diffraction techniques, conventional (bright/dark field) imaging and basic EDS analysis; and data analysis via TEM applications software.
- Ability to establish and enforce prescribed instrument procedures.
- Effective communication and record keeping skills. Working effectively with faculty, staff, and students from precollege to graduate school with a variety of technical and cultural backgrounds.

Preferred Qualifications

- Experience with JEOL and/or FEI TEM / SEM operation
- Experience with SEM general sample preparation.
- Working knowledge of applications software for SEM and electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD).

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Commensurate with experience

Review Date

January 9, 2023

Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact (Lisa Stables) at ( during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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