NCFL Instrumentation Laboratory Managers will have primary responsibility for overseeing select instrument laboratories at the NCFL in coordination with the NCFL director. Instrument laboratories for which Instrument Research Associates are being sought include 1) Scanning Transmission and Transmission Electron Microscopy (S/TEM) and 2) focused ion beam (FIB)/scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Individuals in these positions must possess relevant skills in the operation and basic maintenance of S/TEM, FIB/SEM, and/or SEM instruments and related tools for sample preparation and analysis, user training, and education/outreach in coordination with a diverse team. Given the high-degree of coordination required in a fast-paced environment, the individual will be well-organized, will always ensure safe working practices, will communicate effectively with others, as well as provide counsel to users on best practices to achieve high quality results. Depending on the education and experience of the successful candidate, an offer of appointment may be made at either the rank of Research Associate, Senior Research Associate, or Research Scientist. Individuals with a PhD hired at the rank of Research Scientist are encouraged to conceptualize and advance a research agenda aligned with NCFL and Virginia Tech strategic priorities. Research Scientists may operate as a PI/Co-PI on external grant applications and produce scholarly works suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals or presentation at national/international meetings. NCFL instrumentation managers may, from time to time, be required to process samples for ITAR-controlled projects.
1) User Support: Operate NCFL instruments and related tools in one or more of the following laboratories: 1) S/TEM Lab and/or 2) FIB/SEM Lab. 1) For the S/TEM Lab, the individual will operate S/TEM instruments and related tools for both internal and external user projects using appropriate imaging and/or spectrometry techniques (bright field/dark field imaging, electron diffraction, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and high resolution S/TEM imaging). Operation will include supporting/instructing lab exercise sessions for undergraduate, graduate, or equivalent courses. Operate dual-beam FIB for TEM sample prep as backup for FIB/SEM instrument manager. 2) For the FIB/SEM Lab, the individual will operate SEM, FIB, and related tools for both internal and external user projects using appropriate imaging and/or spectrometry techniques (Secondary Electron (SE) and Back-Scattered Electron (BSE) imaging, electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and high-resolution imaging). Operation will include performing lift-out specimen preparation for TEM analysis and will further include supporting/instructing lab exercise sessions for undergraduate, graduate, or equivalent courses. The individual may also operate other SEM and TEM instrumentation as backup for other NCFL Instrument Research Scientists.
2) User Training: Provide basic instrument operation training to users in one or more of the following laboratories: 1) S/TEM Lab and/or 2) FIB/SEM Lab. 1) For the S/TEM Lab, provide basic S/TEM instrument operation training to users including basic alignment, basic imaging (bright field/dark field imaging), electron diffraction, high resolution imaging, and S/TEM-EDX chemical analysis; support S/TEM data analysis for users, which includes, but is not limited to, training users on basic data analysis software and providing guidance in the preparation of technical reports. 2) For the FIB/SEM Lab, provide basic SEM and FIB instrument operation training to users including basic alignment, basic SE/BSE imaging, EBSD analysis, high-resolution imaging, and EDX analysis; support for SEM, FIB, and EBSD users, which includes, but is not limited to, training users on basic data analysis software and providing guidance in the preparation of technical reports.
3) NCFL Operations Support: Perform day-to-day maintenance and calibration of instruments and related tools located in one or more of the following laboratories: 1) S/TEM Lab and/or 2) FIB/SEM Lab. 1) For the S/TEM Lab, perform day-to-day maintenance and calibration of S/TEM sample preparation equipment and rooms; be responsible for daily S/TEM alignment, calibration, and troubleshooting. 2) For the FIB/SEM Lab, perform day-to-day maintenance and calibration of SEM/FIB/EBSD sample preparation equipment and rooms; be responsible for daily FIB/SEM alignments, calibration, and troubleshooting. All NCFL Instrument Research Scientists will collaborate as a positive team member with other NCFL staff to implement day-to-day maintenance of the facility’s instruments, peripheral tools, and data back-ups, as well as run NCFL-related instrument sessions, outreach, and educational activities, including conducting tours of the facility for visitors; serve as a liaison with service engineers; assist NCFL director in developing and implementing sustainable instrument maintenance and upgrade strategy; be responsive to urgent/emergency calls from users and ICTAS staff. Given the nature of this position, it requires occasional work after 5PM on weekdays and on weekends; occasional travel may be required.
4) Laboratory Support: Provide efficient and professional laboratory assistance in a fast-paced environment; effectively manage and prioritize competing demands; keep shared laboratory facilities operating at a high degree of organization, cleanliness, and safety.
5) Communication: Communicate and work effectively with users and other NCFL stakeholders with a variety of technical and cultural backgrounds; establish and enforce instrument usage procedures; maintain strong technical record keeping skills related, for example, to instrument operation, experimental procedures, and user interactions.
6) Research: Individuals possessing a PhD and hired at the rank of Research Scientist may conduct research with or without supervision using standard and non-standard procedures appropriate to the field of nanoscale characterization and fabrication. The individual will recognize problems and inconsistencies in data, propose solutions, and offer scholarly interpretations of experimental outcomes. The individual will lead in the preparation of reports and peer-reviewed publications describing research results and their implications. NCFL Instrumentation Research Managers who conduct research will be expected to seek external grant support and serve as either PI or Co-PI in pursuit of their scholarly research interests either independently or in collaboration with a team.