Research Scientist - Materials Research Laboratory (A1700608)

Champaign, IL
Sep 28, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory
Research Scientist

The Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is seeking a Research Scientist for its Scanning Probe Microscopy instrumentation core. The Research Scientist will serve as a member of the MRL Central Research Facilities staff focused on enabling advanced research by training and advising users in nanoindentation and micro/nanomechanical properties of materials, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and microanalytical techniques that combine atomic force microscopy and laser spectroscopy. Engaging in collaboration with various local and regional users on active research projects is supported and highly encouraged.

The MRL Central Research Facilities contain more than 100 major research instruments maintained by a dedicated staff of about 20 scientists and engineers, consisting of six major instrumentation cores: scanning probe microscopy, laser and optical spectroscopy, electron microscopy, surface analysis, x-ray diffraction, and nanofabrication facilities including two cleanrooms. About 1,000 researchers from across our campus as well as other academic institutions, industry, and national laboratories use the facilities, logging nearly 100,000 user hours annually. Recognized as one of the premier mid-sized user facilities in the nation, visit us online to learn more:

Responsibilities include:
  • Serve as the primary technical point of contact to the research community for a designated set of scientific instrumentation within the scanning probe microscopy (SPM) core.
  • Remain abreast of current state-of-the-art in the SPM field in order to advance the local research community's proficiency in the techniques via ongoing review of relevant scientific literature; participation in professional societies and conference/workshop/training opportunities; collaboration with local and regional users on active research projects. Advise Facilities and unit leadership on emerging SPM instrumentation needs.
  • Instruct graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral research associates in the correct use of SPM techniques via lecture and direct hands-on training. Teach users both the procedural steps of using precision instrumentation as well as the underlying science of the selected analytical techniques including nanoindentation, scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and other specialized AFM techniques (including magnetic force microscopy, liquid-cell usage, current-sensing, etc), in addition to emerging techniques combining laser spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy such as AFM/IR, etc. Update established training materials as needed based on developments in the field, maintenance or service alerts, user feedback, etc. Create new training materials as needed when new techniques arise or new instrumentation is acquired.
  • Assure assigned instrumentation is kept in optimum working condition by actively monitoring its usage and measurement output performance against established protocols. Develop standard schedules for routine maintenance based upon instrument manufacturer documentation and Facilities best practices. Perform routine maintenance in conjunction with Research Engineer personnel. Troubleshoot the root cause of any identified suboptimal performance and make minor repairs as needed. Coordinate instrument updates and/or major repairs with manufacturers/vendors, Senior Research Scientist personnel, and Facilities leadership as appropriate.
  • Perform Facilities-wide safety tasks as assigned. Includes conducting department or campus specified lab inspections for assigned operating areas, and participation in reviews of non-assigned areas.
  • Perform Facilities-wide user management tasks as assigned. Includes contributing materials and conducting training lectures as part of generalized service facility user orientation sessions.
  • Assume additional responsibilities to promote the unit's mission as needed.

This position requires a Ph.D. in engineering or the physical sciences. At least three years relevant experience working in an academic, governmental, or industrial research setting using scanning probe microscopy techniques is required. At least five years relevant experience working with Atomic Force Microscopy and/or Scanning Tunneling Microscopy is preferred. Specific experience with Nanoindentation and other specialized AFM techniques (magnetic force microscopy, liquid-cell, current sensing, etc.) is also preferred.

This position is a full-time, academic professional position with standard university benefits appointed on a 12-month service basis. The proposed starting date is as soon as possible after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by November 8, 2017. To apply, please complete a candidate profile at and upload the following as a single file: a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references. All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date. The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

For questions, please send email to the search committee with subject line "SPM Search" at

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit To learn more about the University's commitment to diversity, please visit

College Name or Administrative Unit: Engineering
Category: Academic Professional
Title: Research Scientist - Materials Research Laboratory (A1700608)
Open Date: 09/27/2017
Close Date: 11/08/2017
Organization Name: Materials Research Lab