Research Associate-Fixed Term

Job description

Position Summary

The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) invites applications from outstanding candidates for a fixed-term research associate (Postdoctoral Researcher) position in the area of experimental nuclear science or accelerator science, who will work in the Reaccelerator Department.

The NSCL is implementing a new electron-beam ion source (EBIS) for charge breeding of rare-isotope beams. It will use an electron-beam current of several Amperes, which will make it one of the highest-current EBIS charge breeders in operation worldwide. This is a challenging and unique project for candidates having a strong interest in ion-source development. The successful candidate will participate in the design, construction, assembly, and commissioning of the new EBIS. Part of the work will include ion-optical simulations for the design of new ion-beam optics for transfer beamlines as well as simulations to optimize electron-beam transport and the EBIS’s current density. As part of the commissioning, the candidate will investigate ion- and electron-beam properties to characterize the EBIS’s performance and determine charge-breeding efficiencies. A side aspect of the position will be to help in operation of an existing electron-beam ion trap charge breeder of rare-isotope beams and expand its capabilities.

NSCL is one of the world’s flagship nuclear science research facilities. The Laboratory’s research program is broad: fast, stopped, and reaccelerated beams of rare-isotopes are available to address key scientific questions concerning the creation of the elements in the cosmos, the limits of nuclear stability, the properties of nuclei with extreme neutron-to-proton ratios, and the equation of state of neutron-rich nuclear matter as it may exist inside neutron stars. Postdoctoral researchers play an important role in expanding, improving and utilizing the world-class experimental capabilities at the Laboratory. Experimentalists often work closely with theorists in the Laboratory and beyond and projects can involve high-performance computing.

NSCL is part of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beam (FRIB) Laboratory, which aspires to become the world’s leading laboratory for education and research in rare isotope science, in accelerator science, and in applications of rare isotopes to meet societal needs. To realize this vison, the FRIB Laboratory builds on the expertise and the achievements of NSCL as it establishes FRIB, which will extend the frontier of nuclear science through unprecedented discovery potential.

Research Associate positions are typically for two years, depending on the availability of funds. Renewal for the second year is based on a performance evaluation. A third year is possible, subject to funding and satisfactory performance evaluations.

Besides the excellent research environment, the FRIB Laboratory offers a strong program for mentoring postdoctoral researchers in preparation for the next steps in their careers. You can read more in the postdoc mentoring plan. Postdoctoral researchers play a role in running the Laboratory, from leading forefront research to serving on important committees. They help supervise students and, for those interested, there are opportunities to engage with teaching and outreach.

NSCL is funded by the National Science Foundation through the Nuclear Physics program of the NSF Physics Division to be a national user facility with a mission to provide beams of rare isotopes for researchers from around the world. Hundreds of users come to Michigan State University each year to take advantage of our facilities and explore the inner workings of atoms and their role in the universe.

The FRIB Laboratory is a major administrative unit within Michigan State University, comprised of NSCL and the FRIB Project. MSU is establishing FRIB as a scientific user facility with financial assistance from the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC).

MSU is one of the largest university campuses in the United States with a beautiful campus of 5,000 tree-filled acres. It has 17 degree-granting colleges and is a center for academic and research activities as well as the arts and athletics.

The campus sits between Lansing (Michigan’s capital city) and East Lansing. The Lansing area has a population of 460,000 and offers lovely suburban areas, loft condos and other urban living opportunities as well as easy-to-get-to rural areas. A symphony orchestra, excellent health care, many community and professional theatres, rivers, lakes, outdoor festivals, close access to large cities and Lake Michigan make for a near-perfect living environment.

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer and is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The University actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities. Job applicants are considered for employment opportunities and employees are treated without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veteran status. The University actively encourages applications of women, persons of color, veterans, and persons with disabilities.

Further information



Required Degree

Doctorate -Atomic, nuclear, accelerator physics/eng

Minimum Requirements
  • Ph.D. in atomic, nuclear, or accelerator physics/engineering, or in a related field
  • Experience in designing, constructing, and assembling components related to ion sources (or ion traps) or accelerator systems
  • Experience with the use of ion sources (or traps) or accelerator systems
  • Experience simulating charged-particle beam transport
  • Experience with ultra-high vacuum systems
  • Must be able to work with export controlled technology
  • Desired Qualifications
  • Experience with particle detectors
  • Operational experience with ion sources and/or accelerator systems at a large facility
  • Experience working with control systems and in developing user interfaces
  • Good communication skills to present approaches, plans, and findings both verbally and through written documents
  • Required Application Materials

    In the cover letter of their application, applicants must highlight their interest in and experience/expertise related to the open position. Applicants must provide a Curriculum Vitae including a complete list of publications and presentations. Applicants must also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be submitted.

    Special Instructions

    Review of applications will begin October 22, 2018 and the search will continue until the positions are filled. General questions regarding the position may be sent to the NSCL Laboratory Director, Brad Sherrill ([email protected]); specific research questions should be sent to Antonio Villari ([email protected]).

    Review of Applications Begins On


    MSU Statement

    Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.




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    Job No:
    Posted: 10/11/2018
    Application Due: 12/28/2018
    Work Type: