Research Scientist - Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Physics (LASP)

Job description

Job location: Charlottesville, VA

Employment Type: Full-time
Posted data: 2021-05-04
Req: R0024067

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Virginia is seeking an outstanding candidate for a Research Scientist within the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Physics. This position will focus on laboratory experiments to provide fundamental quantitative measurements of thermal desorption, UV photodesorption, and ion sputtering cross sections for metal-volatile species ejected from minerals and meteoritic materials, under conditions relevant to the planet Mercury. In addition, the Research Scientist may also contribute to ongoing laboratory and computational research concerning the sputtering of planetary analogs and other materials under ion impact.

Primary responsibilities for the Research Scientist will include measurement of desorption cross sections for adsorbed and intrinsic metal-volatiles (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Al, Fe, Mn) in an ultra-high vacuum environment using: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), mass-spectrometry (MS), ion irradiation, laser/UV irradiation and/or temperature control. Other ion/electron/X-ray/UV-NIR spectroscopies, as well as computational simulations, may also be required to better understand or model the physical processes at work. In addition, the Research Scientist will co-mentor (with the PI) two undergraduate research projects each summer.

The candidate will utilize two specialized XPS instruments with incorporated high/low-temperature stage and adjacent ultrahigh-vacuum processing chambers to study physical and chemical effects of mineral surfaces irradiated by charged particles or energetic photons at varied temperatures. Experience and interest in planetary science, particularly concerning the interaction of solar wind ions (keV) with solid-state targets, combined with a background in ion beam optics, surface physics, vacuum hardware, experimental design, and analytical surface characterization by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) is optimal. Sufficient experiential knowledge to maintain ultra-high vacuum instruments and ion gun/linear accelerator optics independently is required. Familiarity with quartz-crystal microbalance systems, vapor deposition, laser alignment, and laboratory management skills preferred. Experience with ion-solid collisional software (SDTrimSP/SRIM), SIMION, MESSENGER or other NASA Mission instrument data analysis, and computational modeling a strong plus. The successful candidate will be expected to collect, analyze and interpret data, generate and modify computer analytic and instrumentation control code, participate in group or collaboration meetings, write papers and reports, give oral presentations, contribute to proposals and progress reports, and supervise undergraduate students.

Qualification requirements: Ph.D. in Physics, Engineering Physics, or a related field with at least three years post-doctoral experience is preferred. Skills in the following areas are essential: design, operation, and maintenance of ultrahigh vacuum systems and pumping equipment; experience with ion beam optics and accurate flux measurement; mass spectroscopic techniques and instrumentation; materials and/or surface characterization; ability to work carefully, critically, and independently; evidence of good written & oral English language skills.

Application procedure: Apply online at and attach a cover letter, detailed curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references. Please note that multiple documents can be uploaded in the CV box.

Application deadline: Review of applications will begin on June 4, 2021, but the position will remain open until filled. The University will perform background checks on all new hires prior to employment.

This is a one-year appointment; however, the appointment may be renewed for an additional year, contingent upon available funding and satisfactory performance.

For questions regarding this position, please contact Cathy Dukes, Research Scientist at

For questions about the application process, please contact please contact Richard Haverstom, Faculty Search Advisor, at

For more information on the benefits available to research scientists at UVA, visit

The University of Virginia, including the UVA Health System which represents the UVA Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, UVA Physician’s Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.




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Job No:
Posted: 5/6/2021
Application Due: 7/5/2021
Work Type: Full Time