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Job Summary A Caltech Lab is seeking a Nanofabrication Process Engineer who will be responsible for developing novel fabrication processes and ensuring optimal fabrication operations in its cleanroom facilities on the Caltech campus. The Engineer will take a leadership role in optimizing the performance of state-of-the-art instrumentation, which includes material deposition systems (e.g. plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition, UHV sputtering), material etching systems (e.g. reactive-ion etchers, vapor HF), and other supporting equipment. The Engineer will collaborate with the lab's researchers to create and characterize new nanofabrication processes, and also run these processes to aid in the group's research efforts, thereby contributing to peer-reviewed research. When problems are detected in instrument performance, the successful applicant will be able to combine problem solving skills with experimental acumen to return process results to established benchmarks, and monitor quality control by creating a database and performing data analysis. The successful candidate will become an expert in instrument operation to the point of being able to (1) design new processes that meet the research needs of the lab, (2) explain and teach the underlying physical concepts to lab researchers, and (3) train lab researchers to also expertly operate the instrumentation and processes. Overall, the Engineer will be expected to contribute to the lab culture and capabilities, and strive to meet the high standards necessary to run a world-class research operation.
Job Duties - Listen to the needs of the PI and lab researchers, then design and qualify new nanofabrication processes that can be written up as process recipes and added to the lab's process recipe library, thereby expanding the lab's scientific capabilities. - Follow established protocols to set up and test instruments (i.e. perform qualifying runs on them) on a daily or weekly basis to ensure that they are operating at peak performance for the lab's researchers and the Engineer's own scientific work. - Operate instruments to perform fabrication (e.g. the sputter-deposition and reactive-ion-etching of superconducting and piezoelectric materials), in experimental agreement with the PI and the lab's researchers. - When necessary, make modifications to instruments in order to design new processes that meet the research group's needs. - Create a database that can be used to verify peak performance, via data analysis, and to indicate when maintenance and/or alignments of instrument components are necessary. - Use your knowledge to diagnose instrument problems to determine if they are being caused by mechanical/electrical/vacuum failure on the instrument, or by lab utilities; lead the effort in solving each type of problem; make modifications to instrumentation to improve it and overcome shortfalls, when needed. - Train lab researchers on the safe and successful operation of instruments, up to the standard of achieving peak performance. - Contribute to written proposals and research articles, when warranted; participate in the discussion of laboratory protocols and objectives with the PI. - In response to new technical challenges, research and reference - and then implement - established scientific/technical practices, standards, and/or policies. - Contribute to the planning, installation, and commissioning of new instrumentation in the laboratory, then set it up, test it, and establish operational protocols plans for it. - Assist in forecasting and planning for future instrumentation and resource needs by conducting product comparisons and thinking actively about new equipment that would benefit the lab. - Maintain awareness of laws and regulations affecting the operation of the laboratory; ensure compliance with Institute policies, scientific protocols, regulatory agencies, and safety practices.
Basic Qualifications - Bachelor's degree in engineering or sciences. - 3-5 years equivalent experience in process development, instrument operation, and/or the fabrication industry. - An ability to design and carry out experiments with scientific rigor. - An ability to operate instrumentation with a high level of patience and attention to detail. - An ability to innovate in the fabrication field by modifying equipment and/or known processes to achieve new capabilities. - An ability to learn quickly and adequately transfer that knowledge to other researchers through teaching/documentation. - Knowledge of mechanical design, materials, and basic data analysis practices. - Willingness to maintain highly organized data records. - A desire to meet - and set - high standards. - Must be able to work in a cleanroom setting, following all established protocols for gowning, PPE and safety. - Ability to work independently, with a high level of responsibility. - Strong communication skills towards the PI, vendors, and other lab researchers. - Teamwork skills and an ability to collaborate with coworkers having diverse skills and backgrounds. - Must be able to be on-site during peak lab hours (9am-5pm, Monday through Friday). - Proficiency with Microsoft Office. - Other duties as assigned.
Preferred Qualifications - Master's degree or higher in engineering or sciences, or 10+ years equivalent experience in process development, equipment operation and/or the fabrication industry. - Experience in computer programming language(s) and data analysis tools. - A record of publishing in scientific journals. - Familiarity with six sigma practices.
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a world-renowned science and engineering research and education institution, where extraordinary faculty and students seek answers to complex questions, discover new knowledge, lead innovation, and transform our future.