Job Listings

Research Scientist - Materials Research Laboratory (149262)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Job Location:
Urbana, Illinois
Other Engineering Faculty

Research Scientist

Materials Research Laboratory

The Grainger College of Engineering

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is seeking to hire 2 highly motivated Research Scientists to work in its cleanroom and nanofabrication shared instrumentation core facilities. The Research Scientists will serve as members of the MRL Central Research Facilities staff with a focus on device fabrication and processing, thin film deposition and vacuum technology, etching, optical and electron beam lithography under cleanroom environment, and will engage in training, support, and collaboration with various local and regional users on active research projects.

The successful candidates will become members of the dedicated staff of approximately 20 scientists and engineers, who maintain major research instruments in the MRL's core facilities for nanofabrication facilities including two cleanrooms in addition to characterization facilities for electron microscopy, soft materials characterization, scanning probe microscopy, laser and optical spectroscopy, surface analysis, and x-ray scattering. Approximately 1,000 researchers from across our campus as well as other academic institutions, industry, and national laboratories use the facilities, logging more than 80,000 user hours annually. The lab is recognized as one of the premier mid-sized user facilities in the nation. For details, please visit us online at

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status. For more information, visit

Responsibilities include:

  • Prepare and deliver primary and advanced training on the various techniques and instrumentation available in the nanofabrication/cleanroom facility, particularly device processing, thin-film deposition (including sputtering, electron beam deposition, thermal and atomic layer deposition), furnace annealing, cleanroom processes including etching, lithography and electron-beam lithography.
  • Actively participate in research developing recipes and procedures for the techniques listed above. When appropriate, participate in research from various research groups actively using the shared facilities.
  • Formulate, compile, and distribute suitable suggestions for documentation improvements for collective staff scientist review. Incorporate approved modifications into training documents and procedures. This includes the creation of video and multimedia tutorials.
  • Perform routine preventative maintenance tasks which vary daily, monthly, and annually for assigned laboratory instrumentation in the nanofabrication/cleanroom core. Examples include daily checks to ensure instruments are running correctly; monthly proactive checks to ensure fabrication recipes maintain the correct parameters; annual maintenance service on vacuum pumps and supporting mechanical equipment.
  • Identify hazards and/or potential failure modes by comparing equipment usage and performance to establish safety protocols while conducting user training or performing maintenance. If the equipment is not operating within tolerances or any engineering safety controls are malfunctioning, determine corrective actions to hardware, operating procedures, or user training in conjunction with the assigned staff scientist and implement the changes.
  • Review laboratory safety and implement appropriate procedures for the instrumentation under their responsibility including cleanroom, chemical etching, and vacuum technology-related safety protocols.
  • Cross-train in other facility techniques in order to act as backup for other staff members and increase knowledge and experience.
  • Give oral presentations to large audiences, including recording training material for media outlets, and online, live video streaming.
  • Perform facility-wide safety tasks as assigned.
  • Conduct department or campus specified lab inspections for assigned operating areas and participate in reviews of non-assigned areas as requested.
  • Assume additional responsibilities to promote the unit's mission as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Ph.D. degree in engineering, physics, or related field with 3 years of related work experience.
  • Broad knowledge in at least one of these areas: device fabrication, thin film deposition, cleanroom, annealing, etching, and lithography processes.
  • Three years of demonstrated experience overseeing the day-to-day safety and operation of a set of fabrication and deposition tools.
  • Three years of demonstrated instructional/training experience delivering technical information in facility or instrumentation laboratories.
  • Demonstrated experience with laboratory safety protocols and requirements applied to vacuum deposition tools, device processing, and cleanroom environment.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and demonstrated ability to give presentations to large audiences.
  • Excellent track record as a team player.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience with the following:
    • vacuum equipment for thin film deposition such as electron beam evaporator, sputtering, thermal and atomic layer deposition, including operation, maintenance, repair of systems
    • wet and dry etching processes, including reactive ion etching
    • cleanroom micro/nanofabrication, including safety protocols and instrumentation repair and maintenance
    • electron-beam lithography
    • mask aligners, maskless writers, and photonic 3D lithography printers
    • device cleaning and packaging including furnace annealing, wire/edge bonding
    • device characterization including probe stations
    • creating/developing instructional, instrument operation, and training materials in device fabrication/processing and thin-film growth
    • mentoring and/or teaching new facility users
  • Demonstrated interest in working closely with students and contributing to research projects/proposals.

These are full-time, benefits-eligible academic professional positions appointed on a 12-month service basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. 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 as a single PDF file by September 30, 2021. Interviews and hires may take place prior to the closing date and early applications are encouraged; however, full consideration will be given to complete applications received by the closing date. For further information regarding application procedures, contact Summer Redman at or 217-300-5400.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment .

As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility . The University of Illinois must also comply with applicable federal export control laws and regulations and, as such, reserves the right to employ restricted party screening procedures for applicants.

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