Postdoctoral Research Associate, Quantitative Electron Microscopy

Gaithersburg, US
$65k to $100k annually + benefits depending upon experience
May 08, 2024
Posting live until
Jun 07, 2024

Job Description

The CHIPS Metrology Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is searching for a postdoctoral researcher motivated to improve the accuracy of measuring nanoscale features by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). This is your opportunity to work on a project to develop fundamental physics with practical applications to nanotechnology, ranging from transistors to nanoparticles! At NIST, you will gain experience and skills in measurement science that are highly valuable for a career in academia, industry, or a national laboratory. Accurate measurements by SEM require calibration of microscope characteristics and modeling of the physics of signal production in the sample. Our team has an SEM simulator that we use for signal interpretation. We have a theoretical project aimed at model improvement and an experimental one to measure electron yields for model validation. 

This is a full-time, 3-year term position. The successful candidate will join the existing team in a project to implement a second model validation approach. Line-space arrays patterned in NIST’s NanoFab will be measured with multiple techniques, including secondary electron SEM and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) at 30 keV in the same well-characterized instrument. (Electron-Solid Interactions | NIST). Sample topography will be deduced from the measurements with the help of an existing SEM simulator. Disagreements among techniques will guide model improvements by the theory project. NIST’s CHIPS R&D Office is funding the project until 30 September 2027. 

Job duties include:

  • SEM data acquisition
  • SEM instrument characterization (beam sharpness, detectors, electric and magnetic fields…)
  • Data analysis, including running the provided simulator and curve fitting
  • Participation in sample design (with opportunity for NanoFab experience under guidance)

Experience of particular interest (in decreasing order of importance) includes:

  • Physics of scanning electron microscopy: instrumentation, data acquisition, and data interpretation
  • Use of software tools, e.g., Python, Java, Mathematica, or MATLAB, to run simulations, visualize and compare data, and perform mathematical data analysis involving interpolation, curve fitting, convolution, deconvolution, etc.
  • Lithography techniques for integrated electronics fabrication


  • Doctorate in Physics, Applied Physics, Electron Microscopy, Electrical Engineering, or a related field
  • Demonstrated ability to carry out independent and collaborative research that exhibits skills relevant to this project

To apply, send your Curriculum Vitae and statement of interest to Dr. John Villarrubia,

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a US federal government laboratory tasked to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. The NIST Laboratories conduct world-class research, often in close collaboration with industry, that advances the nation's technology infrastructure and helps U.S. companies continually improve products and services. The agency operates in two locations: Gaithersburg, Md., (headquarters—234-hectare/578-acre campus) and Boulder, Colo., (84-hectare/208-acre campus). NIST employs about 3,400 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support and administrative personnel. NIST also hosts about 3,800 associates from academia, industry, and other government agencies, who collaborate with NIST staff and access user facilities. In addition, NIST partners more than 1,300 manufacturing specialists and staff at more than 400 MEP service locations around the country. NIST is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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