Job position at Caltech, Pasadena, CA. Deadline is on

QPG Laboratory Engineer

Engineering, Applied Science

Job summary
The Quantum Photonics Group (led by Principal Investigator (PI) Oskar Painter) is seeking a Laboratory Engineer to assist in the day-to-day technical operations of its cleanroom facilities on the Caltech campus. The QPG Laboratory Engineer will take an important role in maintaining peak performance of state-of-the-art nanofabrication equipment, which includes material deposition systems (e.g. plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition, physical vapor deposition), material etching systems (e.g. reactive ion etchers, vapor HF), a scanning electron microscope, fume hoods for wet chemistry, and other supporting tools; responsibilities for equipment will be shared with other technicians and a process engineer, with whom the QPG Laboratory Engineer will work closely. The QPG Laboratory Engineer will be expected to take ownership of equipment by both learning how to operate it at peak performance and by administering the types of maintenance and alignments that keep it dialed in to peak performance for use by the lab’s quantum device researchers. When repairs are needed, the successful candidate will be able to combine problem solving skills with mechanical, electrical, and vacuum system know-how to return equipment to optimal working order, then document the solutions to make future repairs. The QPG Laboratory Engineer will carry out test protocols and preventative maintenance plans that minimize the chance of equipment failure, thereby maximizing its uptime for the lab’s researchers. The successful candidate will become an expert in equipment operation to the point of being able to train lab users to also expertly operate the equipment. Overall, the QPG Laboratory 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.   

Essential Job Duties:
  • Follow established protocols to perform qualifying runs on equipment on a daily or weekly basis to ensure that equipment is operating at peak performance for the lab users.
  • Assist in developing new protocols for equipment that do not yet have them, setting the standard by which peak performance can be evaluated.
  • Help maintain organized data records that can be used to verify peak performance and to indicate when maintenance and/or alignments of equipment components are necessary.
  • Work with the lab engineer to administer preventative maintenance plans on equipment to keep performance at the established, high standard; this includes performing instrument alignments.
  • Perform routine repairs of mechanical, electrical and vacuum systems to address day-to-day problems; aid in diagnosing and fixing problems by reading through equipment and utility schematics, soliciting advice from vendors, and communicating with other lab staff, the lab PI, and the lab users.
  • For repairs that rise to the level of needing attention from vendor service people (most equipment will be covered under service contract), first coordinate the service, and then follow through until the service is complete. This includes documenting the service visit and communicating results to the other lab staff, lab PI, and to the lab users.
  • Lead in creating, updating and maintaining equipment troubleshooting documents that can be used to address commonly encountered problems.
  • Carry out quality control practices, such as lab walkthrough checklists; help to improve these practices.
  • Create, update and maintain standard operating procedures for lab equipment
  • Train lab users on the safe and successful operation of equipment, up to the standard of achieving peak performance.
  • Participate in the discussion of laboratory protocols and objectives with the lab users, the other lab staff, and the lab PI.
  • Communicate progress and problems to other lab staff and the PI via email/phone, in meetings, and in reports, depending on the urgency and scope.  
  • Respond 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 equipment in the laboratory, then establish operational protocols and maintenance plans for such equipment.
  • Assist in the maintenance of stock levels and inventory of lab supplies such as consumable materials, gas bottles, solvents, wet etchants, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other general supplies, as needed; communicate this information to the Lab Manager.
  • Help to maintain, upgrade, and backup computer systems in the lab (e.g., computers for individual instruments, login terminals, and new computer networking projects). 
  • Maintain awareness of laws and regulations affecting the management of the laboratory; ensure compliance with Institute policies, scientific protocols, regulatory agencies and safety practices.   
  • Help the Lab Safety Officer to promote lab safety by training lab members on the safe use of equipment and processes; be aware of all relevant safety protocols in the lab.

Basic Qualifications:
  • A high level of craftsmanship and a thorough knowledge of mechanical design, materials, tools, units, and basic measurement techniques.
  • Attention to detail and excellent problem-solving and debugging skills.
  • Willingness to maintain highly organized data records.
  • An ability to learn quickly and adequately transfer that knowledge to others through teaching/documentation.
  • A desire to meet – and set – high standards.
  • Ability to work independently, with a high level of responsibility.
  • Strong communication skills, towards the supervisor, vendors, and lab users.
  • Teamwork skills and an ability to collaborate with coworkers having diverse skills and backgrounds.
  • Must be on-site during peak hours (10am-4pm, Monday through Friday), and must be able to work evenings and weekends, when necessary.
  • Must be able to work in a cleanroom setting, following all established protocols for gowning, PPE and safety.
  • The ability to lift up to 20 lbs.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering or sciences.  
  • 2+ years of relevant experience in semiconductor fabrication equipment operation, maintenance, repair, and installation.
  • Proficiency with the following software: Excel, Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
  • Basic computer maintenance and troubleshooting skills, e.g. new hardware installs, networking, performing hard drive backups.

Required Documents:
  • Resume

Hiring Range:
$54,000 - $79,000 per year

Tip: To strengthen your application consider posting a video-summary of your most exciting research.