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Postdoctoral Associate, Research Associate, Senior Research Associate

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado





Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) encourages applications for a Postdoctoral Associate, Research Associate, and Senior Research Associate! The Quantum Sensors Group at NIST seeks researchers to join a multiperson team developing cryogenic sensors for the detection and spectroscopy of single photons and particles. Cryogenic detectors provide unprecedented sensitivity and energy resolution for the detection of photons. 

NIST is developing novel low-temperature (100 mK) superconducting microcalorimeters for the detection of photons from X rays, gamma-rays, and other exotic particle decays. These devices, fabricated in NIST’s state-of-the-art clean room, consist of superconducting transition-edge sensors on micromachined structures. They are read out using unique high-speed, low-noise SQUID preamplifiers designed and fabricated here.  Using these devices, NIST has demonstrated the highest energy resolution achieved with an energy-dispersive x-ray and gamma ray detector and constructed the largest x-ray microcalorimeter built to date.  NIST is employing these detectors in a system for x-ray microanalysis of materials on a scanning electron microscope and in a system for gamma-ray spectroscopy of nuclear materials.

NIST is also developing next-generation arrays of x-ray microcalorimeters for implementation at x-ray light sources including NIST’s beamlines at the NSLS-II. Research opportunities include improving understanding of the nonequilibrium superconducting processes underlying the performance of superconducting detectors, developing novel micromachined structures to integrate detector arrays, developing and testing detector arrays, developing multiplexed superconducting integrated circuits for the readout of large arrays, and developing the first uses of these detectors at the NSLS-II, or for applications in materials analysis, nuclear non-proliferation, astronomy.
The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

PREP is a special partnership between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado Boulder.  PREP provides research opportunities to CU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as researchers with a Bachelor's, Master's, or PhD in NIST labs to gain research experience alongside NIST scientists.
The particular group that needs a researcher is the Quantum Sensors Group under the Quantum Electromagnetics Division at NIST.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Design and test cryogenic sensors including superconducting transition-edge and kinetic inductance devices along with readout systems for arrays of cryogenic sensors. 
  • Develop microcalorimeter spectrometers built from cryogenic sensor arrays and implement them in measurement applications in the basic and applied sciences.  Application areas presently of interest include x-ray materials analysis, nuclear materials analysis, x-ray astrophysics, x-ray fundamental parameters metrology, and x-ray tomography. 
  • Interact with collaborators on the operation and application of cryogenic sensor instruments. 
  • Develop new applications for cryogenic sensors as well as pursue both internal and external funding. 
  • Regularly communicate work status to team members and supervisors and disseminate results through publications and presentations.

What We Can Offer

The salary range for the full-time Postdoctoral Associate position is $68,750 - $90,000 annually.
The salary range for the full-time Research Associate position is $71,500 - $116,955 annually.
The salary range for the full-time Senior Research Associate is $98,500 - $171,500 annually.
Onboarding/relocation assistance may be available, however, if within a 12-month period you exercise your right to willfully terminate your employment with the University of Colorado, you hereby agree to reimburse the department for your relocation expenses.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be ambitious. Be pioneering. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • A PhD in Physics, Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Material Science, or another technical field.

What You Will Need

  • Postdoctoral Associate: 0 - 4 years of experience beyond earning PhD.
  • Research Associate: 5 - 10 years of experience beyond earning PhD.
  • Senior Research Associate: 10+ years of experience beyond earning PhD.

What We Would Like You to Have

  • Previous experience with electrical characterization of novel devices, spectroscopic measurements and data analysis, cryogenic and low noise measurements. 
  • Two (2) years experience post PhD.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter
If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources Department using an approved online vendor.  However, if your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version.
During the application process, you will need to enter contact information for a reference.  We will request the letter of recommendation immediately following your application.
Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.
Note:  Application materials will not be accepted via email.  For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Lisa Valencia

Posting Contact Email: