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Professional Research Assistant

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Job Summary

The Professional Research Assistant will share responsibility for establishing and operating a new, quantum optics research laboratory by constructing basic laboratory infrastructure as well as creating the metrology tools necessary to make quantum optics measurements. The position will involve implementing techniques necessary to approach or reach the quantum limit, including homodyne tomography, laser beam diagnostics, noise characterization, mechanical stabilization, and electronic feedback methods. The selected candidate will make use of and strengthen a diverse array of skills through hands-on, manual tasks as well as software development and data analysis.

Who We Are

The Professional Research Experience Program (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 in the High-Speed Measurements Group in the RF Technology Division at NIST.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Design and construct optical processing and detection systems using free-space components which maximize mode matching and minimize optical loss.
  • Implement feed-back control systems to stabilize optical frequency, phase, polarization, and mechanical motion to enable coherent optical measurements.
  • Design and construct low-noise electronic circuits for detection, control, and measurement.
  • Create software for collection and analysis of homodyne tomography measurements of quantum states.
  • Perform diagnostic measurements to characterize the noise properties of a laser source.
  • Construct infrastructure in support of a quantum optics research laboratory.
  • Provide technical input to research problems which have been recognized as critical obstacles to progress in areas of exceptional interest.
  • Work as a member of a collaborative, interdisciplinary team.

What We Can Offer

The annual salary range for this position is market-based, highly competitive, and will be based upon relevant background and experience. 


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 Collaborative. Be Pioneering. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a STEM related field.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Experience with lasers, light sources, phase-locked loops, balanced detection, low-noise receive design, polarization optics, and optical modulators.
  • Experience with optical measurement techniques such as: coherent detection, quantum tomography, beam diagnostics, laser diagnostics, noise characterization, and statistical optics.
  • Experience with protocols used in traditional, coherent optical networks is very desirable.
  • Ability to code with, or learn to code with: MATLAB, LabView, and Python is required.
  • Familiarity with optical system design software (e.g. Zemax, Code V, OSLO) is advantageous.
  • Ability with opto-mechanical design and machine shop fabrication is desirable.
  • Familiarity with building materials, hardware, and basic construction and assembly methods.
  • Comfortable working with hands doing manual tasks.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Letter of Recommendation (non-confidential)
This position will remain open until filled.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Name: Tiffany Mason

Posting Contact Email:

The University of Colorado is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer