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Professional Research Assistant

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado





Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) encourages applications for a Professional Research Assistant in the field of photonic, electronic and superconducting device integration for advanced computing and metrology.

This position is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Professional Research Experience Program (PREP). NIST recognizes that its research staff may wish to collaborate with researchers at academic institutions on specific projects of mutual interest, thus requires that such institutions must be the recipient of a PREP award. The PREP program requires staff from a wide range of backgrounds to work on scientific research in many areas. Employees in this position will perform technical work that underpins the scientific research of the collaboration.

The Quantum Nanophotonics Group at NIST Boulder is developing advanced integrated technologies in support of the CHIPS Act. Our group uniquely combines expertise in superconducting electronics, integrated photonics, and semiconductor devices, positioning us to realize a new class of hardware for metrology and advanced computing. The technology we are pursuing, in collaboration with key industry partners, could significantly impact the U.S. semiconductor industry in less than five years.

Our devices and systems are fabricated on-site at the Boulder Microfabrication facility, a 10,000 sq-ft, Class-100 cleanroom ideally suited for rapid prototyping with new processes. This position will expand our fabrication capabilities, and we are looking to hire someone who will be responsible for physically realizing sophisticated devices on a completely novel technology platform. No prior experience in nanofabrication is required; we will provide all necessary training. The candidate will also learn how to characterize advanced semiconductor electronics, superconducting devices, and integrated photonics, building a broad skillset relevant to rapidly evolving industries. This is a unique opportunity to join a world-class team of scientists and engineers in pursuit of a challenging but deeply impactful goal.

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 Nanophotonics Group under the Applied Physics Division at NIST.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Conduct advanced fabrication processes to realize chips that integrate superconducting electronics, integrated photonics, and semiconductor devices.
  • Develop new fabrication processes as the need emerges during a fast-paced R&D program.
  • Work primarily in a cleanroom environment while learning and using a wide range of fabrication technologies, skills, and techniques including electron beam lithography, photolithography, semiconductor device processing, thin film deposition and etching, and more.
  • Perform in-situ process metrology/measurements to improve yield, performance, and reliability of devices (scanning electron microscopy, ellipsometry, atomic force microscopy, and more).
  • Perform detailed characterization of devices in our laboratory space that is specially designed for superconducting and photonic measurements.

What You Should Know

Privacy Act Statement:

Authority: 15 U.S.C. § 278g-1(e)(1) and (e)(3) and 15 U.S.C. § 272(b) and (c)

Purpose: The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) hosts the Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) which is designed to provide valuable laboratory experience and financial assistance to undergraduates, post-bachelor’s degree holders, graduate students, master’s degree holders, postdocs, and faculty.

PREP is a 5-year cooperative agreement between NIST laboratories and participating PREP Universities to establish a collaborative research relationship between NIST and U.S. institutions of higher education in the following disciplines including (but may not be limited to) biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering, electronics, materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, neutron science, physical science, physics, and statistics. This collection of information is needed to facilitate administrative functions of the PREP Program.

Routine Uses: NIST will use the information collected to perform the requisite reviews of the applications to determine eligibility, and to meet programmatic requirements. Disclosure of this information is also subject to all the published routine uses as identified in the Privacy Act System of Records Notices: NIST-1: NIST Associates.

Disclosure: Furnishing this information is voluntary. When you submit the form, you are indicating your voluntary consent for NIST to use of the information you submit for the purpose stated.

What We Can Offer

The salary range for this full-time position is $51,000 - $66,000 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 impactful. Be Boulder.

What We Require

Bachelors’ degree in one or more of the following fields: Electrical engineering, computer engineering, physics, chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering, optics, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, or a related field.

What We Would Like You to Have

Fabrication experience in a cleanroom environment, and/or hands-on experience in a physics or electronics laboratory environment with optical or electronic measurements.

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 an English-translated version as an Optional document.

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: