Skip to content

Research Associate

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado





Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

This position will support management in carrying out research projects in the MBEAM Lab. The selected candidate will conduct atomic-oxygen exposures to simulate space environmental effects on materials and structures in low Earth orbit, conduct molecular beam-surface scattering experiments with a universal crossed molecular beams apparatus, analyze data, prepare publications and presentations, and provide project oversight. The start date will be negotiable pending full review of all applicants. We expect the hiring process to move quickly once a candidate is selected and the background check is successfully passed.

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

Research in the MBEAM Laboratory is focused on gas-phase and gas-surface scattering dynamics that are relevant to hypersonic flows and spacecraft interactions with the residual atmosphere in the low Earth orbital (LEO) environment. There are additional projects aimed at understanding the ablation phenomena of materials in hypersonic flow and LEO environments. The main techniques used for this experimental research are crossed molecular-beams scattering, molecular beam-surface scattering, mass spectrometry, temperature-programmed desorption, resonance-enhanced multiphoton ionization (REMPI) with ion velocity-map imaging, surface analysis by scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron microscopy. Projects often involve close collaborations with theoreticians or modelers and experimentalists with complementary expertise.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Conduct and manage testing of satellite materials and subsystems in a hyperthermal atomic oxygen beam environment, including instrumentation of test articles.
  • Conduct molecular beam-surface scattering experiments with a universal crossed molecular beams apparatus.
  • Assist in the design and construction of custom parts for satellites in low Earth orbit.
  • Design and oversee construction of high vacuum and ultrahigh vacuum systems.
  • Write computer code as needed to analyze experimental data.
  • Manage budgets, make schedules, and meet deliverables as required by specific projects; provide regular reporting and presentations to customers.
  • Prepare manuscripts for publication.
  • Assist in the preparation of proposals.
  • Assist in mentoring and management of personnel in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences Molecular Beam Laboratory (MBEAM Lab).
  • Provide oversight of general maintenance and organization of MBEAM Lab.
  • Daily tasks, including but not limited to:
    • Maintenance of vacuum hardware.
    • Maintenance of electronics components, lasers, optical spectrometers, and mass spectrometers.
    • Maintenance and operation of lasers, especially CO2 TEA lasers.
    • Conducting exposures of materials and structures to a beam of hyperthermal oxygen atoms.
    • Conducting molecular beam-surface scattering experiments.
    • Analyzing data using commercial and custom computer programs.
    • Analyze samples with various surface analysis techniques: profilometry, SEM, AFM, XPS.
    • Providing support in the preparation of publications, presentations, and proposals.
    • Preparation of reports for research sponsors and materials testing customers.
    • Organizing laboratory.
    • Cataloging laboratory equipment.
    • Ordering supplies.
    • Interacting with MBEAM Laboratory students, post-docs, and staff, as well as external collaborators, external sponsors, and facilities personnel.
    • Assisting in the training of new members of the MBEAM Laboratory.

What We Can Offer

The starting salary range for this position is $100,000 - $120,000 per year. Relocation assistance is available.


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 curious. Be game-changing. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • Ph.D in a physical science or engineering discipline.
  • United States citizenship.

What You Will Need

  • Aptitude for operating and maintaining a variety of laboratory hardware.
  • Ability and motivation to learn unfamiliar science and engineering topics.
  • Meticulous, careful, and thoughtful at carrying out tasks.
  • Competence with computer-aided design.
  • Modest to strong computer programming ability.
  • Strong interest in satellite technology for low Earth orbit.
  • Sufficient desire and work ethic to accomplish goals.
  • Good writing and presentation skills.
  • Good organizational skills – of both physical objects and thoughts.
  • Work well with others.
  • Sufficient maturity to work independently, represent the lab to others, and mentor less-experienced co-workers.

What We Would Like You to Have

  • Experience with high and/or ultrahigh vacuum systems.
  • Knowledge of compressible fluid dynamics.
  • Experience with mass spectrometry.
  • Experience with lasers and laser spectroscopy.
  • Knowledge of materials used for spacecraft, especially polymers.
  • Experience with satellite construction for low Earth orbit applications.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. Resume/CV: Please include a publication list.
  2. Cover Letter.
  3. Optional: Letter of Reference: Three letters of recommendation will be required for the final selected candidate. For non-confidential letters of recommendation, please upload along with your other documents. For confidential letters of recommendation, please email supervisor Professor Tim Minton at or Aerospace Coordinator Melissa Flores at
  4. Optional: Transcripts/Proof of Degree: 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.

This position will remain open until filled. However, for full consideration, please apply by February 29, 2024.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, please apply through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

Posting Contact Email: