Job opportunities: MIT.nano is seeking domain experts

Title: Domain Expert, MIT.nano (2 positions available)

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MIT.nano is an approximately 214,000 gsf state-of-the-art laboratory complex that contains a fully equipped 40,000 sf cleanroom, as well as an additional 60,000 sf of facility-intensive specialty research spaces, dedicated imaging & characterization spaces, prototyping laboratories, a subfab, additional clean spaces, and staff support spaces. In addition, the building contains approximately 114,000 sf of highly complex facilities space for supporting the programmed spaces as describe above. The facility serves a large research and development community of faculty, students, businesses, and staff by providing a mostly shared environment for fabrication, study, and imaging of novel nanostructures, materials, devices, and processes.

The primary goal of MIT.nano is to enhance and enable the research and educational goals of  MIT. The following outlines the responsibilities of this position in more detail:

The Domain Expert (DE) is the primary interface between MIT.nano and its research users. Each DE has deep knowledge in a specific research field, but simultaneously maintains broad across-the-lab expertise and curiosity. As a result, the DE is able to assist and advise users with broader research challenges yet can draw from their domain expertise to provide guidance and insights in specific areas (e.g. electron devices, MEMS, photonics, etc).

A critical aspect of the DE’s work is to develop new knowledge and curate institutional knowledge (staff & user insights and discoveries about processes or tool operations). Such knowledge is then thoroughly documented or published by the DE (e.g. through instructional videos and/or whitepapers). This requires both a high degree of initiative and research curiosity:  research foci are constantly shifting, and the DE is expected to keep up with the changing research landscape and needs. The DE will identify new and common research problems in the lab (often in coordination with the AD and other DEs), and then work towards finding solutions. This requires being comfortable working independently as well as working in a team with both colleagues (other DEs and research specialists) and users. The DE therefore provides a bridge between the research needs (users) and the lab/equipment capabilities.

Knowledge Creation and Transfer

  1.  Identify and develop fabrication insights, and document them in an effort to create and preserve institutional knowledge. Act as the lead author and driving force for:
    1. Review-Papers (collections of information, including literature references which are closer in format to papers than application notes)
    2. Shorter 1-page how-to tips & tricks in the lab
    3. Training videos ranging from single steps at one tool to more complex full processes
  2. Contribute and maintain technical tool information (capabilities, restrictions, etc) on user-facing websites.
  3. In collaboration with the tool owners (Research Specialists), contribute to writing and editing of clear and concise tool SOPs.
  4. Establish and maintain effective training protocols and documentation to enhance the user communities’ access to tooling and instrumentation.  Support efforts by the AD’s of User Services to assure the user community has easy access to both training materials and staff.
  5. If applicable, supervise MIT.nano-postdocs who may help supplement MIT.nano with specific tool and process research insights.
  6. Contribute to or assist with the undergraduate educational missions of MIT.nano
    1. Develop lab modules for undergraduate classes and assist in teaching
    2. Assist with lab class instructions (primarily students working inside the lab)

User Interactions

  1. Acting as a technical representative for MIT.nano’s services and operations.  This responsibility will require a broad understanding of the research programs across the MIT community.  This activity will include reaching out to the research community to investigate how MIT.nano’s facilities may be creatively applied toward an ever-widening research base and to encourage new users to avail themselves of  MIT.nano’s capabilities.
  2. Participating in an external user outreach program. The user outreach program will consist of all aspects of user outreach and education as it pertains to increased access to the resources of MIT.nano.
  3. Engage the user community in a meaningful and productive manner such that their process needs are well matched to the capabilities of the facility and the equipment within it.
  4. Maintain a presence in the cleanroom to be available to assist users with their day-to-day processing challenges.
  5. Advise and assist users with process challenges, particularly when it also creates new capabilities or brings in new users.
  6. Maintain a friendly and helpful attitude towards users and staff.
  7. Contribute to the User Services function within MIT.nano. The User Services function provides support to all current, future, and prospective MIT.nano users.  Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
    1. fulfilling user expectations,
    2. assisting users with process development,
    3. developing new broad-use processes,
    4. improving and optimizing training and education,
    5. gathering and analyzing user data (demographics, research focus, use patterns, and costs),
    6. assisting in the creation of equipment, tooling, and instrument specifications which are user-centric and process driven,
    7. providing data services (scheduler, security, e-store, accounting, and reporting),
    8. expanding utilization,
    9. meaningfully participating in efforts to continually increase the user base and usage of MIT.nano.  This includes pursuing hardware and processes that anticipate the future needs of current users and are likely to attract new users.

Lab & Tools

  1. Interfacing with equipment, tool, and instrumentation suppliers which will demand a thorough and, preferably, expert knowledge of the technical details associated with such systems.
  2. Establishing and maintaining contacts with peer institutions with similar facilities (or goals), to coordinate collaborations and encourage the development of mutually beneficial BKM’s and SOP’s which enhance the delivery of services and operations within MIT.nano.
  3. Run process qualifications (independently or in collaboration with other DE’s or Research Specialists), at meaningful intervals, to be able to track and document tool performance over time to users. This may involve simple steps (e.g. deposition rate and uniformity) or more involved processes (e.g. lithography dose matrices, etch profiles, MOS capacitors to quantify ALD quality).
  4. Develop recipes, programs, and processes (workflows). Be familiar with computer-aided fabrication and manufacturing systems. Sustain the appropriate level of proficiency.
  5. Participation in all forms of safety process (as determined by the AD of Safety Systems) and procedures which include:
    1. emergency response team training sessions,
    2. actual responses that could include dealing with leaking gasses or chemical spills, and
    3. on-call rotation (voluntary).
  6. Understand preventative maintenance of tools and develop backup plans for users to reduce downtime and alternatives when common tool problems are encountered.

Other Responsibilities

  1. Assist with developing proper clean room safety protocols, standard practices, response protocols, and safety-related discipline procedures.
  2. Establish and maintain appropriate levels of knowledge and proficiency with building systems.
  3. Exhibit and practice safe working and housekeeping practices at all times.
  4. Foster an environment of teamwork and cooperation with fellow staff members, faculty, and the user community.
  5. Provide assisted-use services as assigned by the AD’s of User Services.
  6. Other duties as assigned or necessary.


PhD in an engineering or science discipline related to microfabrication. At least four years of research experience as a postdoc or research scientist. Excellent research and publication record. Proven ability to independently design, execute, and optimize a broad range of fabrication processes. Practical and theoretical familiarity with all/many process categories (e.g. lithography, ICP etching, PECVD deposition, diffusion, etc). Expertise in data management and processing, and associated programming experience (e.g. python, Matlab, etc) is highly desirable.

Must be methodical, detail-oriented, and a critical thinker that is willing to learn and perform a wide range of tasks. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Enthusiasm for educating students about processing, fabrication solutions and approaches. Exceptional organizational, troubleshooting, and interpersonal skills and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Must enjoy working in a collaborative environment. Must be capable of productive interactions with a diverse group of researchers including providing training and services.

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