Electronics Engineer III - Sr or Scientist/Research Engineer (Open Rank) (4534)

Research Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) mission is to enable forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths. In partnership with the scientific community, we:

  • Provide world leading telescopes, scientific software and algorithms and expertise,
  • Train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and
  • Promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking a full-time (at-will) scientific research engineer staff member or an Electronics Engineer to specialize in microwave and millimeter wave electronics with special emphasis in cryogenic low noise amplification and mixing.  The primary functional duty (75% time for Scientist appointments, 100% time for Electronics Engineer appointments) is to lead our low noise amplifier (LNA) development team in the multidisciplinary Central Development Laboratory (CDL).


The Central Development Lab (CDL) is located in Charlottesville, VA. The CDL has the mission to develop new, science-driven technology that enables forefront research in radio astronomy. Current research and development programs include cryogenic, low-noise front-ends, wideband electromagnetic components such as antenna feeds and polarizers operating from below 1 GHz to nearly 1 THz, phased-array feeds, highly integrated receiver architectures that employ early signal digitization and novel encoding, wideband and scalable digital signal processing architectures, and photonic signal generation, time reference distribution, and data transmission.


Job Duties Summary

The selectee will play a leading role in a program of design and development of low-noise amplifiers for use in astrophysical observations. A background in designing, analyzing, and building LNAs from discrete transistors and in designing monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) using III-V semiconductor (e.g. GaAs and InP) processes is highly desirable.

For a scientific staff appointment, applicants should include a document in their application package that describes a research plan for advancing the state-of-the-art in radio astronomy instrumentation, especially research into advancing the performance of cryogenic low noise amplifiers and their use in mixers/down converters in radio astronomy receivers. All NRAO staff scientists have 25% discretionary time to carry out such an independently-directed research program, with the remaining 75% of time dedicated to functional responsibilities. The research may be expansive in nature, but should have synergies with NRAO facilities/CDL program priorities. Active and engaged research is important as staff scientists are expected to push the boundaries of current instrumentation capabilities to meet the emerging requirements of the scientific community.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research or development environment, but you may occasionally be required to work outdoors. Some domestic and international travel will be required; must be willing to travel at regular intervals within and outside the U.S., including work at the ALMA array site in Chile at an altitude of 5000 meters.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

A Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, or related field is required for Electronics Engineer consideration. PhD in Electrical Engineering with specialization in design of microwave amplifiers or a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering with demonstrated PhD level understanding and accomplishments will be considered for scientific consideration.


Minimum Experience

One year or more of experience in design of microwave amplifiers as part of PhD, post-doctoral or similar level of work for scientific consideration. At least 3 years’ experience in the field of microwave circuit design, preferably at centimeter and millimeter wavelengths, and corresponding publications for Electronics Engineer consideration.


Preferred Experience

  • A strong background in cryogenic microwave and millimeter-wave circuit design.
  • A strong background in low noise techniques, and proficiency in analyzing, designing and synthesizing chip–and-wire integrated circuits (MICs) and monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) to implement low noise amplifiers. Experience with high frequency printed circuits on microwave laminate substrates, thin-film processes, and waveguide networks.
  • Familiarity with active electronic circuits, transistor modeling, stability factors, and noise parameters.
  • Test and measurement experience using Vector Network Analyzers (including with mm-wave extenders), Spectrum Analyzers, Noise Figure Meters, and Oscilloscopes.
  • Proficiency with modern CAD software including circuit simulation and electromagnetic modeling.
  • Familiarity with microfabrication and assembly techniques, including ultrasonic wire bonding and eutectic die attachment, is a plus.

Application Instructions:


Electronics Engineer Applicants

Please be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position.


Scientist Applicants

Please prepare a single PDF document consisting of the following items:


1. Cover letter stating why you are interested in this position – the letter should describe how you match the position and qualifications summarized above (no more than 3 pages).

2. Curriculum vitae including publications list.

3. Summary of past technical and observational experience relevant to this position (2 pages).

4. Summary of past research (2 pages).

5. Plan for future research describing specifically use of, and synergies with, NRAO facilities and observatory goals and priorities (3 pages).


The PDF file is to be uploaded with the “Add Resume” feature at the applicant portal; the file name format should follow this convention: LastName,FirstInitial_LNASci.pdf.


Each scientific applicant should also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be submitted by individuals familiar with their technical and scientific abilities directly to tdillon@nrao.edu. Please have the referee use the file name format convention (LastName,FirstInitial_LNA_recommendation.pdf”. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of recommendation are sent by the referees. Please direct inquiries to Bert Hawkins (bhawkins@nrao.edu).

Note: Scientist applicants can disregard the references form.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. To view our complete statement, please visit http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs.  If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to resumes@nrao.edu.