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Research Associate

University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, Colorado, United States
Salary Not Specified
Date posted
Jan 24, 2024

Job Summary

NIST has an exciting opportunity to further research into Rydberg atom systems and their applications to radio wave communications and quantum sensing. The Research Associate will complete experimental and theoretical work to advance the performance of Rydberg atom systems in the detection of electric fields. Experimental work will include designing, building, and troubleshooting laser, optical and electronic systems as well as operating RF and microwave equipment and developing data analysis software. Theoretical work will include developing and analyzing atomic models for Rydberg atoms and performing RF simulations.

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 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 Electromagnetic Fields Group under the RF Technology Division at NIST.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be
  • Design and perform experiments to advance the performance of Rydberg atom electrometers and communications receivers.
  • Develop theoretical models of atomic systems and atomic sensors and compare with experimental measurements.
  • Keep a well-maintained log of experimental activities.
  • Disseminate research through peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and other presentations.
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 $77,000 - $120,000 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 pioneering. Be Boulder.

What We Require
  • A Doctorate degree in Physics, Atomic Physics, Optics, Quantum Optics, or a related field.
What We Would Like You to Have
  • 4+ years of relevant experience.
  • Familiarity with atom-optical-molecular systems.
  • Ability to work with, stabilize, and align laser systems.
  • Familiarity with remote instrument communication (Matlab, Python, or Labview proficiency preferred).
  • Ability to develop data analysis software (Matlab or Python proficiency preferred).
  • Strong oral and written communication skills in the English language.
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 April 26th 2024.

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:

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