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R&D Surface Science Characterization - Materials Scientist

Albuquerque, NM

Job ID: 691291

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About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide

  • Extraordinary co-workers

  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world

  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities

  • Flexible work arrangements for many positions include 9/80 (work 80 hours every two weeks, with every other Friday off) and 4/10 (work 4 ten-hour days each week) compressed workweeks, part-time work, and telecommuting (a mix of onsite work and working from home)

  • Generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:*These benefits vary by job classification.

What Your Job Will Be Like:

Are you passionate about research related to Surface Science Materials Characterization? We are seeking a highly motivated R&D Materials Scientist passionate about developing and applying the next generation of materials characterization techniques to provide solutions to national security applications to join our diverse team.

On any given day, you may be called on to:

  • Apply fundamental materials understanding of structure-processing-property-performance relationships to solve materials forensics challenges, inform engineering decisions, and determine future research directions

  • Conduct materials characterization of surfaces using atomic force microscopy (AFM), laser profilometry (laser scanning confocal microscopy), stylus profilometry, or optical microscopy to determine sample parameters such as surface roughness, morphology, or electrical/magnetic/nanomechanical properties

  • Prioritize and inform incoming characterization requests for our department’s surface characterization technologists, while mentoring and deepening their technical expertise

  • Support scientists and engineers in the performance of R&D, and perform qualitative and quantitative analyses for work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical applications of science or technology

  • Identify research opportunities and pursue funding to support new R&D activities and/or the advancement of new materials characterization technologies

  • Develop new experimental processes, novel analytical techniques, and new characterization methods to address customer challenges

  • Develop, build, modify, repair, or maintain a wide variety of laboratory apparatus, optimize existing laboratory and characterization techniques, and work with key suppliers to identify new technologies

  • Perform data analysis and interpretation, statistical error analysis, materials characterization, and information extraction, and formally detail results for customers

  • Strengthen scientific visibility and professional networks through publication of research in peer-reviewed journals, attendance and engagement at conferences, and presentation of scientific talks

  • Make expert recommendations about equipment, capability, and technology needs

  • Perform work in a safe and compliant manner, seek out subject matter expert advice as needed, and maintain necessary documentation

Due to the nature of the work, the selected candidate must be able to work onsite.

Qualifications We Require:

  • PhD in materials science, metallurgy, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, or related field, or equivalent combination of science and/or engineering experience and education

  • Research experience in materials characterization via atomic force microscopy, profilometry and other optical microscopy techniques

  • History of productive scientific research as proven by publishing papers in peer reviewed journals, and presenting research at technical conferences

  • Able to acquire and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance

Qualifications We Desire:

  • Research experience in surface science characterization and other materials characterization techniques

  • Proven experience in characterizing process-structure-property-performance relationships in materials

  • Demonstrated creative problem solving and research advancement through development and/or application of pioneering characterization methodologies

  • Experience in identifying new research opportunities and writing/submitting related funding proposals

  • Demonstrated leadership within the scientific community, such as through technical professional societies

  • Experience specifying, installing, and characterizing new equipment to enable new capabilities

  • Experience/knowledge of advanced data analytics (e.g., principal component analysis, artificial intelligence, or machine learning)

  • Experience utilizing use data analysis and image processing tools (such as MATLAB)

  • Experience in working on multiple research projects, including relevant time management and prioritization skills

  • Interest in building positive customer/collaborator relationships, and passion for building and maintaining a professional network

  • Skill in interpersonal communication with diverse co-workers and various personality/communication styles

  • Experience in developing and mentoring others to become successful

  • Strong dedication to quality, safety, collaboration, and teamwork

About Our Team:

The Materials Characterization & Performance Department supports Sandia by developing and applying a breadth of analytical techniques to assess the structure, composition, and properties of materials. We serve our customers by helping them understand material behavior and performance, develop improved materials for specific components and applications, as well as develop lifetime performance predictions for materials. By applying a breadth of techniques, including spectroscopic and diffraction techniques, light and electron microscopy, metallography, surface analysis, chemical analysis, and contaminant analysis, we provide materials understanding and solutions for: engineering components and structures, failure analysis of all types of materials, and research projects across a wide customer base. We serve the entire corporation in their material analysis needs and frequently other federal agencies and industry. We also act as a gateway to materials characterization capabilities within and outside of Sandia. We take pride in owning, maintaining and utilizing to the fullest extent the best instrumentation available anywhere.

Our team is committed to nurturing environment compatible with a broad group of people and perspectives in accordance with the changing makeup of the workforce. In support of this vision, we actively recruit applicants from diverse groups of backgrounds and fosters an inclusive community. Join us and work towards your goals while making a difference!

Posting Duration:

This posting will be open for application submissions for a minimum of seven (7) calendar days, including the ‘posting date’. Sandia reserves the right to extend the posting date at any time.

Security Clearance:

Sandia is required by DOE to conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Applicants for employment need to be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by DOE, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

NNSA Requirements for MedPEDs:

If you have a Medical Portable Electronic Device (MedPED), such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, drug-releasing pump, hearing aids, or diagnostic equipment and other equipment for measuring, monitoring, and recording body functions such as heartbeat and brain waves, if employed by Sandia National Laboratories you may be required to comply with NNSA security requirements for MedPEDs.

If you have a MedPED and you are selected for an on-site interview at Sandia National Laboratories, there may be additional steps necessary to ensure compliance with NNSA security requirements prior to the interview date.

Job ID: 691291

Apply Now


  • Worklife Balance
  • Flexible Work Schedules
  • Generous Paid Time Off
  • Exceptional 401K Savings Plan
  • Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance
  • Wellness Programs
  • On-site Amenities
  • Vacation Buy Plan
  • Telecommuting Arrangements*

*with management approval

Life in New Mexico

  • Affordable housing, reasonable cost of living
  • Minimal traffic congestion compared to larger cities
  • Outdoor recreation - Ski, snowboard, hike, etc.
  • Experience rich culture and history
  • International Balloon Fiesta
  • Green chile – NM Cuisine
  • Museums, Parks, Sports

Learn more about Life in Albuquerque, New Mexico