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Job Opportunity: Research Associate Position, Scientific Software and Firmware Development

LOCATION: NIST (Boulder, Colorado), Quantum Sensors Division (687), Quantum Electronics Group (14)

The Quantum Sensors Division of NIST located in Boulder Colorado is currently seeking a full-time research associate to develop software, firmware, and algorithms to enable the readout of large arrays of cryogenic sensors with applications in astrophysics, cosmology, material science, nuclear security, and quantum information science. The objective is to enable larger and more capable instruments based on superconducting transition-edge sensors (TESs) and microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs).

SUMMARY OF THE POSITION: The research associate will support the development of instruments based on arrays of cryogenic sensors for measurements that span the electromagnetic spectrum from gamma-ray to millimeter wavebands1. These instruments use arrays of TESs or MKIDs at milliKelvin temperatures that are read out using multiplexing techniques such as Time Division SQUID Multiplexing (TDM) or Microwave SQUID Multiplexing (uMUX)2. The research associate will develop scientific software for instrument control as well as for real-time and off-line data processing. The research associate will also develop scientific firmware for modern ADC/DAC/FPGA and RFSoC hardware to implement multiplexing functionality and perform initial signal processing. Finally, the research associate will develop readout algorithms that improve system performance such as predictive schemes to reconstruct signals with particularly high slew rates. Research associate will work as part of a team of scientists and engineers to build instruments and deploy them to telescopes, light sources, particle accelerators, and nuclear facilities3.

The work location for this position is at the NIST campus in Boulder, Colorado. The research associate will also be encouraged to travel to present results at scientific conferences and to off-site experiments where NIST-built instruments are employed.


  1. Kelsey M. Morgan, “Hot science with cool sensors,” Physics Today 71 (2018) 28-34.
  2. Johnathon D. Gard et al, “A scalable readout for microwave SQUID multiplexing of transition-edge sensors,” Journal of Low Temperature Physics 193 (2018) 485-497.
  3. Quantum Sensors Division


  • B.S. or higher degree in Physics, Electrical Engineering or a related field.
  • Experience and strong interest in working with scientific software (especially python) and firmware (especially VHDL, Verilog, and Vivado).
  • Ability to work towards a common goal as part of a team with diverse expertise.
  • Passion for demonstrating new technology and new measurement capabilities.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • U.S. Citizenship is required for this position.

INQUIRIES FOR THE POSITION: Qualified candidates should submit a letter of interest describing their research background and a CV with complete list of publications to douglas.bennett [at] (douglas[dot]bennett[at]nist[dot]gov).

Created February 20, 2024