Metallography Research Technologist (Research Technologist 1/2)

What You Will Do

We are seeking a highly motivated Research Technologist 1 or 2 to join the Characterization and Special Projects Team of Sigma Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Sigma Division focuses on materials science and engineering, emphasizing metallurgical processes and research in support of the experimental testing program at Los Alamos. The Division is a service-oriented capability that supports a broad customer base, both internal and external to LANL, with high quality one of a kind prototype component. The work spans all materials from hydrogen to uranium on the periodic table of the elements and may be classified. Performance of job responsibilities will involve exposure to hazards that include radiation generating devices, radioactive materials, acids/bases, organic solvents, and other hazardous materials. This position requires an excellent work ethic and team building/mentoring skills, high level of initiative, and commitment to safety, quality, and documentation.

This position will be filled at either the Research Technologist 1 or 2 level, depending on the skills and experience of the selected candidate. Additional job responsibilities will be assigned if the candidate is hired at the higher level.

Research Technologist 1 ($83,900-$136,600)

The successful candidate will provide research support in the field of materials science. The research technologist will work within established procedures, processes, requirements or specifications to perform metallography and characterization work on a variety of tasks and projects. Responsibilities for the selected candidate at Research Technologist 1 will include:
  • Support operations and general laboratory processes in the Sigma-2 characterization lab.
  • Cut, grind, mount, polish, and etch samples for microscopic or macroscopic examination using optical microscopy, electron microscopy, and hardness testing.
  • Prepare samples for scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy, electron back Scattered diffraction, wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (EDS/EBSD/WDS) analysis.
  • Characterize samples using optical microscopy, hardness testing, profilometry and SEM, including EDS.
  • Interact with facility personnel for new equipment purchasing, installation and/or maintenance.
  • Analyze data, provide preliminary interpretation of results with charts, graphs and/or drawings for inclusion in reports for reference or instruction purposes.
  • Contribute to meeting program deliverables in nuclear and global security programs.
  • Maintain compliance with conduct of operations, safety, security, and environmental regulations. Assist with the development of safety documents for activities performed in the metallography lab, safety, and user training. Manage chemical waste profiles for disposal according to waste disposal regulations.
  • Assist with maintenance of various types of laboratory equipment.

Research Technologist 2 ($92,300-$151,000)

In addition to the responsibilities and activities listed above, the Research Technologist 2 will be expected to:
  • Resolve problems of moderately complex scope requiring review of a variety of factors.
  • Mentor and train lower-level technologists and technicians.
  • Develop/refine preparation and optical imaging techniques on difficult to prepare materials.
  • Characterize samples using more advanced techniques like WDS and Focused Ion beam Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB/SEM) and SEM.
  • Help lead/delegate sample preparation and data acquisition activities on the lab floor.
  • Contribute to the development of characterization techniques.
  • Work independently with principal investigators to achieve desired characterization goals.

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:
  • A background in metallography, with an emphasis on sample preparation of a variety of material types.
  • Ability to understand a wide range of sample preparation techniques and equipment.
  • Ability to work with computer systems and applications including PC software, and Microsoft Office Suite including data manipulation, and use of databases.
  • Ability to interact effectively with colleagues and external collaborators. Demonstrate superior verbal communication and teamwork.
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions, procedures, plans and Laboratory requirements.
  • Ability to follow safeguards and security procedures in accordance with the Laboratory policy.
  • Fosters a mutually respectful and inclusive work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.
  • Demonstrated experience in sample preparation techniques and equipment
  • Ability to obtain a Q clearance, which normally requires US citizenship.

Additional Job Requirements for a Research Technologist 2:
  • Demonstrated experience in working with optical microscopy, electron microscopy, and hardness testing.
  • Demonstrated experience with computer systems and applications including PC software, and Microsoft Office Suite including data manipulation, and use of databases
  • Demonstrated experience in use of image analysis software such as ImageJ, Clemex, Mipar, Avizo, Dragonfly.
  • Demonstrated experience in developing reports and reporting on data.

Education/Experience Level 1: Position requires a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution and 2 years related experience; or, an equivalent combination of education and experience directly related to the occupation.

Education/Experience Level 2: Position requires a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution and 5 years related experience; or, an equivalent combination of education and experience directly related to the occupation.

Desired Qualifications:
  • Previous experience with hardness testing.
  • Previous experience operating optical microscopes.
  • Experience using electron microscopes and focused ion beam instruments.
  • Experience maintaining, troubleshooting, and setting up lab equipment.
  • Experience handling uranium, beryllium, and other hazardous alloys.

Essential Job Functions(can perform with or without reasonable accommodation): Color discrimination, peripheral vision, depth perception, binocular vision, reading vision. Use of both hands, use of both arms, pushing and pulling with hands and arms, and lifting 10-20 pounds. Ability to hear in a normal range (500-3000 Hz).

Note to Applicants: While the posted salary range for this position is broad, it is highly unusual for selected applicants to be hired at the top end of the range and more common for selected candidates to grow into the full salary band over time. For full consideration, your application must include a cover letter that addresses how you meet the required and desired skills and a resume.

Work Environment

Work Location:The work location for this position is onsite and located in Los Alamos, NM. All work locations are at the discretion of management.

Position commitment: Regular appointment employees are required to serve a period of continuous service in their current position in order to be eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the time required, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. The position commitment for this position is 1 year.

Where You Will Work

Located in beautiful northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. Our generous benefits package includes:
  • PPO or High Deductible medical insurance with the same large nationwide network
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • Free basic life and disability insurance
  • Paid childbirth and parental leave
  • Award-winning 401(k) (6% matching plus 3.5% annually)
  • Learning opportunities and tuition assistance
  • Flexible schedules and time off (PTO and holidays)
  • Onsite gyms and wellness programs
  • Extensive relocation packages (outside a 50 mile radius)

Additional Details

Directive 206.2- Employment with Triad requires a favorable decision by NNSA indicating employee is suitable under NNSA Supplemental Directive 206.2. Please note that this requirement applies only to citizens of the United States. Foreign nationals are subject to a similar requirement under DOE Order 142.3A.

Clearance: Q (Position will be cleared to this level). Selected applicants will be subject to a background investigation conducted by or on behalf of the Federal Government and must meet eligibility requirements* for access to classified matter. This position requires a Q clearance. and obtaining such clearance requires US Citizenship except in extremely rare circumstances. Dependent upon the position, additional authorization to access classified information may be required, which may or may not be available to dual citizens. Receipt of a Q clearance and additional access authorization ultimately is a decision of the Federal Government and not of Triad.

*Eligibility requirements: To obtain a clearance, an individual must be at least 18 years of age; U.S. citizenship is required except in very limited circumstances. See DOE Order 472.2 for additional information.

New-Employment Drug Test: The Laboratory requires successful applicants to complete a new-employment drug test and maintains a substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing. Although New Mexico and other states have legalized the use of marijuana, use and possession of marijuana remain illegal under federal law. A positive drug test for marijuana will result in termination of employment, even if the use was pre-offer.

Regular position:Term status Laboratory employees applying for regular-status positions are converted to regular status.

Internal Applicants:Regular appointment employees who have served the required period of continuous service in their current position are eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the required period of continuous service, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. Please refer to Policy Policy P701 for applicant eligibility requirements.

Equal Opportunity:Los Alamos National Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. All employment practices are based on qualification and merit, without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or preference, marital status or spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or citizenship within the limits imposed by federal laws and regulations. The Laboratory is also committed to making our workplace accessible to individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, for individuals to participate in the application and hiring process. To request such an accommodation, please send an email to or call 1-505-665-4444 option 1.