Radio Frequency Wave Propagation Plasma Scientist (Scientist 2/3)

What You Will Do

The Electromagnetic Sciences and Cognitive Space Applications Group within ISR (ISR-2) is seeking qualified and creative scientists and engineers with a fundamental knowledge of plasma physics, specifically electromagnetic (EM) wave propagation in cold, low-density magnetized plasmas. This includes the need for a theoretical understanding of electromagnetics and radio wave propagation (both trans-ionospheric and ground-wave propagation). The chosen scientist will participate in the execution of our portfolio of programs which can broadly be described as radio-frequency (RF) remote sensing.

The Intelligence and Space Research (ISR) Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been designing, building, and operating highly innovative ground, air and space-based measurement and detection systems for nearly 60 years. We solve some of the most challenging scientific and national security problems facing the world today. Our interdisciplinary teams of engineers, technicians, and scientists work, learn, and succeed through a highly creative and dynamic R&D environment. We build, fly, operate, and analyze data from measurement systems deployed to space for verification of international nuclear treaties, and develop innovative sensors and ground, airborne and space hardware/software systems for basic scientific missions, nuclear nonproliferation, space situational awareness and remote sensing. In addition, we lead experiments on NASA missions, including the Curiosity and Perseverance Mars Rovers, Van Allen Probes, and IBEX.

Scientist 2 $101,700 - $168,200
The selected candidate will be expected to contribute in the following areas:
  • Maintenance and continuing development of algorithms to model electromagnetic wave propagation through ionospheric plasma, to include refractive and diffractive effects;
  • Execute electromagnetic plasma propagation models for programmatic, sponsor-directed tasks; and
  • Develop into a subject matter expert on RF plasma models and wave propagation in magnetized plasmas and provide expertise to sponsors and science team.
Scientist 3 $122,300 - $206,300
In addition to what was outlined at the lower level, at this level the candidate will be expected to:
  • Lead small projects or teams; and
  • Inform sponsors on relevant aspects of EM propagation in plasmas as it applies to their specific needs

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:
  • Proficiency in the basics of electromagnetic wave propagation in various media and familiarity with appropriate literature;
  • Demonstrated ability to express ideas clearly in writing and speaking, as evidenced by a recent history of publishing in refereed scientific journals, major reports, or invited talks;
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as a member of a team, with good communication skills; and
  • Ability to obtain a DOE Q clearance, which normally requires US citizenship.

Additional Job Requirements for Scientist 3:
In addition to the requirements outlined above, qualification at the higher level requires:

  • Experience developing and writing successful research grant proposals;
  • The ability and desire to lead small teams; and
  • Experience mentoring students and/or postdocs.

Education/Experience at lower level: Position requires a Bachelor's degree in a STEM field, preferably Physics, Electrical Engineering, or related degree from an accredited college and university and 4 years of related experience, typically with post-doctoral research experience at a university or national lab or equivalent experience directly related to the occupation. Ph.D. preferred.

Education/Experience at higher level: Position requires a Master's degree in a STEM field, preferably in Physics, Electrical Engineering, or related degree from an accredited college or university and 6 years of relevant experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience directly related to the occupation. Ph.D. preferred.

Desired Qualifications:
  • Ability or experience with fielding experiments related to RF propagation through the ionosphere;
  • Advanced degree in plasma physics;
  • Programming experience in C, Python, and/or Matlab or equivalent; and
  • Active DOE Q Clearance

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.

Note to Applicants: Please provide a prose cover letter describing your research experience, technical accomplishments, and interests, particularly as it relates to the description of work and job requirements outlined above. Applications without cover letters may not be considered.
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.

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, 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 1-505-664-6947, option 2.