Lead Vacuum Engineer
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LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled LIGO Hanford Site Lead Vacuum Engineer to join its team. LIGO Laboratory is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to observing the newly discovered gravitational-wave universe. Jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the LIGO Laboratory operates world-leading observatories near Richland, WA and Baton Rouge, LA as well as R&D centers on the Caltech and MIT campuses. The LIGO Laboratory’s mission spans a broad and vibrant array of activities related to gravitational-wave physics and astronomy, including detector operations, R&D toward detector improvements, gravitational-wave astrophysics, observatory operations, and education and public outreach.
For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at www.ligo.caltech.edu
LIGO comprises two widely separated antennae for astrophysical gravitational wave research. Located in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington, each operates within a 10 million-liter ultra-high-vacuum (UHV) system, the largest in existence. They each include 8 km of 1.2m-diameter beam tube, interconnecting thirteen 3m-diameter vessels that house the detector apparatus. LIGO detectors operate in the 10-9 Torr pressure range, relying on a combination of cryogenic, turbomolecular, ion and getter pump technologies, combined with stringent material and operating protocols. The observatory sites are supported by science and engineering research facilities at MIT in Cambridge, MA and at Caltech in Pasadena, CA.
As a senior member of the core Hanford Observatory Operations staff, the selectee will supervise and lead the group tasked with optimizing, maintaining and improving the site vacuum system and its supporting infrastructure.
- Maintain the Observatory vacuum system and support facilities; initiate, plan and execute changes to this system; monitor system performance; and lead a group assigned to support this work.
- Plan and oversee equipment procurement and repairs, including budget development, preparing specifications, competitive procurement, contractor selection, contract monitoring, and quality assurance.
- Collaborate with research scientists and engineers to optimize UHV performance of in-vacuo scientific apparatus, and to minimize risks of contamination.
- Collaborate in research into UHV techniques, system design, and potential future vacuum upgrades.
- Establish and maintain procedures to ensure that vacuum equipment is monitored, protected and maintained.
- Serve as a standing member of the LIGO Laboratory’s Vacuum Review Board (with periodic rotations as Chair).
- Serve as a consulting member on Design Review, Technical Review or other Laboratory committees and panels as may be required.
- Support and/or manage competitive procurements (i.e. materials and equipment, vendor and/or contractor selection, contract development, acquisition planning, etc.).
- Initiate or collaborate in writing research papers and technical presentations.
- Develop and oversee UHV material preparation and test facilities, such as cleaning plants, bake ovens and test chambers, which prepare and qualify scientific components for installation in UHV systems.
- Serve as a line supervisor for members of the Hanford vacuum group and potentially others who work in related functions.
- Other duties as may be required and assigned.
- BS in Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical or Systems Engineering; Physics; Material Science; or a related scientific or engineering field.
- 8 or more years of vacuum related engineering or scientific research work experience.
- Demonstrated proficiency in operation, analysis, and performance characterization of high- or ultra-high vacuum systems.
- Knowledge and experience in selection and application of UHV-compatible materials.
- Proficiency in application and interpretation of spectra from residual gas analyzers.
- Experience in application of helium mass‐spectrometer leak detection (MSLD) apparatus.
- Effective English‐language written and verbal communication skills and habits.
- Exhibit level-headed professionalism and excellent interpersonal and team skills.
- Ability to lift at least 20 pounds.
- Supervisory experience. Experience of leading a team and conducting related management responsibilities.
- Experience related to industrial automation as applied to large-scale vacuum systems.
- Hands-on experience and skill in building, improving and maintaining high- or ultra- high vacuum systems.
- Experience related to fluid, cryogen, pressure, flow rate, and gas sensors and instrumentation.
- Experience operating or maintaining large research, university, national laboratory or industrial facilities.
- Computer-aided design (CAD) proficiency (SolidWorks™ preferred).
- Cover Letter
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