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R&D Scientist

Date:  May 25, 2023

Santa Barbara, CA, US

Job Function:  Technical
Business Unit:  Asylum Research

Business Overview

Asylum Research designs, develops, and manufactures Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs), high precision imaging systems used in a wide range of applications from life science to semiconductors and everything in between. We are part of a successful global technology company, Oxford Instruments plc, a leading provider of high technology tools and systems for industry and academic research.


How we work

We’re committed to being the leading provider of high-tech products and services for the world’s most important industrial and scientific research communities. Our people are vital to our success. We strive to offer the opportunities that will attract, motivate, and retain the very best talent in our sector. This involves creating an inclusive environment and culture, where difference is valued and people are recognized for what they deliver and bring to the team.


Empowering People to Make a Difference

We don’t wait for change to happen. We enable it. That’s why we aim to create the best working environment and culture for our people to thrive. We share the same goals and value diversity of thought, perspective, and experience. With a focus on the ongoing development, engagement, and wellbeing of our people, we know we will continue to exceed customer expectations and drive change for the future.


About the Opportunity:

We are looking for a curious, enthusiastic R&D Scientist who has a creative approach to problem-solving. The successful candidate will develop measurement solutions that delight customers, distinguishing Asylum Research from competitors with performance, scientific rigor and clarity. These measurement solutions will be in critical application areas of AFM, such as 2D materials, quantum devices, polymers, functional materials, energy production/storage, and beyond-Moore’s-Law computing. The R&D Scientist will conceive, implement, and test algorithms that enable even a novice AFM user to obtain excellent results in a measurement.


This is a great opportunity for the right individual to dig into the details, making a powerful technology accessible to more scientists—at an exciting time to join our team! 


Additional Responsibilities

The R&D Scientist will own the development of measurement solutions and drive them from inception through completion:

  • Understand the measurements our customers need to make in great depth. This includes the context around the measurement and the way results will be used. Know the state of the art in academic research, competitor products, and the patent literature.
  • Experiment with approaches to, and workflows for, these measurements.
  • Work with other R&D Scientists and Engineering to design, prototype, test, and launch new hardware required for a critical measurement.
  • Develop methods to validate the measurement and predict confidence intervals. Create novel ways to share results, validity, and context with AFM users and their colleagues.
  • Interact with customers, listening carefully from the perspective of an expert on how AFMs work.
  • Test the solutions you have developed. Automate the testing to prove that it works under a wide range of conditions. Create protocols so that others can test your solution in the future.
  • Iterate these measurement solutions internally with Applications and Software. Iterate them externally with beta-test customers. Evaluate where we have met the needs of the market and where we need to improve.
  • Document your solutions with manuals, customer training, demonstration samples, and standard operating procedures. Communicate to Applications, Marketing, Sales, and customers how our company’s solution helps users and how it exceeds the competition.
  • Support your work on an ongoing basis. With Service and Software Quality Assurance, handle situations where your solutions encounter problems. With Marketing and customers, map the evolving market landscape, further development needed, and future opportunities.
  • In your area of expertise, conduct a few customer demonstrations per year. Occasionally, support Marketing in preparing brochures, app notes, and webinars.
  • Contribute to our long-term roadmap of instrument development, working with colleagues to analyze shortcomings, prioritize, and implement/test improvements.
  • Present advancements in AFM technology, as well as new products, at conferences and trade shows. Publish scholarly articles; generate intellectual property and file patent applications.


About the Candidate:

The right candidate (you!) will have a PhD degree in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, or a related discipline, with a required experimental focus on measurement using atomic force microscopy (AFM); a minimum of 3+ years of experience in advanced measurement using scanning probe microscopy; and direct experience with all stages of using an atomic force microscope: sample preparation, operation of the microscope, data/image analysis, interpretation and presentation of results. You are self-driven, a clear and enthusiastic communicator, and find motivation in helping others.


Additional Qualifications/Experience:

  • Experience automating a nontrivial measurement (previously performed manually) is highly desirable—particularly the use of machine learning to reduce the burden on users.
  • Experience with accurate and trustworthy measurements:
    • Understanding what question is to be answered
    •  Creating a plan for the measurement and carrying it out
    • Analyzing the results, including error analysis
    • Determining whether the results are valid and whether they answer the question; correcting the plan if necessary
    • Drawing conclusions and presenting them to peers, experts, and those outside the field.
  • Extensive skill in a scripting programming language such as Python is required. Knowledge of C# and/or IGOR Pro is a benefit as well.
  • Scientific experience and understanding of: 2D materials, quantum devices, polymers, functional materials, energy production/storage, or beyond-Moore’s-law computing. Direct research experience in one of these fields is a plus.
  • Experience with machine learning data curation, analysis and programming, especially applied to scientific instrumentation and measurements is a plus.


Salary: In accordance with California law, the expected annual salary range for this position is between $70,000 - $135,000.  The actual compensation will be determined based on experience and other factors permitted by law.


Oxford Instruments requires all employees to be fully vaccinated by their first day of work. The Company will consider requests for medical or religious accommodation as required by law.


This employer participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S. If E-Verify cannot confirm that you are authorized to work, this employer is required to give you written instructions and an opportunity to contact Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) so you can begin to resolve the issue before the employer can take any action against you, including terminating your employment. Employers can only use E-Verify once you have accepted a job offer and completed the I-9 Form.


Oxford Instruments Company is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. EOE/M/F/D/V


Note to recruitment agencies: Oxford Instruments does not accept agency CV’s. Please do not forward details to our jobs alias, Oxford Instruments employees or any other company location. Oxford Instruments is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited CV’s.




Nearest Major Market: Santa Barbara
Nearest Secondary Market: Santa Maria