NSA is home to one of the largest and most established in-house research organizations within the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), employing scientists with world-class skills in fields such as mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering, and cybersecurity. We collaborate with leading industries, universities, and national laboratories to advance core competencies, leverage work in overlapping disciplines, and solve some of the most challenging national security problems thought to be intractable by adversaries and commercial industry.
NSA's Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS) attracts top technical talent who not only solve the nation's urgent intelligence problems, but also invent what hasn't been invented and concentrate on what will be needed five, ten, fifteen years down the road. Through its partnership with the University of Maryland (UMD), LPS offers a unique environment where university, industry, and federal government scientists collaborate on research in advanced communication, sensing, and computer technologies. To learn more about LPS, visit: https://www.lps.umd.edu
LPS is currently seeking experienced Engineering and Physical Sciences Researchers to lead advanced research efforts in the areas of: quantum systems for sensing and/or transduction; electromagnetics engineering that enable high-performance wireless communications; integrated photonics for High Performance Computing (HPC); and, active devices for beyond Moore's law computing and cryogenic logic.
LPS Researchers are expected to contribute to their technical fields by publishing in high-impact, peer reviewed journals; collaborating and contributing broadly with academia, industry, and the national laboratories; and supervising students and postdoctoral fellows. In addition, researchers must demonstrate an ability to work well in a team environment toward mission-oriented research goals, to provide unique and sometimes extraordinary subject matter expertise to the Intelligence Community (IC) and wider U.S. Government (USG), and to ' when appropriate ' bring their inventions to prototype or practical implementation.
In addition, Lead Researchers are expected to:
- Perform scientific research to include planning, designing, and constructing specialized equipment, while ensuring adherence to sound engineering and scientific standards and principles
- Understand the IC problem space to create and execute a research strategy that contributes to IC mission needs
- Pursue research funding and build a team to include student and postdoc positions
- Collaborate with UMD Physics, JQI, etc. and across academia and industry to advance NSA research interests
- Serve as a subject matter expert to support research and development efforts to propel mission efforts to other parts of the Agency and USG
- Attend conferences and communicate with professionals in the technical field to keep abreast of new technologies and information
LPS has a number of unique positions available where your skills and expertise can make a difference. Each position is described in more detail below, along with specific responsibilities and required skills/experience levels. Since there are several open positions, applicants should include the position title in your cover letter. Specific opportunities include:
Lead Researcher: Quantum Systems for Sensing and/or Transduction ' LPS is seeking a highly motivated experimentalist to lead a new laboratory dedicated to exploring quantum systems for sensing and/or transduction. LPS has a long tradition of pioneering research in novel optical, cryogenic, superconducting, and quantum devices and materials for future information technologies, with quantum computing being a particularly strong investment over the last twenty years. This new lab will seek to expand on that base of expertise by pursuing fundamental research in quantum systems with potential application in, for example, near- or far-field sensing of electromagnetic fields, high-fidelity transduction of qubit modalities or frequencies, and/or integrated photonics/optomechanics. This new research area is expected to provide new opportunities for internal Agency and external community collaboration, especially for technical challenges and applications requiring high sensitivity and precision.
Although LPS researchers are encouraged to collaborate and pursue research funding opportunities internal to the Agency and across the USG, many LPS research projects are self-funded. This new lab is expected to be provided with start-up funds, including multi-year support for 1-2 students or postdocs.
The ideal candidate has a proven track record of innovative research in technical areas of direct relevance to sensing and/or transduction with quantum systems. Preferably, the demonstrated expertise should be in several of the following technical areas, and complementary to LPS interests and existing research direction:
- Novel research explorations for sensing (e.g., electric, magnetic, or other near-field sensors) with quantum systems (e.g., defects in solids, nano/optomechanical devices, superconducting or other systems)
- Studies of quantum-controllable optical defects in silicon-related material (i.e., silicon carbide)
- Methods and techniques for fast quantum measurement and control (e.g., optical spectroscopy of defects, precision quantum control and readout)
- Nano/optomechanics for quantum transduction between qubit modalities or frequencies
- Chip-scale photonics in multiple materials
- Semiconductor epitaxy, lithography, and etching techniques
- Nonlinear waveguide (phase matching techniques) and nano-photonic (photonics crystals) design and fabrication
- Industry/foundry capabilities in photonics and associated materials
- Classical integrated photonics and opto-mechanics for HPC
Lead Researcher or Researcher: Disruptive Qubits for Quantum Information Science ' LPS is seeking independent and exceptional scientists to lead new fundamental research efforts in the physics of solid-state qubits and enabling technologies, and contribute to mission-oriented research projects. Over the last 25 years, LPS has played a major role in building the quantum computing community through broad extramural research programs and impactful internally funded laboratories. The new Quantum Information Science (QIS) program will greatly expand these internal and collaborative research projects over the coming years.
Although LPS researchers are encouraged to collaborate and pursue research funding opportunities internal to the Agency and across the USG, many LPS research projects are self-funded. New research efforts in the QIS program can be expected to be provided with sufficient support to be successful.
The ideal candidate has a proven track record of innovative research in technical areas of direct relevance to novel solid-state qubits and/or enabling technologies. Demonstrated expertise and interest should be in at least one of the following technical areas:
- Experimental physics of superconducting-semiconducting quantum systems (Super|Semi Lab). New and emerging qubit research, superconducting-semiconductor devices, and fundamental challenges at the intersection of superconducting and semiconducting qubits. Ability to provide rapid test feedback for Molecular Beam Epitaxy and Atomistic Fabrications Labs. Desire nanoscale fabrication background or fast measurement expertise, and semiconductor qubit or superconducting qubit experience.
- Experimental physics of spin-based qubits. Advance state of semiconductor spin-based qubits, to include exploration of means of accelerating and democratizing progress in quantum dot qubits through testbeds, and materials for spin-based quantum computing.
- Theoretical physics of quantum device modeling and simulation or advanced qubits. Requires deep expertise in quantum device modeling and simulation, particularly computational techniques relevant to semiconductor heterostructure or super-semi interfaces, and/or expertise in the theory of novel qubits in solid-state.
Lead Research Engineer: Novel Electromagnetics and RF Technologies ' LPS is seeking a talented research engineer to lead efforts seeking to discover, understand, and optimize novel electromagnetic and RF technologies. This research area is focused on the design and discovery of electromagnetic systems to enable wireless systems and next-generation sensor technologies; a key area of interest is advancing electromagnetic frontend components from antenna to receiver.
Depending on experience level, the successful candidate will: 1) lead a research laboratory to develop and apply novel electromagnetics and antennas for next generation communication or sensor systems; or 2) work on existing team to develop research and leadership expertise needed to start a program. Responsibilities will include:
- Work closely with NSA mission-focused organizations to ensure research supports current and future requirements. Perform electromagnetics engineering research that includes design, fabrication, and validation to advance the state-of-the-art and to enable next-generation wireless communications technologies
- Perform computational electromagnetics modeling using commercial tools such as Ansys HFSS, CST Microwave Studio, or Altair FEKO as well as custom numerical codes
- Characterize electromagnetics and RF devices and components, using benchtop instrumentation and anechoic chamber measurements
- Identify research challenges in electromagnetics and RF/microwave engineering to enhance the NSA mission
- Conduct research and design engineering to develop novel solutions to challenging RF engineering problems
- Forecast trends in electromagnetics and antennas research to identify new areas of interest such as wireless devices, embedded sensors, and additive manufacturing
- Leverage computational modeling to understand electromagnetic devices and design next generation systems
- Design and fabricate devices and components and characterize them using state-of-the-art equipment (network analyzers, spectrum analyzers)
- Review scientific literature in electromagnetics and RF engineering such as IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation or IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques
The ideal candidate has demonstrated expertise in active device development for novel communication and sensor systems through proficiency in one or more of the following technical areas:
- Hands-on experience with RF systems design, instrumentation, and characterization; with instrumentation such as vector network analyzers (VNAs), spectrum analyzers, power meters, etc.; and/or in measurement and characterization techniques such as in-situ tuning or anechoic chamber patterns
- Development and execution of RF test procedures and analysis
- Research and development of new antenna structures with a mastery of industry trends and emerging wireless technologies
- Technical design of RF/microwave and antenna products meeting requested performance specifications, time scales, and cost
- Employ upfront design principles using computational modeling tools such as HFSS, CST, or ADS to achieve `right first time' design capability where possible
- Design, fabrication and evaluation of communications, electromagnetics, and sensor devices that use novel materials such additive manufacturing or unique dielectrics
- Experience in the design of antennas for various applications such as phased array systems and/or embedded devices; and/or board-level design of RF and microwave devices (filters, amplifiers, circuits) is a plus
Lead Researcher: Integrated Photonics for Beyond Moore's Computing and HPC ' LPS is seeking a motivated researcher to lead efforts seeking to discover, understand, and optimize novel photonic devices for HPC. This research area is expected to collaborate closely with existing Agency integrated photonic research efforts and provide new opportunities for internal Agency and external community collaboration to improve interconnect speed, lower power, or offer greater functionality for memory and logic beyond the paradigms established by Moore's law.
Depending on experience level, the successful candidate will: 1) lead a research laboratory to develop and apply new photonic devices for HPC; or 2) work on an existing team to develop research and leadership expertise needed to start a program. Responsibilities will include:
- Identify research challenges to enhance national security
- Leverage research approaches and methodologies
- Conduct research, including experiments and investigations, to develop ideas into actionable research strategies and program
- Analyze data using appropriate tool sets
- Review scientific or technical literature to support research efforts
The ideal candidate is someone whose research interests complement current NSA investments in fabrication, measurement, and materials development for HPC, and who has demonstrated expertise in active device development for HPC through proficiency in one or more of the following technical areas:
- Novel photonic technologies for non von-Neuman architecture development (e.g., neuromorphic, processing in memory)
- Design, fabrication and evaluation of integrated photonic devices and circuits for interconnect including those that use novel material systems; logic and memory devices and circuits utilizing novel material systems; and/or integrated photonic modulators, waveguides, and non-linear systems
- Design and simulation of lithium niobate (LiNbO3) electro-optic and nonlinear optical devices
- Computer and network architecture
- Industry/foundry capabilities in interconnect device development and associated materials
- Photonics and/or electrical simulation software such as Lumerical and HFSS
Lead Researcher: Active Devices for Beyond Moore's / Cryologic ' LPS is seeking a motivated experimentalist to lead a new research effort to discover, understand, and optimize novel devices for HPC. In the 'Beyond Moore's Law' era, the exploration of computing devices operating at very high speed, low-power, or offering greater functionality for memory and logic are critical to the development of future information technologies. LPS seeks to add to its growing number of research labs in novel classical computing devices and paradigms, which include laboratories for 2D and topological materials, superconducting reversible logic, and cryogenic interconnect for novel HPC, in addition to an entire office focused on novel architectures and system-level considerations for Advanced Computing Systems (ACS). This search is not predetermined towards a specific technology; rather, LPS seeks a researcher with skillsets and a fundamental research strategy that complements and enhances existing efforts. This new research area is expected to provide opportunities for internal Agency and external community collaboration, especially for future computing systems of relevance to the NSA.
Although LPS researchers are encouraged to collaborate and pursue research funding opportunities internal to the Agency and across the USG, many LPS research projects are self-funded. This new research effort is expected to be provided with start-up funds, lab space, and materials, as well as being able to take advantage of existing beyond Moore's and cryologic labs, fabrication and measurement infrastructure.
The ideal candidate is someone whose research interests complement current NSA investments in fabrication, measurement, and materials development for HPC, and who has a proven track record of innovative research in technical areas of direct relevance to active devices for beyond Moore's law computing and cryogenic logic. Preferably, the demonstrated expertise should be in several of the following technical areas, and complementary to LPS investments in fabrication, measurement, and materials development for HPC hardware, including laboratory work in quantum materials and cryogenic logic:
- Novel transistor development (e.g., ultra-low power, neuromorphic, superconducting, spin-tronic, optical) and impact on traditional and unconventional computer architectures.
- Fast measurement and circuit design (including GHz rate logic)
- Design, fabrication, and evaluation of logic and memory devices operating at cryogenic temperatures; and/or logic and memory devices utilizing novel material systems
- Active electronic device research complimentary to quantum materials or cryogenic logic.
- Industry/foundry capabilities in transistor-level device development and associated materials
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Desire to guide and influence a broad research community
- Apply knowledge of mathematics, engineering, cognitive sciences, and physical sciences to analyze problems and determine technical solutions
- Work effectively across several different functional areas in a fast-paced, collaborative environment
- Handle and prioritize multiple assignments
- Synthesize information to solve complex problems
Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule
Monday - Friday, with basic 8hr/day work requirements between 0600 to 1800 hrs (flexible).
How To Apply - External
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***PLEASE NOTE: U.S. Citizenship is required for all applicants. Reasonable accommodations provided to applicants with disabilities during the application and hiring process where appropriate. NSA is an equal opportunity employer and abides by applicable employment laws and regulations. All applicants and employees are subject to random drug testing in accordance with Executive Order 12564. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of a security background investigation and polygraph.
This position is a Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) position in the Excepted Service under 10 U.S.C. 1601. DoD Components with DCIPS positions apply Veterans' Preference to eligible candidates as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 USC, in accordance with the procedures provided in DoD Instruction 1400.25, Volume 2005, DCIPS Employment and Placement. If you are a veteran claiming veterans' preference, as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 U.S.C., you may be asked to submit documents verifying your eligibility.
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Please Note: Job Posting could close earlier than the closing date due to sufficient number of applicants or position no longer available. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is part of the DoD Intelligence Community Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS). All positions in the NSA are in the Excepted Services under 10 United States Codes (USC) 1601 appointment authority.