Technologist II

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.


Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


This unique opportunity is part of the Mechanical Systems Engineering, Fabrication and Test Division which engages in research, technology development, and the creation of advanced mechanical, thermal, propulsion, and electronic packaging systems with expertise that spans the full breath of mechanical disciplines and is applied from architectural concept development through operations.


Will be working for JPL's Propulsion, Thermal and Materials Engineering Section which provides leadership and unique world-class expertise in a wide range of technologies and technical discipline areas of chemical and electrical propulsion, thermal, materials, contamination control, analytical chemistry, geochemical instruments, physics-based modeling, and multiphase flow.  Will be a member of the Analytical Chemistry & Materials Development Group and will report to the Group Supervisor.  Primary responsibility will be to provide laboratory support to JPL in instrumental analysis, analytical chemistry and materials development.  In this role, the candidate will develop new capabilities including, but not limited to, instrumentation, hardware, and techniques that will enable and support JPL’s goal of “exploring space in pursuit of scientific discoveries that benefit humanity” through the use of robotic systems. Since the space scientific community covers a wide range of topics, the ability to identify scientific questions and pair them with appropriate instrumentation and techniques is key. In order to continue to move JPL/NASA technology forward, knowledge of theoretical principles, analytical techniques and other scientific methods, and creative thinking and problem solving skills will need to be applied to the development of instrumentation and techniques. A strong candidate will be able to plan and conduct experiments to test the performance of an instrument or technique and publish the results. We are looking for a scientist with the ability to design, built, characterize, and improve mass spectrometry-based instrumentation, which includes multiplexing multiple ionization methods, various mass spectrometers, and laser spectroscopy.


A candidate with a background in mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy is sought to fill this position. Direct experience designing, constructing, and optimizing instrumentation associated with mass spectrometry and/or laser spectroscopy are qualities of a strong candidate. The knowledge and use of multiple ionization techniques (e.g. laser ablation, ESI, CI, EI) and experience with both commercial and home-built mass spectrometry instrumentation (e.g. linear TOF, reflectron TOF, QMF, 3D QIT, LIT) is required. The ability to couple various ionization techniques, especially ESI, with different mass spectrometers will require knowledge of vacuum systems, ion optics, and RF ion guides and traps in order to effectively move, store, and mass analyze ions. Experience with fixed-frequency and tunable laser systems for sample delivery and/or analysis is desired, and a candidate with the ability to combine laser spectroscopy and mass spectrometry is preferred. Experience with instrumentation that creates hypervelocity ion and water-ion clusters and grains by coupling a laser-induced ion desorption source with a TOF mass spectrometer is essential.


Your responsibilities include:

  • Interface with customers performing chemical analysis and material characterization in support of flight missions and flight instruments.
  • Designing, constructing, and characterizing instrumentation
  • Designing and implementing techniques associated with obtaining and analyzing a wide variety of samples, including inorganic and organic species
  • Coupling different ion sources with mass spectrometers
  • Operating and modifying a laser-induced ion desorption-TOF instrument to produce hypervelocity ions and ion-water clusters and grains
  • Conducting experiments and analyzing and publishing experimental results
  • Preparing and submitting proposals to support these research endeavors
  • Problem-solving
  • Work independently and in collaboration with the group supervisor and members of the group.
  • Responsible for completing significant project or assignment milestones.
  • Regular use of creativity and innovation to address important issues.
  • Frequent interaction with customers and peers inside and outside of JPL on significant matters.
  • Contributes as a key team member on teams inside or outside own organization, project, activity or function.
  • May lead teams.


  • Bachelors with 3 years of experience, Masters with 1 year of experience, or Ph.D. in Chemistry or related technical discipline.
  • Minimum 3.0 out of 4.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Prior experience in analytical chemistry related to materials characterization and testing.
  • Prior experience in working collaboratively and practical knowledge of working with analytical chemistry and polymer characterization equipment.
  • Broad knowledge in the following related fields: Analytical Chemistry, materials analysis and development, laboratory testing and instrumental analysis.
  • Experience with designing, building, operating, improving, and integrating ion sources (especially ESI) with mass spectrometers.
  • Experience with laser-induced ion desorption sources that produce hypervelocity ion and ion-water clusters and grains.
  • Experience with laser systems and spectroscopies, especially in relation to sampling and sample analysis.
  • Demonstrated fundamental knowledge of material testing and characterization.
  • Experience designing, building, and modifying/optimizing instrumentation.
  • A strong publication history in peer-reviewed, scientific journals.
  • Experience with writing proposals (e.g. NASA ROSES).
  • Excellent communication skills, including oral and poster presentations of scientific research.
  • Demonstrated leadership abilities.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Motivated to learn and work effectively on multiple, diverse projects

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