Technologist III (Mass Spectrometer)

Job Details

Job ID: 11015

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.


Do you have a passion for research work, space exploration, and flight implementation? Are you a strategic team player, enjoy the challenge of reinventing technology, and pushing mass spectrometer instruments from design concept to its deployment in space?


The Microdevices & Sensor Systems Section operates under the Instrument Division and is responsible for the development and delivery of sensors, instruments, instrument electronics, and flight software technologies needed by JPL/NASA to enable new terrestrial, astrophysics, and planetary in situ and remote science experiments and observations. The Section provides research and technology for science instrument as well as flight instrument engineering.


Within this Section, the Planetary Mass Spectrometer Group seeks a self-motivated individual as a Technologist Level 3 who can work well both independently and in a team environment.  The selected candidate will have the opportunity to contribute in both ground- and space-based research into general mass spectroscopy geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, chromatography, cosmochemistry, absorption/emission spectroscopy, and astrobiology as an in-situ Technologist level 3 (Mass Spectrometer) in the following ways:

  • To work on technology development tasks such as the Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor (S.A.M) instrument which is used on board of the International Space Station
    • Be responsible for performing calibration and instrument development within the areas of mass spectroscopy, gas chromatography, with a strong focus on operation and data analyses
  • To be the lead on new technology infusions for novel instrumentations applied to future planetary and human explorations.
    • Writes and contributes to proposals to obtain funding for future technology developments
    • To create and fulfill opportunities for new technologies, then apply theoretical principles, and use creative analytical, experimental techniques, and scientific methods to develop new technology and instrument opportunities.
    • To establish and verify models of instrument properties in support of design, calibration, and performance verification
  • Works independently on important assignments and projects with only limited supervision, typically receiving only general instructions.
    • Exercises discretion and independent judgment to compare and evaluate various methods, approaches, and resources, and decides which will best accomplish each aspect of such assignments and project
  • To publish technology and science results


  • Bachelor’s degree in Atomic and molecular physics, Applied Physics, or related technical disciplines with 6 years of related work experience; or Master’s degree in similar disciplines with 4 year of related work experience; or Ph.D. in similar disciplines with 2 years of related work.
  • Exceptional interest to infuse new technologies, to develop new systems, and applying them to address novel science questions

                   - Keen interest working from conception through flight delivery, based on mass spectroscopy, chromatography, and charged particles.

  • Advanced knowledge and demonstration of skills in one or more of the following areas: charged particle optics, mass spectroscopy, atomic and molecular physics, chemistry, gas or liquid chromatography, absorption/emission spectroscopy, or microfabrication techniques.

                   - Demonstrated on how to design, fabricate, build, test, calibrate, and evaluate a fully operational mass spectrometer systems.

  • Extensive understanding and wide application of principles, theories, concepts, and techniques into instrument design principles.

                   -  Requires experience with hands-on and understanding of all mass spectrometer instrument related subsystems, not only limited to vacuum systems and its components, RF and high voltage electronics circuits

                    - Knowledge on how to derive science requirements and its implementation and verification

  • Ability to multi-task independently with an established track record of meeting milestone schedules.
  • Strong understanding of system engineering and development processes
  • Strong interpersonal skills with demonstrated effectiveness and working closely in a team environment. 
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills with the ability to present work in peer and design cycle reviews


Preferred Skills:

  • Advanced knowledge of one or more high-level general-purpose programming languages, such as C/C++, Java, Python, Mathlab, SIMION, CAD drawing tools, and analog circuit design.
  • Thorough understanding of advanced modern test instrumentation and the interfaces and software used to control and monitor their functionality.
  • Advanced knowledge of applicable Laboratory policies and procedures, NASA policies and procedures, and government regulations.
  • Ability to work well with cross-functional teams, design engineers, management, and other NASA centers.
  • Contract Technical Management experience.

Work Authorization

U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

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