Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dissolved Gas Sensor Development

Candidate willing to live in both the Bay Area, CA and Seattle, WA during the appointment period.
The position offers salary commensurate with experience, as well as the University’s excellent comp
Dec 21, 2018
Jan 20, 2019
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Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research associate as a part of SCUID - Submergible Carbon nanotube Underwater Instrument for dissolved gas Detection - project funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program and the National Science Foundation. The project is a collaborative effort of the Applied Physical Laboratory (APL) at the University of Washington (UW), NASA Ames Research Center (NASA-ARC), and Pro-Oceanus Inc.  

SCUID is a carbon-nanotube based gas sensor system that aims to transform the way we measure dissolved gases. Measurement of climatically relevant trace gases are necessary to quantify ocean sources and sinks, and to understand their impact on global climate change. Currently in-situ measurement of dissolved gases is limited to only a few gases. SCUID aims to change that as a collaborative effort between industry, government, and APL by leveraging cutting-edge gas sensor technology and proven-technology dissolved gas sensor housing. 

This is a full-time (100% FTE) position with an anticipated service period of 21 months with an anticipated start date in December 2018 or January 2019. The Research Associate’s work will be split into two phases: Phase 1 (~12months) is located at NASA  Ames Research Center and Phase 2 (~9months) is located at APL. The candidate will have the opportunity to bring her/ his expertise to the project and thus contribute in a significant way to the success of the new sensor system.  

The postdoc for this position will be responsible for developing a modified carbon nanotube-based sensor chip capable of detecting NO and N2O at relevant concentrations, including chip characterization in environmental chambers and definition and development of necessary electronic/ hardware interfaces.  This work will be followed by laboratory tests of the system. Laboratory system tests will include a  temperature controlled environmental chamber and a custom facility to test for detection of dissolved gases in water. The SCUID system will need to be characterized with regard to precision, accuracy,  linearity, hysteresis, and cross-sensitivity. The postdoc is expected to lead the publication of sensor development and test results in year 2. 


Demonstrated expertise related to one or more of the areas involved (such as surface chemistry, physical chemistry, carbon nanotube physics, gas theory) is expected. The candidate should also be familiar with the theory and application of standard signal processing techniques (filtering, FFTs, convolutions, etc.), have good programming skills (familiarity with Matlab is an advantage), and basic knowledge of electronics and standard test equipment.

Prior experience with set-up and follow-through of experimental research and development, a critical, and careful and systematic approach to sensor methods development, ability to identify and solve problems is desired. Candidate should be capable of self-led project planning while also integrating with the overall project goals and deadlines, and have the ability to become fluent in areas of the project that are new to him/her.

Due to the nature of the project, the postdoc must be willing to live in both the Bay Area, CA and Seattle,  WA during the appointment. Candidates with a recent (no more than 4-years) Ph.D. or foreign equivalent in Mechanical engineering, Electrical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Chemical and Materials  Engineering, Applied Physics, or similar are encouraged to apply! 

Application Instructions

The Ocean Engineering (OE) Department in Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington  (APL-UW) conducts ocean engineering design and field operations support for ambitious basic and applied research programs, including at-sea engineering, research diving, and instrument design and fabrication. This position will be mentored by APL-UW Senior Scientist Anuscheh Nawaz, and NASA  Ames Research Center Senior Scientist Jing Li. 

While the successful candidate will primarily be engaged in research, all University of Washington faculty engage in teaching, research and service. A transition to permanent staff following the completion of the post-doc appointment is possible subject to availability of funds and the demonstration of an interest in developing independent research initiatives during the course of the post-doc appointment.  Opportunities to collaborate with scientists across NASA ARC, APL and the UW campus provide access to a broad range of disciplines, cultures and academic backgrounds both during the post-doctoral research and as a permanent member of the staff.

APL-UW serves society by contributing new knowledge and technology to the national defense enterprise, industry, public policy makers, and academia. The Laboratory’s broad and deep experience in undersea science and technology is a significant reason why APL-UW is one of only five Department of  Defense-designated University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs) having long-term, large-scale,  formal connections to the U.S. Navy. 

The University of Washington is located in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, with a dynamic,  multicultural community of 3.7 million people and a range of ecosystems from mountains to ocean. The  University serves a diverse population of 80,000 students, faculty and staff, including 25% first-generation college students, over 25% Pell Grant students, and faculty from over 70 countries. The  University promotes diversity and inclusivity among our students, faculty, and staff and the public; we seek applicants who are committed to these principles. Thus, we are strongly seeking applicants whose research, teaching, and/or service have not only prepared them to fulfill our commitment to inclusion but have also given them the confidence to fully engage audiences in higher education from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. 

The position offers salary commensurate with experience, as well as the University’s excellent comprehensive benefits package to include health/vision/dental plans including spouse, domestic partner and/or dependents. Details are available at: Benefits Summary for Faculty with Appointments of 9 - 12 Months.

To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Lowell Jones at 206-221-9071 or

Candidates should submit their application including the following information:

(1)    A curriculum vitae including list of publications,
(2)    A letter of interest detailing skills, experience, and qualifications for this project (no more than 2 pages, excluding bibliography and figures).
(3)    The names of four individuals who can provide a letter of reference.