NUANCE Senior Electron Microscopy & Imaging Specialist

Job ID #: 
Job Summary: 

Senior Microscopy & Imaging Specialist primary responsibilities include designing and delivering the training of new SEM (scanning electron microscope) users, supporting their skill development; providing technical support and collaborative assistance to users on their projects; maintaining the facility and instruments, and performing analysis for external users.  The EPIC (Electron Probe Instrumentation Center) facility includes five SEMs (with varying accessories and capabilities including EDS, WDS, EBSD, lithography systems, hot/cold stages, etc.), four TEMs and one FEI dual beam FIB.



  • Designs all training programs and educational materials
  • Trains new SEM users on instrument use and lab safety: train small groups of new users, giving them the opportunity to operate the microscope and support equipment independently. 
  • Provides high level training with advanced users in techniques such as EBSD and WDS. 
  • Instructs on safe practices in operating instrument and in lab. Monitors all users for safe and appropriate instrument and lab use; addresses any improper instrument usage, research-safety, and risk-management concerns.
  • Reviews and updates existing materials for SEM lab sessions and other users.
  • rials for equipment usage including written documents as well as video modules.     
  • Develops instructional mate

Technical Support

  • Provides technical support for all SEM users, including undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, faculty and external users. 
  • Conveys instructions clearly to a large number of diverse users with all levels of experience. 
  • Supports all users on SEM-related instruments in Sample Preparation Facility (SPF), and other equipment as necessary.  


  • Maintains SEM equipment and the lab area in good condition; works with instrument vendor service staff to maximize instrument “up time” to promote high level of service to the facility users. 
  • Assists supervisor in preparations for laboratory instruction for undergraduate and graduate courses;
  • Continuously monitors and tracks the proper function and reliability of the SEM and related sample preparation instruments; places service calls promptly and tracks completion of attendant repairs and maintenance; develops and maintains systems for communicating instrument status to facility users and management staff.  
  • Conducts tours and demonstrations for internal student and faculty groups, industry representatives, prospective students and faculty, faculty and groups from other universities, and other visitors; prepares lab and materials ahead of such tours; represents Northwestern University according to the stated research and education mission to the public in this outreach function.
  • Prepares publication quality images and other materials (posters, etc.) for education, outreach, and facility visibility; assists in educating existing and potential users on the applications and benefits of specific instruments and the shared university facility in general.
  • Schedules lab sessions for student groups. Prepares appropriate samples for lab sessions, and performs other activities in support of the efficient use of limited time-periods available to work with users from classes.
  • Performs services including: sample preparation, SEM imaging, microanalysis and data analysis for both internal (Northwestern) and regional external (academic, non-profit, industry and government representatives) researchers who may not be trained to use a specific instrument or interpret the resulting data). Follows all National Science Foundation guidelines for working with regional external users.


  • Performs other duties as assigned.
Job Qualifications: 

Minimum Qualifications: (Education, experience, and any other certifications or clearances)

  • Associates in Materials Science, Engineering or equivalent technical training in science/engineering discipline.
  • Interest in instrumentation and microscopy.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Customer focus – going out of the way to be helpful and pleasant while striving to meet all users’ needs
  • Communication – ability to speak and write clearly and accurately while keeping others informed
  • Collegiality – team oriented, promoting a positive work environment while building stron working relationships;
  • Coachability – receptive to feedback and embracing an environment of continuous improvement
  • Strong computer skills and knowledge of basic science principles.
  • Ability to work with complex machines and teach skills to others

Preferred Qualifications: (Education and experience)

  • Bachelors in Materials Science, Engineering or related discipline.
  • One-year experience in a technical position.

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Efficiency – ability to plan ahead, manage time well and suggesting ideas to improve processes
  • Initiative – taking ownership of work, acting without direct supervision and implementing systems to ensure follow through
  • Leadership – ability to set clear expectations, monitoring and reviewing progress while providing feedback and guidance to colleagues
  • Minimum + knowledge of materials science and engineering principles at college graduate level, including some background in nanotechnology. 
  • Ability to instruct others on instrument use, scientific principles, and safety and desire to work with laboratory instruments. 
  • Demonstrated ability to learn new information quickly and to be able to assimilate it into a base of knowledge.
Employment Status: