RESEARCH ENGINEER – RESEARCH SCIENTIST – SURFACE ENGINEERING & MATERIALS Southwest Research Institute Southwest Research Institute 137 reviews

Join the Surface Engineering and Materials Chemistry within the Materials Engineering Department! Our group applies coatings or surface treatments to enhance the optical, chemical, electrical, mechanical, or structural properties of a substrate.

Objectives of this Role:

  • Perform experiments in material synthesis and characterization, thin film coating fabrication, process optimization and development
  • Have strong laboratory skills and ability to develop and execute cross-cutting chemical, physical, and analytical techniques to meet program development goals for advanced materials and thin films
  • Be a solution-oriented problem solver that exercises creativity and independent judgment in determining approaches to solve a wide range of technical problems with moderate supervision
  • Write technical reports, papers, and technical presentations for management and clients
  • Prepare white papers, proposals, and promotional presentations for existing and new clients
  • Occasional travel to client sites may be required (domestic and international)
  • Work with potential clients to generate new research and development projects

Daily and Monthly Responsibilities:

  • Perform engineering/scientific research and investigations to support projects across a wide range of industries to include oil and gas, aerospace, defense, medical, and energy
  • Provide analytical and experimental support to more than one project in a team environment, which can include literature reviews data collection, synthesis, characterization, and testing
  • Interpret and present results to project team and clients in a concise and clear way
  • Interrogate results for reliability and provide troubleshooting support with a firm understanding of theories and concepts
  • As needed, learn new technical skills to complete project work and develop new materials and processes


  • Requires a PhD with a 3.20 GPA in Chemistry, Physics, Material Science or related engineering disciplines
  • 0-5 years: Experience with material synthesis and surface treatment processes, such as physical vapor deposition, magnetron sputtering, chemical vapor deposition, atmospheric pressure plasmas, thermal plasma spray, and chemical synthetic methods
  • 0-5 years: Knowledge of material & surface characterization techniques and ability to interpret data from these tools
  • Strong mathematical & data analytics skills as applied to the synthesis of hypotheses and results
  • Ability to adapt in environment where project priorities change quickly
  • Experience solving problems in more than one of the following thrust areas: thin film optics, hard coatings, polymeric materials, nanomaterials, thermal barrier coatings
  • An interest and/or experience in working with designing/assembling vacuum/electronics hardware
  • Ability to work in project team environments and independently
  • Experience using software for design and analysis (CAD, SolidWorks) plus knowledge of programming languages (Fortran, C, Java, Python) and instrument control software (LabView) is a plus
  • A valid/clear driver's license is required

Special Requirements:

Must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident due to ITAR work in section.

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