UTSI Post Doc Research Associate - CEAR Research

Tullahoma, TN

University of Tennessee Space Institute

Post-Doctoral Research Associate
CEAR Research Group
University of Tennessee Space Institute

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunity Supporting electric micro-propulsion research

The CEAR research group at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) is seeking one exceptionally qualified candidate with expertise in one or more of the areas of experimental electric propulsion, ionic liquid propellants, cubesat subsystems, ultrafast laser microfabrication, and materials characterization, to help advance and execute the group’s growing research program focused on electric micro-propulsion for cubesats.

Position description and requirements:

The position is currently open and requires excellent technical capabilities and strong interpersonal skills to facilitate engagement with a diverse group of collaborators, sponsors and students, and the ability to execute multiple projects in parallel. The position is for a limited duration period of 12 months with an option to extend for an additional year. Direct experience across one or more of the following areas is highly desirable:

  • Experimental electric propulsion or other plasma applications
  • Ionic liquids
  • Cubesat subsystems and technology
  • Ultrafast laser microfabrication
  • Materials characterization

Eligible candidates will have completed (in the last 3 years) or will soon complete (within 6 months) a doctorate in Aerospace, Materials or Mechanical Engineering, or similar technical discipline. Salary is competitive and commensurate with the requirements of the position and the applicant’s experience. Tennessee has no state income tax and has a moderately-low cost-of-living. All applicants must be able to work in an environment conforming to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) requirements.     

Computational and Experimental Aerospace Research Lab:

The Computational and Experimental Aerospace Research Lab (CEAR) group, through the exploration of modern computational and experimental techniques, is dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge in the study and application of compressible and high-temperature fluid dynamics, plasma dynamics, diagnostic techniques, and advanced manufacturing that enables these areas.  CEAR has extensive experience in electric propulsion, including novel electrospray concepts for micro-propulsion applications. CEAR members also have vast experience with ultrafast laser fabrication of microfluidic devices for numerous applications.  The CEAR group has conducted research and development projects, with total funding exceeding $5M, that produced 73 M.S. and PhD degrees, and more than 26 journal papers and 57 conference papers.

Center for Laser Applications:

CEAR performs part of its research in the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) Center for Laser Applications (CLA). CLA is a Tennessee Higher Education Commission Center of Excellence and receives an annual grant of over $800,000 for center operations. The CLA supports the research of 11 UTSI faculty members and their graduate research assistants (UTSI students), post-doctoral fellows and research associates. CLA has 4 senior full-time technical staff dedicated to providing technical support to all research activities. The CLA houses an ultrafast-laser microfabrication laboratory inside a 576 ft2, class 1000 cleanroom. Micromachining operations are supported by two independent laser sources: a Coherent RegA 9000 Ti:Sapphire amplified femtosecond laser and a 20 W Amplitude Systèmes TANGERINE laser. The lab also houses a 10-8 torr vacuum chamber with Oriel 18011 Encoder Mike motorized 3D stages and high-voltage electrical feedthroughs used for fine electrical measurements and delicate electrospray tests under vacuum. In terms of materials characterization, the CLA has a Jeol JSM-IT700HR scanning electron microscope, various optical microscopes, including a Leica DMV6 digital microscope, a Rigaku SmartLab X-ray Diffractometer, a EA161 potentiostat by eDAQ for low voltage current-voltage measurements, amongst other instruments.

The University of Tennessee Space Institute:

The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) is a graduate education and research institution situated on 376 acres in Tullahoma, TN adjacent to the Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC). Since UTSI’s inception in 1964, over 2,700 graduate degrees have been awarded, including more than 265 doctorates and MS degrees for 9 astronauts. UTSI alumni have become company presidents, chief scientists, engineering managers, and renowned scholars and scientists. Tullahoma is in southern, middle Tennessee and is less than 75 miles from three neighboring major cities: Nashville, Chattanooga, and Huntsville, AL.

The UTSI campus is one of the most beautiful in the country, located on a peninsula surrounded by one of the regions many lakes. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound, including outstanding hiking, camping, fishing, and golf.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Applicants must apply online through the UTSI Employment website
http://www.utsi.edu/about/campus-services/human-resources/employment-opportunities/. Click on “External Applicants” in the right-hand column. Specify search criteria by entering Tullahoma in the Location box. Click on position to view job description and/or apply. External candidates must create a new account to apply.

Potential candidates must attach the following documents to their online application: (1) an introductory letter that includes a statement on the candidate’s ability to work in an ITAR environment, (2) a Curriculum Vitae, (3) a short statement of professional interests & future goals, and (4) the contact information for three references.

Screening of applicants will begin immediately and will continue until the position has been filled. Please direct any questions regarding this position to the University of Tennessee Space Institute Human Resources office by phone (931) 393-7226 or email hr@utsi.edu.


The University of Tennessee Space Institute is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status.


Posted: 05/26/2022