Research Associate - Advanced Detectors

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) is a major new scientific user facility for nuclear science, funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), Michigan State University (MSU), and the State of Michigan, with operations supported by the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. FRIB will provide intense beams of rare isotopes (that is, short-lived nuclei not normally found on Earth). FRIB will be operational in 2022. Presently, experiments are performed at MSU at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) supported by the National Science Foundation. NSCL accelerates stable and long-lived rare isotopes. FRIB and NSCL will continue to enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of these rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society.

At FRIB, rare-isotopes beams will be produced and separated in-flight, and subsequently thermalized and reaccelerated to energies up to 6 MeV/u, by the ReAccelerator facility ReA3, a worldwide unique, state-of-the-art accelerator for rare-isotope beams. An upgrade to higher energies (ReA6) is presently under construction. Presently stable and long-lived rare isotopes are accelerated at NSCL. When FRIB comes online, it will provide the highest possible intensity rare isotope beams as input to the ReA facility.

This position affords an exciting opportunity to become part of the world-class FRIB Laboratory, and to get in on the ground floor of an emerging scientific user facility that will expand nuclear science into a whole new realm of possibility.

Position overview

The position resides in the Beam Instrumentation and Measurements Department and supports FRIB operations and advanced detector research and development. FRIB invites applications from outstanding candidates for a fixed-term Research Associate (Postdoctoral Researcher) who will work in the Detector Group led by Professor Marco Cortesi. Renewal of appointment is possible – subsequent appointments are subject to funding and satisfactory performance evaluations. Besides the excellent research environment, the FRIB Laboratory offers a strong program for mentoring postdoctoral researchers in preparation for the next steps in their careers. You can read more in the postdoc mentoring plan. Postdoctoral researchers play a role in running the Laboratory, from leading forefront research to serving on important committees. They help supervise students and, for those interested, there are opportunities to engage with teaching and outreach.

Major position responsibilities

  • Work within the framework of the FRIB detector lab
  • Fabricate, optimize, and maintain detector systems for operations and nuclear physics experiments
  • Support the development and R&D of new detector systems
  • Perform research and development projects to enhance the performance of the facility



  • A PhD in physics or chemistry in the area of nuclear, particle, or high energy experimental physics, or PhD in physics and engineering of radiation detection
  • Experience with construction, development and operation of particle and radiation detectors such as ion chambers, gas proportional counters, position tracking detectors, scintillators and related optical readout technologies, solid-state silicon and HPGe detectors.
  • Basic knowledge on vacuum technology and related instrumentation
  • Individuals should be self-motivated and able to work well independently, within a team and in large collaboration.
  • Solid verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work with export controlled technologies.


  • Operational experience with larger detector setups in experimental devices, including detector maintenance and data acquisition
  • Printed Circuit Board schematic capture and layout experience (Altium software or alike), and mechanical design software (i.e. SolidWorks)
  • Experience supporting scientific research programs
  • Monte Carlo simulation packages (Geant4, MCNP, etc.)


MSU employees receive excellent benefits including health/dental plans, a generous retirement plan, and educational assistance.

How to apply

For immediate consideration, please visit and search for posting number 692133 and follow the application process. In the cover letter of their application, applicants must highlight their interest in and experience/expertise related to the open position in the operations department of Professor Cortesi. Applicants must provide a curriculum vita including a complete list of publications and presentations. Applicants must also provide contact information for at least three letters of recommendation.

MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.

About FRIB and MSU, and the East Lansing community

FRIB construction is nearing completion. Upon start of user operation in 2022, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications of rare isotopes to benefit society.

MSU is a member of the prestigious Association of the American Universities, a group of 65 universities widely regarded as among the top research-intensive institutions in North America. MSU is among the 100 Best Global Universities, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2021 rankings. MSU’s nuclear physics graduate program is ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of graduate schools.

MSU is one of the largest university campuses in the U.S. with a beautiful campus of 5,300 tree-filled acres. It has 17 degree-granting colleges and is a center for academic and research activities as well as the arts and athletics.

The campus sits between Lansing (Michigan’s capital city) and East Lansing. The Lansing area has a population of more than 460,000 and offers lovely suburban areas, loft condos and other urban living opportunities as well as easy-to-get-to rural areas. A symphony orchestra, excellent health care, many community and professional theatres, rivers, lakes, outdoor festivals, close access to large cities and Lake Michigan make for a near-perfect living environment. named Lansing as the most affordable city on its 2018 Best Affordable Places to Live list and one of the 2020 Top 100 Best Places to Live. East Lansing is one of the Best Places to Live according to the 2019 ranking by Okemos is No. 1 in the 2020 Best Places to Live in Michigan ranking.

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.