1+ months

Nanofabrication Laboratory Associate Director

USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Los Angeles, California 90089
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time
  • Shift
    1st Shift

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering (VSoE) John D. O’Brien Nanofabrication Laboratory in the basement of the Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences (MCB) is a 10,000 square foot, class 100/1000 state-of-the-art, newly constructed cleanroom. It will provide USC Faculty and Researchers with a World Class Facility for Micro and Nanofabrication of devices, circuits and material synthesis and will have applications in Engineering, Biosciences, Material Science, and Physics.

Initially, under direction of the MCB Faculty Cleanroom Director, the Associate Director will be responsible for planning and coordinating with an experienced cleanroom consulting company and USC project personnel on the layout of facilities and equipment in the completion of the MCB cleanroom. This includes the responsibility for moving existing tools from the current cleanroom, installing them, and verifying proper operation. The Associate Director will also be responsible for selecting, procuring, and installing new equipment based on faculty and user input and funding opportunities. During this transition period, the candidate is expected to work with University Administration, cleanroom staff, and USC safety and fire personnel to set up SOPs for all cleanroom operations and assist in training and moving the user base into the new lab.

In the future, the Associate Director is responsible for coordinating and managing the day-to-day operations of the shared resource facility, including supervision of technical staff, ensuring the lab equipment remains in excellent working conditions, coordinating training activities, and maintaining laboratory safety and up-to-date standard operating procedures. This position reports to the MCB Faculty Cleanroom Director.

The Associate Director is also the primary point of contact for collaborative efforts with other University resources that complement the clean room such as USC’s Imaging Laboratory (CNI) as well as the teaching cleanroom.

The Associate Director also supports the University’s academic mission such as helping develop lab activities, tours, and workshops requiring use of cleanroom.



Under the guidance of the MCB Faculty Director, the Associate Director will coordinate with the consulting company, USC Capital Construction, cleanroom personnel and users to insure a smooth and efficient transition to the new clean room. This includes:

  • Verifying that the equipment tool list and infrastructure support equipment meets Faculty and Lab User needs
  • Adjusting tool layout for processing efficiency and maintaining cleanroom integrity.
  • Planning and managing tool movement from the old cleanroom accounting for user needs, new facility readiness and resource availability.
  • Evaluating and recommending new equipment based on faculty and lab user needs.
  • Proposing an initial tiered recharge rate strategy for equipment access
  • Coordinating the installation of selected equipment.
  • Setting up SOPs and training programs for all users.


Over the transition period to the new MCB space, the Associate Director will assume responsibility for the following duties:


  • Provide direct technical support for difficult and complex scientific problems as needed. Bring in outside help if necessary (e.g. vendor, other University etc)
  • Provide long-range planning for processes and equipment to be acquired, including novel process techniques, new equipment trends, etc.
  • Attend appropriate conferences and workshops to keep current with technical and lab management trends and network with other cleanroom laboratories (e.g. UGIM).


  • Help develop staffing plan, interview and evaluate best candidate(s) to hire and bring them onboard.
  • Support and recommend extra training for career staff (e.g. sending engineers to Triple Beams conference, special SEM vendor training courses etc). Provide mentoring for less experienced staff.
  • Assign projects and process/equipment responsibility to 3-5 engineers and administrative staff.
  • Monitor performance, progress and problems in each equipment/engineering area. Take corrective action where necessary.
  • Provide performance evaluations, assign work duties and arrange training. 
  • Initiate and support equity increases and reclassifications for outstanding performers.


  • Assist in writing and submitting annual cleanroom budget including recharge rates, hiring plan and raises, capital spending plan and projected revenue.
  • Review and analyze monthly income and expenditures and adjust if necessary e.g. defer upgrades.
  • Supervise and review monthly accounting including data collection and invoicing for USC and external users.
  • Report to and coordinate with oversight committee for modifying and justifying recharge rates.


  • Help formulate and audit safety procedures specific to the cleanroom in consultation with EH&S and VSoE management.
  • Supervise calibration of toxic gas monitoring system and handle associated problems.
  • Become familiar with and monitor lab support systems including DI water system, exhaust scrubbers, high purity nitrogen, Toxic Gas Monitor etc. Interface with Facilities, Vendors and University as needed for adjustments, repairs, upgrades etc.
  • Oversee safety training and related procedures to insure effectiveness and compliance with broader OSHA and University requirements.

New Equipment Planning & Acquisition

  • Survey new equipment, processes and research trends in consultation with MCB Faculty Director and Faculty users.
  • Evaluate and select best vendors, equipment and options based on test runs, on-site equipment inspection and customer references.
  • Plan and supervise all aspects of equipment and process installation including facilities and space requirements, Health & Safety issues, compatibility with clean room and other process equipment.
  • Verify equipment performance and process integrity.
  • Review procedures, documentation and training plans.
  • Resolve any equipment problems with vendor.
  • Assist in adjusting recharge rate for equipment, as needed.
  • Assist in preparing proposals to internal and external funding opportunities for new equipment

New Customer Solicitation & Account Set-up

  • Assist in preparing marketing materials e.g. blurbs, posters etc
  • Participate in initial talks with prospective customers to insure our capability matches their needs.
  • Advise potential customers on technical approach.
  • Provide price quote and cost estimates.
  • Schedule training and walkthroughs.
  • Assign staff engineers to help train and assist new customers.
  • Supervise monthly invoicing and resolve customer issues, e.g. late payment, poor process results, change in technical approach, etc.


  • Graduate Degree in EE, Material Science, Physics or equivalent strongly preferred.
  • At least 10 years of experience in cleanroom technology, process development and device fabrication preferred. Five years or more of industry experience is preferred.
  • Superlative communication (verbal and written) and personnel skills related to supervising professional engineers, technicians and student helpers as well as interfacing directly with faculty, external customers, and School Administration.
  • Ability to clearly summarize and report complex plans and technical decisions to management and faculty.
  • Thorough understanding of clean room technology, vacuum physics and microfabrication processing including thin film deposition, optical and electron beam lithography, reactive ion etching and inductively coupled plasma etching, rapid thermal annealing, LPCVD film growth, scanning electron microscopy and a number of common metrology techniques such as spectrophotometry and ellipsometry.
  • Clear understanding of cleanroom safety requirements, including industry-accepted safety standards, handling and storage of toxic gases and dangerous chemicals, high voltage/current systems, high temperature systems, etc.
  • Ability to develop budget projections and manage annual budgets without cost overruns or significant errors.
  • Good analytical and troubleshooting skills including ability to use a wide range of metrology and diagnostic tools such as leak detectors, oscilloscopes, SEMs to assist staff in solving difficult technical problems.
  • Good organizational skills to plan for and hire the appropriate engineer for each process area. The ability to retain highly skilled engineers who are being recruited by local industry.
  • Ability to attract outside industry as customers, collaborators and/or benefactors.

Only applications with resume and cover letter will be considered.

USC is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.


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Nanofabrication Laboratory Associate Director

USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Los Angeles, California 90089

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Nanofabrication Laboratory Associate Director

USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Los Angeles, California

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