Cyclotron Road Applied Research Fellows

2015-2016 Applied Research Fellow Samuel Hanson (B.S. polymer chemistry, University of Southern Mississippi) at his fume hood in the Molecular Foundry.

2015-2016 Applied Research Fellow Samuel Hanson (B.S. polymer chemistry, University of Southern Mississippi) at his fume hood in the Molecular Foundry.

Cyclotron Road provides a home for top entrepreneurial researchers developing hard materials and manufacturing innovations that are too early to pursue in the private sector. Our goal is to help these projects achieve focused technology development objectives in a discrete period of time to facilitate the transition from lab to market.

The program presents an exceptional platform for the educational and professional development of scientists and engineers interested in advanced energy technologies.

The Cyclotron Road Applied Research Fellowship Program provides a mentored opportunity for pre-doctoral scientists and engineers to apply their education in support of a commercially oriented R&D project. Through participation in this program, participants will:

  • Work directly on a mentored R&D project with one of our third cohort of companies.
  • Apply their scientific and engineering expertise to help solve critical technical development challenges identified by Cyclotron Road projects.
  • Gain deep insight into applied R&D and technology commercialization through educational programming and hands-on experience.
  • Help develop innovative technologies that have the potential to positively impact the US economy, environment, and society.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Bachelor's or Master’s degree held for less than five years in a field of science, engineering, or other highly quantitative field such as mathematics.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have Permanent Resident (Green Card) status, if a foreign national.
  • Post-doctoral candidates are not eligible for this program

Ideal candidates will:

  • Have shown superior academic performance
  • Have a strong technical background and practical experience working in a lab
  • Enjoy challenging conventional wisdom to seek innovative solutions
  • Think independently from first principles to solve difficult problems
  • Have strong analytical, research and communication skills (oral and written)
  • Thrive in a fast-paced startup environment by readily adapting to changing needs
  • Work well in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team
  • Be interested in translating research into a commercial product
  • Have a passion for making a positive impact in global energy use

Other important information:

  • Although located at Cyclotron Road in Berkeley, this program is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) in collaboration with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. Fellows will become administratively associated with Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) through a signed letter of appointment.
  • This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or covered veteran's status.

Stipend and benefits:

Selected participants will receive a stipend as support for their living and other expenses during this appointment. Stipend rates are determined by DOE officials and are based on the candidate’s academic and professional background. Fellows will also be eligible to receive a health insurance allowance and reimbursement for travel expenses. Because this is an educational fellowship, the stipend includes an allowance for conference attendance and travel.

Start date and term length:

Selected participants will be working as affiliates at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Fellows are expected to begin their appointment in early September 2017. Slight adjustments to the start date may be considered on a case by case basis. Appointments are for exactly one year from the start date.

Review criteria:

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of their academic and research record, interest and opportunity for educational growth in applying their technical skills and knowledge to a Cyclotron Road project, and potential for making contributions to the project for which they are applying. Project Leads for each available project opportunity (contact information below) will be asked to submit a letter of endorsement for individual candidates to the Cyclotron Road program team. Review of applications and endorsements will be conducted by the Cyclotron Road team and final selections will be made by the DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, the sponsor of the program.

how to apply

1. Review program description and eligibility requirements above

2. Review project opportunities below. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Project Leads for specific opportunities to indicate their interest in applying.

3. Click here* to submit an application for up to three specific project opportunities of interest

*By clicking on the link above you will be directed to a form to submit your application. If you encounter any problems with this form, or have questions about the application process, please email beth [at] cyclotronroad [dot] org. 


Project Opportunities

  1. Astrileux – Next generation semiconductors

  2. Dauntless – Machine learning for Energy Applications

  3. Helux – Redefining illumination

  4. Laminera – Ultrathin conformal synthetic metals

  5. Marigold – Thermophotovoltaics for a distributed power future

  6. Microbyre – Making pets out of bacteria

  7. Nelumbo – Coatings to stop ice formation on heat exchangers

  8. Photia – Holographic lithography for industrial nanomanufacturing

  9. Treau – Thermodynamic things for building heating and cooling

astrileux - Next generation semiconductors

Astrileux is a rapidly growing next generation semiconductor company. The successful applicant will characterize new nanoscale materials using world class facilities at LBNL, ALS Beamline and Center for X-ray Optics, and the LBL Molecular Foundry, helping to integrate them in the next three generations of technology (7 nm node) at the leading edge of the semiconductor industry. We hope to provide the candidate with an exciting opportunity to be part of an early stage company with great market impact, and a chance to see their work implemented at forefront of science, and globally proliferated in a dynamic next-generation industry.

Astrileux is the winner of the 2016 Materials Research Society iMatSci Competition and the winners of the Semicon West 2015 Innovation Award. Astrileux is also working with CASIS, managers of the International Space Station on projects relating to electronics manufacture in space.

As an Applied Research Fellow, you will:

  • Work in state of the art nano-characterization facilities, and other measurement laboratories at LBNL using high end characterization tools and the synchrotron beamline.
  • Perform characterization measurements using TEM/SEM/AFM and spectral measurements at the synchrotron.
  • Execute data analysis, including business presentations for customers, and other related business operations activities

We are looking for:

The ideal candidate will be an outstanding research/industry oriented engineer/scientist who desires an exciting opportunity measuring new nanoscale devices at 10 nm and smaller. They are a highly motivated individual, and self-starter, with a desire to achieve high value results. In particular, they will have:

  • Strong experience with one or more Nanocharacterization tools e.g. TEM/SEM/XRD/XPS/AFM/Spectral measurements, including sample preparation and data analysis.
  • Experience with Nanofabrication equipment, working in a clean room is preferred.
  • Master’s degree Chemistry/Chemical Engineering/Material Science/Physics/Engineering is preferred, but we will also consider applications from strong candidates with B.S degrees.
  • Strong communication skills, especially in data presentation and analysis.

Project Lead contact information:

Supriya Jaiswal (info [at] astrileux [dot] com)

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dauntless - Machine learning for Energy Applications

At we believe Machine Learning (ML) is the key to solving many complex energy challenges society faces today.  To realize ML’s potential, we’re building a collaborative platform that connects ML to real-world energy systems, with target applications that span a spectrum from advanced combustion to nuclear fusion.  Our focus is on making ML technology easy-to-use, in the control loop, and fast (response times needed for some energy applications are on the order of 5-100 microseconds).  A two-minute demo of our technology applied to near chaotic combustion that’s ~20% more efficient than conventional combustion is available at

As an Applied Research Fellow, you will be responsible for:

  • Collaborating with researchers at Berkeley Lab on a variety of energy applications
  • Developing advanced machine learning algorithms for real-time control
  • Building the software / hardware tools needed to connect to real-world energy systems
  • Running modeling and control experiments on target applications

We are looking for:

Candidates should have a B.S. or M.S. in control systems, computer science, electrical engineering, physics, mathematics, mechanical engineering, data science, or similar fields.  Candidates with a background in computer programming using real-time C / C++, assembly code, JavaScript, and/or GPUs are preferred.  Experience designing and building embedded electronics is a plus.

Project Lead contact information:

Adam Vaughan (adam [at] dauntless [dot] io)

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helux - Redefining illumination

Solid state lighting has caused a paradigm shift in the lighting industry. However, the growth of the technology has surpassed our understanding of its effect on human health, productivity, and the environment. We are developing a micromirror that, when combined with state-of-the-art solid state lighting, electronically adjusts light position, brightness, and illumination area. This level of functionality can reduce energy consumption and have an impact on the well-being of the population by eliminating glare and wasted light.

As an Applied Research Fellow, you may be responsible for:

  • Thin film deposition and optical evaluation of microelectromechanical systems
  • Mechanical stability analysis of micromirror designs
  • Iterating on micromirror designs based on optical and mechanical results
  • Evaluating the performance of advanced solid state lighting sources

We are looking for:

Candidates should have a B.S. or M.S. in materials science, physics, mechanical or electrical engineering, or similar. Candidates with experience in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) design and characterization, and/or optical performance evaluation are preferred. Thin film optical coating experience (theory or experiment) is a bonus.

Project Lead contact information:

Jessica Morrison (jmorrison [at] heluxlighting [dot] com)

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laminera - Ultrathin conformal synthetic metals

Synthetic metals are ceramic materials having conductivity comparable to metals with increased stability and improved fabricability. Ultrathin (<10 nm) and conformal coatings of synthetic metal are possible using atomic layer deposition (ALD)-based techniques and are capable of revolutionizing and enabling future energy storing, capturing, and conserving devices. Laminera is developing state-of-the-art deposition technology for ultrathin conformal synthetic metals and discovering and demonstrating their applications.

As an Applied Research Fellow, you will be responsible for:

  • Developing and optimizing deposition chemistries for synthetic metals such as titanium nitride
  • Fabricating devices (e.g. plasmonic structures, high surface area electrodes)
  • Characterizing deposited materials and fabricated structures/devices
  • Assisting in the design, construction, and optimization of a new ALD tool

We are looking for:

Candidates should have a B.S. or M.S. in materials science, chemistry, physics, or related. Candidates with experience in materials and optical characterization as well as home-built vacuum systems are preferred.

Project Lead contact information:

Lauren Otto (lauren [at] laminera [dot] io)

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marigold - Thermophotovoltaics for a distributed power future

Marigold is developing a platform thermophotovoltaic technology that will deliver cheap, reliable electricity to a variety of distributed power applications. Thermophotovoltaics convert an engineered thermal emission spectrum to electricity via a low bandgap photovoltaic cell. By incorporating high-performance and durable components to our device, Marigold’s solid-state technology will operate efficiently and for long times at power scales that are not achievable with current generator devices.

As an Applied Research Fellow, you will be responsible for:

  • Exploring new photonic designs and experimenting with fabrication methods
  • Collecting optical data on candidate materials
  • Building high-fidelity models validated by experimental results
  • Aiding in mechanical and experimental design

We are looking for:

Candidates should have a B.S. or M.S. in materials science, mechanical engineering, physics, or similar. Candidates with experience in photonics, nanofabrication, thermal engineering, or mechanical design are preferred. Thermophotovoltaic experience is a plus.

Project Lead contact information:

David Bierman: davidbierman34 [at] gmail [dot]com

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Microbyre - Making pets out of bacteria

The vast majority of prokaryotes on the planet cannot currently be cultivated, let alone genetically modified. MicroByre is building a platform for the domestication and subsequent genetic engineering of otherwise reluctant, recalcitrant, and rebellious bacteria. We get them to eat out of our hands.

With friends like these, who needs petroleum? The availability of novel genetically tractable bacteria will finally make the replacement of petrochemicals (very very old biomass) with lawn clippings (very very fresh biomass) an efficient possibility.

This isn’t the synthetic biology you’ve read about. We don’t do Escherichia coli and we don’t do Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We don’t do gene circuits and we don’t do heterologous expression. What we do is engineer naturally cool bacteria to be cooperative, and thus even cooler.

As a Team Member

You would make first contact with a bacteria. That’s right – no one on the planet has ever reported being able to talk to the bacteria you will talk to. You will feed it, listen to it, smell it, feed it something different, kill a whole lot of it, sequence it, feed it some more, ask it to change itself, sequence it some more, feed it something even weirder, watch it produce something amazing, and then realize that you’ve been talking to it for a few months and have deep (and unreciprocated) feelings for it. You will become its biographer. No one will ever love a bacteria as much as you love this bacteria.

Skills you will practice or gain by falling in love with bacteria:

  • Microbiology (sterile technique, media design, fermentation)
  • Molecular Biology (PCR, sequencing, cloning)
  • Synthetic Biology (gene synthesis, genome modeling and design)
  • Chemistry (metabolic engineering, metabolite detection)
  • Computer Science (database design, automation, machine learning)

Join Us!

We are primarily seeking candidates with degrees in biology, molecular biology, or even better, microbiology. Candidates with experience in non E. coli bacteria will be extremely competitive. Candidates with degrees in bioengineering, chemistry, or computer science will be considered if they have experience in biology laboratories. Programming ability is a huge plus.

Team Germ Wranglers:

Sarah Richardson & Margaret Brown

Applied Research Fellow: You?


We entertain all questions at social [at]

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nelumbo - Coatings to stop ice formation on heat exchangers

Nelumbo has developed coating technologies that change the way water interacts with surfaces. Our products can rapidly eject condensate to prevent the formation of ice and save billions of dollars per year in heat transfer inefficiencies. We have demonstrated product at market scale and are moving to install coated heat exchangers for customers in commercial refrigeration.

As an Applied Research Fellow, you will be responsible for:

  • Optimizing materials synthesis conditions to improve product performance and minimize costs
  • Characterizing the materials to quantify the effects of tuning synthesis parameters W

We are looking for:

Candidates should have a B.S. or M.S. in chemical engineering, materials science, or other similar degree with hands-on experimental or tinkering experience. Experience with materials characterization, surface chemistry, condensation heat transfer, and/or refrigeration is a plus.

Contact information:

Lance Brockway (lance [at] nelumbo [dot] io)

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photia - Holographic lithography for industrial nanomanufacturing

Photia Incorporated is developing methods for high-throughput manufacturing of materials with three-dimensional nanostructured morphology. These materials have many applications for sustainable energy technologies including solid state lighting, radiative cooling, photovoltaics, batteries, and lightweight high-strength composites. Our technology will ultimately increase the speed by which such materials can be made by several orders of magnitude compared to conventional photolithography, thereby lowering their cost and enabling their widespread use.

As an Applied Research Fellow, you will: 

  • Process development for holographic lithography
  • Functionalize resist templates (e.g. using atomic layer deposition or electrodeposition)
  • Measuring material properties of resulting composites (e.g. optical spectroscopy)
  • Use lab results to help refine value propositions for potential customers
  • Help test and refine technoeconomic models of holographic lithography.

We are looking for:

Candidates should have a BS and/or MS in materials science, electrical engineering, applied physics, optical engineering, or similar fields. Experience with one or more of the following preferred: optics, holography, photolithography, material deposition and characterization techniques. Experience with optical simulation a plus, but not required.

Project Lead contact information:

Joseph Geddes (jbgeddes3 [at] gmail [dot] com)

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treau - Thermodynamic things for building heating and cooling

Treau is using polymer films to create heat exchangers, compressors, expanders, and various thermodynamic cycles and systems which use them. We currently have two areas of focus. First, we have invented heat exchangers that have equivalent performance with 90% less cost than traditional heat exchangers, in order to make space heating and cooling twice as efficient. Second, we have invented a compressor/expander which operates very near to the isothermal limit (state-of-the-art devices operate near the adiabatic limit).  This ability enables us to create a compressor that uses up to 50% less energy than a state-of-the-art device.

As an Applied Research Fellow, you will be responsible for:

  • Designing and building prototypes
  • Designing and running experiments
  • Performing data analysis and failure analysis
  • Performance modeling
  • System analysis
  • Customer research
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Manufacturing and process development

We are looking for:

Candidates should have a B.S. or M. S. in mechanical engineering, chemistry, materials science, manufacturing, business, architecture, or similar. Candidates with experience in CAD, heat transfer, HVAC, polymer processing, or thermodynamics are preferred.

Project Lead contact information:

Vince Romanin (Vince [at] otherlab [dot] com)

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