Director of Materials Engineering

Modern Electron has an immediate opening for an Director of Materials Engineering. A highly qualified Director of Materials Engineering is needed to work on the product R&D team, and will be responsible for leading a small team in optimizing materials science and chemistry processes for the company’s groundbreaking energy generation technology. Particular focus will be on development and optimization of reliable chemical processes and coatings for performance and lifetime, integrating those materials and processes with other parts of the technology, and ultimately scaling from prototype to manufacturing. You will lead a team of materials scientists, engineers, chemists, and physicists, and work closely with mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and technicians. You will report directly to the CTO.

Modern Electron is a start-up company dedicated to generating cheap, modular, and reliable electricity. Expensive mechanical engines and turbines based on 19th-century technology still generate the majority of the power used worldwide. We seek to replace them with paper thin heat-to-electricity generators. >$20MM venture capital is committed to our vision. We have enormous potential for learning, impact, and growth in a small and collaborative team setting.

  • Direct R&D and prototyping for materials and chemical process development
  • Interface closely with other engineering groups to ensure integration of your team’s deliverables with the product as a whole
  • Communicate engineering progress and issues to the CTO
  • Recruit and hire top engineers and scientists for Modern Electron’s materials engineering group
  • Manage direct reports including:
    • Development and communication of job descriptions and responsibilities
    • Mentoring, coaching, training, and performance evaluation
    • Maintaining a positive workplace atmosphere for all employees
  • As needed, contribute hands-on to designing and characterizing processes and materials


  • Engineering team management experience with a track record of problem-solving and success
  • Astute people management abilities
  • Impeccable organizational and project management skills
  • Subject matter expertise in physical chemistry, surface chemistry/physics, vacuum science, and/or thermionic, reactor/vapor/vacuum tool design, and low work function materials.
  • For instance, the ideal candidate will have hands-on experience with:
    • vacuum science (e.g. kinetic theory of gases), surface chemistry, and surface kinetics.
    • Process development for low work function (alkali) materials and/or thin films (cesium, cesium vapor, sodium vapor, etc.), and integrating those processes into products such as photocathodes, night-vision goggles, sodium vapor lamps, atomic clocks, or other vacuum electronics.  
    • Design and engineering of chemical reactors, etching systems (e.g. reactive ion etch), chemical vapor deposition systems, etc.
    • Design, purchase, assembly, integration, and operation of high vacuum or ultra-high vacuum equipment and/or vapor-phase reactors, and improvements/maintenance of these systems.


Demonstrated industrial experience leading a team to integrate chemical processes or new materials with a product, interfacing with neighboring engineering groups, and bringing those processes from prototype to market. At least 15 years of post-bachelor experience with vacuum science, surface chemistry/physics, vacuum electronics, vapor system design, people management, and project management.


We are an equal opportunity employer

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