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Thin Section Lab Technician

Contract Type: 

SCI Earth&Atmospheric Sciences
Competition No.  -        S107933769
Posting Date  -        Sep 06, 2017
Closing Date  -        Nov 10, 2017
Position Type  -        Full Time - Operating Funded
Salary Range  -        $54,531 to $74,751 per year
Grade  -        09
Hours  -        35

This position offers a comprehensive benefits package which can be viewed at: www.hrs.ualberta.ca.

The Thin Section Lab Technician is responsible for quality control, the safe and efficient operation of the Thin Section Lab (TSL) and the production of research-quality thin sections and grain mounts of a wide variety of  materials.  The preparation of thin sections and grain mounts is a critical stage for petrographic analyses in research and teaching, and especially on high end instruments such as the Ion Probe, EMPA, Laser Ablation ICPMS, and Fluid Inclusion Microthermometric systems.The incumbent works closely with lab managers and research technicians from the various lab and research groups within the department and University to determine quality and type of section required.


    Produces specialized thin sections for teaching, research and industrial use; examples are: fluid inclusion thin sections, electron microprobe and ion probe mounts, specialized sections for laser ablation and custom one-off specimens
    Prepares samples; grinds, cleans, mounts, and stains rock specimens as well as a variety of man-made and experimental materials (e.g. metals, soils, ceramics, archaeological samples, and organics such as bone, teeth, wood)
    Produces polished blocks for non-petrographic specimens and prepares rocks and a variety of other material for study purposes using ultra-fine and micro-precision saws
    Operates a wide variety of specialized precision petrographic equipment used in the production of thin sections
    Researches methodologies for unique samples and adapts/modifies existing techniques or develops new thin section techniques to meet research demands (i.e. when working with rare/one-off samples such as lunar and Martian rock samples where there is no known protocol); develops new methodologies
    Trains students and staff to use the equipment and to become self sufficient in the common techniques; assesses that person's ability to use the precision equipment; ensures safety procedures and regulations are adhered to, etc.
    Maintains an inventory and tracks program for the tabulation of samples and their progress
    Identifies required supplies and laboratory equipment; determines when to have equipment serviced or to service it in house
    Holds biannual seminars for graduate students on thin section preparation, how to select samples and what kinds of preparatory techniques are required by the various analytical instruments
    Supervises students (undergraduate and graduate) conducting sample preparation in the TSL; trains and supervises graduate students who wish to use the departmental diamond polishing laboratory
    Enforces safety regulations in the lab, performs lab husbandry, conducts routine maintenance and calibration of the specialized precision instruments
    Establishes client schedules and workflow; produces invoices for client billing


    Minimum Specialized Technical Diploma in the preparation of micro-geological samples from institutes such as the Walter-Gropius-Berufskolleq, or NAIT equivalent, in Physical Sciences complemented with training in thin section preparation
    Minimum 4 years of training/experience in an established geological thin section laboratory and specific training/experience in instrumentation are required to be proficient at the craftsman level or a qualified machinist with experience working in or knowledge of the earth sciences
    Basic knowledge of geology/ minerology
    In depth knowledge of the specific sample preparation requirements that are prerequisites for the various analytical techniques available in the department
    Demonstrated competency using a wide range of rock cutting and preparation equipment
    Proficiency in repair and routine maintenance of grinders and rock saws, able to mill discs
    Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with people with diverse knowledge bases
    Working proficiency using spreadsheet software (Excel) and database applications (Access)
    Excellent verbal and written communication skills
    Knowledge of WHIMIS and Safety

To assist the University in complying with mandatory reporting requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (R203(3) (e)), please include the first digit of your Canadian Social Insurance Number in your application. If you do not have a Canadian Social Insurance Number, please indicate this in your application.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Note: Online applications are accepted until midnight Mountain Standard Time of the closing date.
Mary-Jane Turnell, Assistant Chair
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3


We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those individuals selected for an interview will be contacted.

The University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.


Employer Company: 
University of Alberta

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