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Fusion Plasma Facing Materials - Senior R&D Staff

Date: Sep 7, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4723 


We are seeking a Senior R&D Staff Member to develop the foundations of an experimental materials program focused on plasma facing materials based upon state-of-the-art fusion materials science. This position develops and leads research projects to understand the materials response to intense plasma exposure and additional harsh operating environments anticipated in fusion reactor plasma facing components. This effort will be part of ORNL’s extensive fusion science and technology team that spans multiple directorates, and will be directly tied to ORNL’s future plasma materials interactions efforts enabled by the Materials Plasma Exposure Experiment (MPEX) program. The position will develop and employ cutting-edge materials science tools to advance science of plasma-materials interactions and, ultimately, impact the development of fusion power plants to enable a low carbon future.  The ideal candidate will have interest and experience in one or more of the following topics:

  1. Interactions between fusion boundary plasma and plasma-facing materials/components with an emphasis on the effects of intense plasma exposure on the near-surface phenomena in solid materials
  2. Synergistic effects of combinations of plasma exposure, neutron irradiation, ion implantation/deposition, high temperature, high heat flux, evolving stress, and corrosive environment in materials and/or material systems
  3. Development of innovative refractory alloys, refractory metal composites, ultra-high temperature ceramics, refractory ceramic composites, and component made of such materials for use in fusion energy
  4. Design, development, and execution of materials science research using existing and future linear plasma devices
  5. Development and advancement of evaluation methods for plasma-interactive evolutions and damages in fusion plasma-facing materials
  6. Interactive approach of experiments and computational modeling in understanding behaviors of fusion plasma-facing materials in experimentally inaccessible conditions


The position resides in the Advanced Nuclear Materials (ANM) Group, Materials in Extremes (MiE) Section, Materials Science and Technology Division (MSTD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  The position will closely interact with Fusion Energy Division (FED) staff and the FED Plasma Materials Interactions Science Lead.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Lead development and execution of materials science research in the area of plasma-materials interactions in support of ORNL Fusion Energy Sciences and other programs
  • Lead new research and development proposals in areas of plasma-interactive materials, plasma-facing component materials, and related materials science to potential sponsors
  • Coordinate and/or conduct laboratory experiments
  • Communicate and coordinate experimental results with other organizations to facilitate collaborations
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Help ANM and related Groups strengthen scientific competency through mentoring and interacting with other members
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics



Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Materials Science or a related discipline
  • Requires a minimum of 6 years relevant experience after a PhD
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience


Preferred Qualifications:

  • An outstanding record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Demonstrated success in proposing research
  • Demonstrated extensive knowledge regarding current fusion materials science research and underlying principles
  • Experience studying plasma-interactive effects in materials utilizing conventional and advanced methods
  • Experience studying microstructures, microchemistries, and mechanical, physical, and thermal properties of engineering materials
  • Deep knowledge of lattice defect production, evolutions, and interactions and their correlations with properties in crystalline solids
  • Experience writing successful proposals to government sponsors
  • Experience mentoring early to mid-career researchers and advising graduate students
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative and frequently interacting teams of researchers
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Special Requirements

Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to  Please include the title of the position in the subject line.


Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position.


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville