Plasma Research Scientist

Date: Feb 4, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12190 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is seeking an outstanding scientific leader with depth and breadth of collaborative, innovative experience to support the Enrichment Science and Engineering Division (ESED) – Stable Isotope Research Development and Production Section (SIRDP) as a Plasma Enrichment Scientist to further advance plasma science behind electromagnetic isotope separation and the plasma separation process.


The Enrichment Science and Engineering Division serves the nation in two critical areas: advancing enrichment technologies and exploring stable isotope production and applications. The division leverages an elite staff of scientists and engineers with the world-leading capabilities of Oak Ridge National Laboratory to deliver groundbreaking advancements with a variety of applications, from national security to life-saving medical treatments.


ESED is the national steward for the research, development, and demonstration of enrichment technologies. ORNL is a recognized leader in centrifuge and electromagnetic enrichment technology. We are the stewards and dispensary of the nation’s stable isotope inventory and have a legacy dating to the late 1940s. This division integrates the full enrichment process from chemical synthesis of feed materials through fabrication of the custom physical forms needed to support the user communities. The successful candidate will plan and conduct research and development (R&D) to strategically advance plasma science and technology to support plasma-based enrichment systems including Electromagnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS). This position is expected to quickly integrate into the existing research team, learn the current state of the art in the ORNL deployed enrichment technologies, and overtime develop into a leader in the field.

Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Design and lead plasma research to advance high mass ion source technology to improve efficiency and stability for production of high value isotopes
  • Design and lead experiments in high current ion beam transport and isotope collection to optimize throughput, while eliminating contamination sources
  • Collaborate with other lead scientists to develop new isotope separation technologies to support the DOE Isotope Program
  • Provide subject matter expertise through troubleshooting and support for plasma-based enrichment production operations
  • Work closely with colleagues and safety professional to ensure safe execution of all aspects of work. We can perform nearly all manners of hazard work as long as it is well planned and properly controlled.

Basic Qualifications and Requirements:

  • This position requires a Ph.D. in plasma physics, ion beam physics, nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, or related fields with a minimum of 2 years relevant experience
  • Ability to generate and deploy new research ideas
  • Experience performing experimental research involving plasma sources and/or ion beams
  • Demonstrated ability to work across multiple fields in a highly collaborative environment
  • Qualified candidates will have a demonstrated track record of integrating basic and applied research in multidisciplinary teams to achieve high impact in their respective fields
  • Qualified candidates will have demonstrated experience in successfully driving diverse R&D teams to solve complex, interdisciplinary problems.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Proven ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to constantly evolving needs
  • Ability to attain a DOE Q Security Clearance

Preferred Qualifications and Research Topic of interest:

  • Experience with high-current, low-energy ion beam accelerators, such as ion implanters
  • Experience with electrostatic and magnetic beam optics
  • Experience with ion source design, testing, and modeling
  • Experience in plasma resonant heating using RF and/or microwave sources
  • Experience with plasma transport in high intensity magnetic fields
  • Experience and/or interest in developing high efficiency ion source technology to produce unique plasmas spanning the periodic table
  • Ability to translate basic physic understanding and observations into experimental design for testing.
  • Mechanical and electrical engineering skills in an R&D environment
  • Familiarity with SolidWorks or other CAD programs
  • Familiarity with multi-physics simulation tools such as Lorentz, ANSYS-Maxwell, OPERA VSIM, or other Finite-element, Boundary element, and Particle-in-Cell (PIC) type electromagnetic simulation codes in an experimentally based research group
  • Experience coupling experimental plasma diagnostic data to complex modeling results
  • Experience in complex plasma chemistry with challenging elements and compounds
  • Experience in isotope enrichment science and engineering


Special Requirements:

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a DOE Q clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.


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.

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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