Postdoctoral Research Associate - Analytical Development and Operation Group

Date: May 26, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 10837 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Analytical Development and Operation group in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Division, National Security Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 


The successful candidate will perform use-inspired basic and applied research that advances our understanding of fuel cycle materials’ properties—chemical, physical, and compositional—with an emphasis on process-related observables. The PD Associate’s primary role will be to develop insitu experimental techniques to characterize signatures of composite material evolution from fabrication to failure. A broad spectrum of analytical interests is required to tackle the following area of study.

  • Polymer composite investigations: This position entails the fabrication, characterization, and testing of composite materials to understand the failure of these composite in harsh environments. Advanced mechanical and chemical characterization of the composite materials both in-situ and ex-situ is expected including characterization of gaseous by-products during fabrication and during chemical, mechanical, and thermal perturbations. Duties will include integrating off-gas, surface, and solid phase chemical composition analysis using hyphenated gas chromatography–mass spectrometry methods with the group’s work in advanced microchemical analysis methodologies, including various diffraction and vibrational spectroscopic techniques. Contribution to other projects within the division is expected.
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Analytical Chemistry, Applied Physics, Materials Science, or a related field with experience in mechanical testing and mass spectroscopy completed within the last 5 years.
  • Familiarity with carbon fiber composites in a directed research environment.
  • Experience with composite material mechanical and spectroscopic testing and characterization.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated record of scientific output in the form of peer-reviewed publications.
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory.
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in one or more hyphenated mass spectrometric techniques, including:
    • Gas chromatography, thermal desorption/pyrolysis MS
    • Quadrupole, time-of-flight, and/or ion trapping MS
  • Experience with:
    • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
    • Thermal gravimetric analysis-mass spectrometry (TGA-MS)
    • Raman and Infrared (IR) spectroscopy
    • Roll-to-roll composite fabrication
  • Experience with data analysis, machine learning, and relevant good coding practices (e.g., Python, R)


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at

Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.

Other benefits include Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.


Special Requirements:

Q Clearance: This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a 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.


Visa Sponsorship:

Visa sponsorship is not available 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