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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Catalytic Chemist

Date: Jul 8, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 5829 


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will focus on measuring and analyzing reaction kinetics and mechanisms of surface chemistry relevant to the catalytic conversions of alkanes and oxygenates.  This position resides in the Surface Chemistry and Catalysis (SCC) Group in the Chemical Transformation Section, Chemical Science Division, Physical Science Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


Under general supervision, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will conduct research on conversion of small oxygenates and possibly alkanes with the goal of correlating surface reactions with surface properties of complex oxides and supported metals. The incumbent will work in close collaboration with other researchers involved in a Basic Energy Sciences (BES) funded project on Fundamentals of Catalysis and Chemical Transformation. The SCC group conducts research on catalytic conversion of oxygenates and alkanes over heterogeneous catalysts, with focus oncomplex oxide catalysts and supported metal catalysts.  Primary research interests are focused on mechanistic understanding of coupling reactions, deoxygenation reactions, dehydration reactions, and dehydrogenation reactions,  with the goal to reveal the fundamental properties of oxide surface and metal to metal oxide interfaces that control the reaction pathways.  The overall approach includes experimental and computational studies of kinetics and reactivity, spectroscopic identification of surface reactants under in situ and operando conditions, and synthesis of model catalysts as an approach to understanding structure-function relationships in catalysis.  Arrays of techniques for characterizing physical and catalytic properties are in place or are currently being developed within the group. This research program also takes advantage of resources at ORNL and in particular at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and neutron scattering at the Spallation Neutron Source. The environment at ORNL is highly collaborative and crosscutting research exists between the Chemical Sciences Division and other Divisions at ORNL.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

Perform reaction kinetics measurement using micro-reactor systems for gas phase heterogeneous catalytic reactions.

Perform adsorption calorimetry study to probe adsorption energetics.

Analyze experimental data collected for kinetic and mechanistic understanding.

Responsible for presenting and reporting research results and publishing scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner.

Participate in proposal development.

Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements.

  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D in Chemical Engineering,  Chemistry, Materials Science or a related discipline completed within the last 5 years. 


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of heterogeneous catalysis, and a demonstrated expertise in studying reaction kinetics and mechanisms of heterogeneous catalytic reactions
  • Experience in performing in situ/operando surface spectroscopic study of catalysts including but not limited to IR and Raman
  • Experience in chemical synthesis of catalytic materials including but not limited to oxide and supported metal catalysts
  • Experience in performing chemical kinetic modeling of catalytic reactions by fitting or simulations.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • 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


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 up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.


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.

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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.

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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.

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