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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Ceramic Processing

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Date: Dec 8, 2018

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 182 

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will focus on/research the synthesis, grain boundaries and processing of lithium containing ceramics.  We are specifically interested in diverse candidates with experience in ceramics but not necessarily batteries. As a postdoc, you will be developing unique science directions, under the supervision of the PCM Team, related to understanding the synthesis of ceramics with low temperature ionic conductivity.  Specific areas include nucleation and growth from the solution, plasma or solid precursors, evaluation of grain boundaries and influence on ionic transport, studying interfacial reactions, and ceramic/polymer interactions.  Furthermore, the position requires collaborating and interacting with staff at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Science involved in electron microscopy.  These science directions will support the development of the individual, improving their marketability, and ensure their development as a scientific leader. This position resides in the Physical Chemistry of Materials (PCM) Group in the Chemical Science Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). 

As part of our research team, you will characterize the growth of conducting ceramics. Many of these materials must be prepared at low temperatures to maintain stoichiometry but still obtain high densities.  The nucleation and growth under these conditions is unknown.  We are focused on exploring these processes and developing fundamental insights to these materials related to defects, local crystal structures, grain boundaries, and transport.   The candidate will be expected to work on the synthesis of the materials and understanding how synthesis conditions impact the resulting materials properties.  Synthesis methods include but are not limited to physical vapor deposition methods, traditional solid-state synthesis, and solution phase processing.  Candidates will learn/apply neutron and x-ray scattering to this problem as well as spectroscopy, such as Raman and infrared, and collaborate with electron microscopy experts. Other characterization studies will be implemented as appropriate for the materials including resistivity, photoelectron spectroscopy, ion transport, and NMR.

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Study nucleation and growth of ceramic ion conductors at low temperatures
  • Evaluate grain boundaries and changes in grain boundaries
  • Ion transport measurements
  • Design and evaluate special cells required for in situ diffraction/spectroscopy studies
  • Coordinate research with other team members inside and outside ORNL
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • 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 Ceramics, Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics or a related discipline completed within the last five years

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with analytical analysis tools (ICP, AA, etc)
  • X-ray and/or neutron scattering experience
  • Experience with ceramic processing
  • Experience with glove boxes and air sensitive materials
  • Valid driver’s license or the ability to obtain a driver license within 10 days of arriving to operate DOE vehicles on-site.
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • 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:
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.

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



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.

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