Postdoctoral Research Associate - Critical Minerals and Materials Extraction and Processing

Date: Mar 28, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12638 

Overview: 

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate in inorganic or materials chemistry/science who will focus on separation, processing, and characterization of inorganic sorbents for critical mineral extraction from brines, minerals, and recycled lithium-ion batteries. This position resides in the Nanomaterials Chemistry Group in the Separations and Polymer Chemistry Section, Chemical Sciences Division, Physical Sciences Directorate, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  

 

As part of our team, we are seeking an inorganic or materials chemist with expertise in sorbent technology for critical mineral extraction. This project will develop materials and processing technologies that will result in a transformational improvement in battery electrode and rare earth magnetic material extraction methods from naturally occurring concentrated brines, coal and coal ash, minerals and recycled magnets and batteries. Success will enable a fundamental shift in the domestic critical material supply curve while advancing Critical Materials Consortium capabilities in materials extraction from alternative resources—both vital to U.S. economic and energy security goals. This incumbent will work in close collaboration with other researchers from chemical sciences division, manufacturing science division and building and transportation science division. This project will develop materials and processing technologies that will result in a transformational improvement in 3D printing methods and platinum group metal extraction.

 

As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We have a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people! Our vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.

 

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Investigate critical material separation from brine and leachate solution individually and in collaboration with research partners
  • Conduct research in developing novel membrane, solvent extraction, and ion exchange processes targeting high capacity and selectivity for the extraction of battery materials from brines
  • Conduct research in benchmarking newly developed critical material separation processes relative to the current state of the art
  • Research on battery recycling and as well as building efficiency materials
  • Test lithium salts recovered from brine solution in lithium-ion or lithium-air batteries- Use multiple types of techniques for characterization and analysis of membranes and composites including X-ray/neutron powder diffraction, electron microscopy and lithium analysis using ICP, NMR, etc.
  • Collaborate with ORNL postdocs and staff who are involved in the synthesis and characterization of sorbents.
  • Participate in the development of new ideas and projects.
  • 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 commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics
  • 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.
  • 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 inorganic, materials science, or a related field completed within the last 5 years

 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • A strong background in inorganic or materials chemistry or materials physics
  • Experience with 3D printing of materials
  • Experience in critical mineral extraction and characterization methods
  • A strong track record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • 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 for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.

 

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

 

Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

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

 

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.

 

If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.

 

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 ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.


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