Postdoctoral Research Associate - Development of Liquid Neutron Reflectometry Sample Environments

Date: Apr 2, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12807 


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to reside within the Labs and Sample Environment Group, which is part of the Neutron Scattering Division (NSD), Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). NScD operates the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), the United States' highest flux reactor-based neutron source, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the world's most driven pulsed accelerator-based neutron source. Together these facilities operate 30 instruments for neutron scattering research, each year carrying out more than 1,000 experiments in the physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences. HFIR also provides outstanding facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation. To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL, please visit this website:


As part of the team, you will engage in developing neutron reflectometry sample environments for the study of liquid-liquid interfaces using the Spallation Neutron Source' (SNS) Liquids Reflectometer (BL-4B). The main objectives are:

  1. To develop liquid-liquid sample neutron reflectometry (LLNR) cells (with and without movable compression barriers) with the ability to accurately control temperature;

  2. To improve an existing fluid handling system, such that it will minimize any perturbations to the liquid layers; and (3) Optimize sample alignment procedures to improve the intensity of the reflected neutron beam, which will then be implemented into the Data Acquisition Software (DAS). These developments will be conducted in collaboration with BL-4B beamline scientists. The prospective candidate will also have the opportunity to develop their own science using the proposed sample environments.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Develop LLNR sample environments with accurate temperature control.

  • Develop an improved liquid handling system that will enable consistent fabrication of samples under in-situ conditions.

  • Carry out research using the newly developed LLNR sample cells.

  • Publish results in peer-reviewed journals and present at national and international meetings, as appropriate.

  • 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 physics, chemistry, material science or a related field that was awarded within the last 5 years.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in neutron scattering and/or X-ray scattering methodologies.

  • Experience with in Langmuir-Blodgett trough and liquid-air sample preparation.

  • Background in soft materials, such as polymers or lipids.

  • Experience in mechanical design, data analysis and programming experience.

  • A record of productive research, proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences.

  • Strong written and oral communication skills.

  • Motivated individual capable of working independently and in collaborative teams.

  • Ability to set priorities and deliver in a timely manner.


Applicants must have received their PhD less than 5 years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements prior to starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the possibility of a 12-month 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 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


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:


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