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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Electrocatalysis

Date: Sep 21, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9092 


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 Surface Chemistry and Catalysis (SCC) Group, Chemical Transformation Section in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The Postdoctoral Research Associate will focus on electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 and associated mechanistic understanding. 


This position is funded by an Energy Research Frontier Center (EFRC) - the Center for Understanding and controlling Accelerated and Gradual Evolution of Materials for Energy (UNCAGE-ME). The goal of this research project is to gain a fundamental understanding of how direct air capture (DAC) contaminants (including SOx, H2S, NOx etc.) impact electrochemical CO2 reduction over Cu-based catalysts. Specifically, how the structure of the electrocatalysts and the surface chemistry of CO2 reduction evolves as a function of the nature and concentration of the contaminants; and if one can take advantage of the rich chemistry of the contaminants to create new chemistry for CO2 reduction. Approaches include both experimental and computational studies of kinetics and reactivity, spectroscopic identification of surface reactants and mechanisms under in situ and operando conditions. Under general supervision, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will conduct research in synthesizing Cu-based electrocatalysts, measuring electrochemistry of CO2 reduction, and conducting in situ measurements for mechanistic understanding. The incumbent will work in close collaboration with the EFRC team members at ORNL and other EFRC PIs, and have opportunities to visit members of other EFRC institutions including Lehigh University and Georgia Tech etc.  This research program will take advantage of resources at ORNL including the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS). The environment at ORNL is highly collaborative and crosscutting research exists between the CSD and other Divisions at ORNL.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform electrochemical kinetics measurements in CO2 reduction
  • Perform electrocatalysts synthesis and characterization, and in situ studies of electrocatalytic CO2 reduction
  • 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 Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related discipline completed within the last 5 years. 
  • Strong background in electrochemistry and electrocatalysis


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of electrochemistry, and a demonstrated expertise in studying electrocatalytic reaction kinetics and mechanisms
  • Experience in performing in situ/operando studies of electrocatalysis
  • Experience in chemical synthesis of catalytic materials including but not limited to metal catalysts
  • 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


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:

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  • 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.


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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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