Postdoctoral Research Associate - Energy Conversion Materials and Transport Properties

Date: Sep 18, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11676 


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.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will join the Nuclear Energy Materials Microanalysis (NEMM) Group in the Materials in Extremes Section in the Materials Science and Technology Division (MSTD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  The position will focus on material synthesis and characterization related energy conversion such as thermoelectrics and transport properties of materials for nuclear batteries.


As part of our research team, you will conduct materials science research related to material synthesis, thermal and electrical properties measurements and other characterizations. An important aspect of the research will be generating a mechanistic understanding of various properties-to-microstructure relationships.  Experience with materials processing, characterization, and utilization of thermophysical properties in modeling and simulation is preferred.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Synthesize semiconductor compounds and alloys and optimize their transport properties
  • Coordinate and conduct experiments on thermophysical properties and electrical properties of various energy-related materials
  • Use range of other material characterization techniques to complement techniques in transport properties
  • Develop mechanistic understanding and models for materials used in high temperature applications
  • Design and build prototype energy conversion devices for performance evaluation. Work with staff researchers to maintain and operate microscopy capabilities in MSTD
  • Communicate and coordinate experimental results with other organizations to facilitate collaborations
  • 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
  • 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 Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Applied Physics, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • A minimum of 2 years of experience in research on relevant topics


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience with materials processing, characterization of materials, specifically in thermophysical properties and electrical properties
  • Demonstrated hands-on experience and understanding of thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, heat capacity, thermal expansion, electrical conductivity and/or other transport properties and application of these techniques to materials related to energy conversion and efficiency
  • Experience with data acquisition software such as LabView
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • Knowledge of thermoelectric materials, their transport properties, and measurements
  • Knowledge of materials processing such as alloys and semiconductor compounds
  • Knowledge of instrumentation and measurement techniques of thermal diffusivity and thermal conductivity
  • Knowledge of finite element analysis (FEA) modeling and simulation
  • Knowledge of imaging processing using tools such as MATLAB
  • Knowledge of engineering design and device prototyping
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated 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 provide a list of publications and submit two letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload your letters of reference 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:


Special Requirements:


Visa Sponsorship:

Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


Export control, no clearance:  This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.



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