Postdoctoral Research Associate - Grazing Incidence Small-Angle Neutron Scattering for Soft Matter

Date: Sep 8, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11590 


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 to develop grazing incidence small-angle neutron scattering (GISANS) and apply it to cutting-edge research in polymers and soft materials.


The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High-Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) are world-leading facilities and the scientific center of a diverse, international, and inclusive neutron scattering community.


In this position, you will be part of a multi-disciplinary and multi-institution team developing GISANS at the EQ-SANS instrument of the Spallation Neutron Source for studying polymer and soft matter thin films.  In particular, you will lead the development of a sample environment for GISANS suitable for investigating time-dependent processes, such as thermal or vapor annealing, in polymer thin films.  You will have the opportunity to participate in experiments using GISANS. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Conduct high-quality research using GISANS scattering to study polymers or soft materials.
  • Develop a sample environment suited to studying polymers and soft matter using GISANS.
  • Assist in the development and preparation of beam time proposals.
  • Participate in an inclusive work environment for a diverse community of users, staff, postdocs, and students.
  • Report and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Present results at international scientific conferences and meetings.
  • 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, applied physics, chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A basic understanding of x-ray or neutron scattering
  • Experience with grazing incidence x-ray or neutron scattering is highly desirable
  • Experience with thin films of polymers or other soft materials is highly desirable
  • A working knowledge of Python for data reduction and analysis is desirable 
  • A motivated, self-starter that has the ability to work independently, as well as to participate creatively in collaborative teams
  • A demonstrated ability to communicate research results in peer-reviewed publications
  • The ability to work within a multi-disciplinary team environment on scientifically challenging problems
  • 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 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