Postdoctoral Research Associate - Growth Mechanisms of 2D Materials & Nanomaterials

Date: Jul 2, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12554 


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will focus on performing controlled synthesis and understanding growth mechanisms of 2D materials and heterostructures, especially transition metal dichalcogenides.  Our team uses bottom-up synthesis techniques including CVD, MOCVD, and PECVD, coupled with in situ diagnostic methods to characterize both the growth environment and the emerging nanomaterial structure for their applications in microelectronics and quantum information science. This position resides in the Functional Hybrid Nanomaterials (FHN) Group in the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS), Physical Sciences Directorate, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


As a postdoc, you will work within a research team at the CNMS that is focused on the synthesis and control of heterogeneities in 2D materials across length scales. Several methods are employed, including traditional approaches such as CVD, PECVD, MOCVD, but also novel, nonequilibrium approaches for bottom-up and top-down growth and doping such as pulsed laser deposition (PLD) and laser processing within optical microscopy environments or within electron microscopes, where control over the kinetic energy of precursor species or pulsed photolytic processes are used to synthesize and process nanomaterials with metastable phases or intermediate states that are predicted to have novel functionalities.  You will also work with the project team to set up and automate CVD systems within situ diagnostics for precision synthesis of 2D materials with real-time adaptive control. The novel materials synthesized in this project will be collaboratively shared with a wide variety of electron microscopists, ultrafast spectroscopists, device experts, and quantum information scientists to explore their functionalities across a wide spectrum of capabilities being developed at ORNL.


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: 

  • Utilize bottom-up growth methods available within the FHN group, such as CVD, PECVD, or PLD with in situ diagnostics, to grow novel nanomaterials, predominantly atomically thin 2D materials, and employ typical methods for their transfer and characterization. 
  • Work with the microscopy group staff at CNMS to perform in situ laser processing and thermal heating in the electron microscopes to investigate the growth mechanisms and phase transformations of 2D materials at the atomic scale.
  • Write and publish high-impact journal papers, and present results at technical conferences, for sponsors, and other audiences.
  • Interact and collaborate across ORNL, with researchers from universities, DOE national laboratories and user research centers and private industry.
  • 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, Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.
  • Experience in epitaxy growth (CVD, MOCVD, CVT, PECVD), transfer, and characterizations of 2D layered materials and their heterostructures, such as TMDs, graphene, and h-BN.
  • Experience in experimental data acquisition and processing for materials’ assessment.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in 2D materials synthesis, characterization, and transfer techniques.
  • Experience in advanced electron microscopy and spectroscopy methods.
  • Experience in time-resolved in situ (principally optical spectroscopy) diagnostics to characterize the growth conditions and nanomaterial structure in real time, including software development for automated data acquisition and analysis.
  • Experience in laser-material interactions.
  • Experience with computer-aided data acquisition and equipment interfacing, preferably via Python, but also MATLAB, LabVIEW, Comsol, etc.
  • Strong communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills.
  • Record of publications/patents relevant to the position.
  • 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.

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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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville