Postdoctoral Research Associate - In situ Neutron Scattering of Energy Materials

Date: Jun 27, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 13116 


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 in Powder Diffraction Group who will develop in situ diffraction capabilities for neutron diffractometers at SNS and HFIR, including POWGEN & NOMAD at SNS and HB2A POWDER & HB2C WAND² at HFIR. The Powder Diffraction Group resides in the Neutron Scattering Division (NSD), Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). More details about the instruments and their scientific impact can be found at,,,


The Postdoctoral Research Associate will focus on scientific projects to advance our understanding of energy materials critical for carbon neutral technologies, under realistic conditions. You will work as part of a team whose interest include, but are not limited to, charge-discharge process in batteries, adsorption behaviors of MOFs & zeolite and gas-solid interaction in heterogeneous catalyst.


In this role, you will: (1) Develop in situ capabilities for neutron scattering instruments at POWGEN/NOMAD at SNS and POWDER/WAND² at HFIR, (2) Perform elastic and inelastic neutron scattering measurements on relevant powder samples under in situ conditions, (3) Combine neutron scattering data with complementary techniques at ORNL, to understand the structure-property relationship of energy materials critical for carbon neutral technologies.


This work will be conducted with close interaction and collaboration with other scientists within Neutron Scattering Division, with opportunities to work with collaborators in a stimulating multidisciplinary environment across ORNL. The prospective candidate will also have the opportunity to develop their own science using the proposed sample environments.


Neutron Sciences Directorate:

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 intense 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 unique facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Contribute to the design, construction, and commissioning of sample environments for in situ/operando neutron powder diffraction of materials for gas storage, chemical separation, energy storage, and catalysis, using powder diffractometors at both the SNS and HFIR.
  • Perform neutron scattering experiments that focus on in situ/operando investigations of energy materials.
  • Reduce, analyze, and interpret the data obtained.
  • Publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner.
  • Present results from this research at national and international meetings.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • 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 material science, chemistry, chemical engineering, condensed matter physics, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with neutron and/or X-ray powder diffraction and structural analysis.
  • Experience with energy storage and conversion materials (e.g., Li/Na/Mg/Zn ion batteries, all solid state batteries).
  • Background in porous materials and heterogeneous catalysis research
  • Experience with gas/vacuum manifolds.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • A strong record of research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences. 
  • 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.


Other Requirements:

  • Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position.
  • If you are selected for interview, you may be required to submit a minimum of 2 letters of recommendation.


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:

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  • 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.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at


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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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville