Postdoctoral Research Associate - Quantum-enhanced Scanning Tunneling Microscopy

Date: Nov 9, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11834 


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 looking for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Quantum Heterostructures Group. In this role, you will conduct research at the intersection of quantum information science and fundamental materials science. You will investigate nano- and atomic-scale textures of superconducting, topological, and magnetic materials, utilizing novel Josephson, Andreev and spin-sensitive modalities of scanning tunneling microscopy, including active development of these techniques. One strong scientific focus is on the emergence of spontaneous time-reversal symmetry breaking in candidate topological superconductors, combined with the studies of vortex dynamics and vortex manipulation in unconventional superconductors.  You will have access to a sub-1-K STM microscope, and closely collaborate with the optical microscopy effort that utilizes mK-platforms for optical interrogation of quantum systems. This position resides in the Quantum Heterostructures Group, Materials Science and Technology (MST) Division, Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

The expected duties and responsibilities include some but not necessarily all the following: 

  • Participate in research probing Andreev reflection and Josephson current on atomic scale.
  • Probe symmetry of superconducting order parameters in controversial and emerging superconductors.
  • Explore nanoscale textures of order parameter and vortex lattices in topological superconductors.
  • Develop new atomic-scale approaches to probe magnetic textures of van-der-Waals magnets and emerging topological materials.
  • Maintain and perform research with sub 1K scanning tunneling microscope.
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely fashion.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • Work with others to maintain a high level of scientific productivity.
  • 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, materials science, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.
  • Previous research experience in experimental quantum information or quantum materials science.
  • Strong command of Python and data analytics techniques.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Extensive experience with scanning probe, scanning tunneling microscopy and UHV hardware.
  • Extensive experience with cryogenics.
  • Strong programming and data visualization skills.
  • A strong record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at major conferences.
  • Ability to work with a measure of autonomy, but also in a team environment to interact effectively with your colleagues, develop new collaborations to improve scientific understanding, and accept flexibility in research assignments.
  • Familiarity with numerical data analysis and customization of control software (Labview/Matlab/Python).
  • 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 when applying for this position.


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