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R&D Associate - Autonomous Scanning Probe Microscopy

Date: Nov 16, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9519 


We are seeking an R&D Associate Staff Member to support the development and application of methods for automated and autonomous experimental workflows on scanning probe microscopes (SPMs). The specific focus will be to develop methods for controlling and understanding optical, opto-electronic, and electromechnaical functionality of materials at the nanoscale by developing autonomously steered SPM platforms that can unearth mechanistic insights. In this role, you will work to develop and implement machine learning and Bayesian optimization algorithms on the microscopes, interfacing with edge computing where necessary, to create experimental workflows to enable fundamental insights into nanoscale structure-property-transport relationships. You will also interact closely with theory and simulation colleagues to implement theory-experimental matching on-the-fly with integrated feedback to both theory and experiment.  This position is located in the Data NanoAnalytics Group, Theory and Computation Section in the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS), Physical Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Contribute to both CNMS user and theme efforts in advanced scanning probe microscope control, feedback, and automation methods
  • Work as part of a dynamic team conducting research that advances and develops cutting edge characterization capabilities to improve our understanding of nanomaterial transformations from experiments, theory, and simulations
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner


Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry, or closely related field
  • Strong background and hands-on experience in scanning probe microscopy
  • Familiarity with implementing and deploying automated and/or autonomous systems in scientific workflows
  • Experience in data analysis using Python


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with multiple atomic force microscopy platforms
  • Experience with data acquisition and control systems hardware and software such as Labview
  • Ability to work well in a dynamic research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever-changing needs
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research shown by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience


Letters of Recommendation:

Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to  Please include the title of the position in the subject line.


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, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Disability Benefits, 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.


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