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R&D Associate - Autonomous Synthesis of Nanomaterials

Date: Nov 16, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9520 


We are seeking an R&D Associate Staff Member to support and drive research into automated and autonomous synthesis of nanomaterials. The specific focus will be to develop routes using machine learning and automation, to enable autonomous synthesis on platforms such as chemical flow reactors or thin film synthesis tools.  This will be used to enable the growth and optimization of molecules, polymers and/or thin films, and to better understand growth dynamics and kinetics. In this role, you will work to develop and implement both the hardware synthesis platforms, as well as incorporate machine learning algorithms at the edge, to create experimental workflows that discover fundamental insights into composition-processing-structure-property 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 experiments to enable rapid optimization on synthesis platforms and improved mechanistic insights.  This position resides in the Data NanoAnalytics group, Theory & Computation section, at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS), Physical Sciences Directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Contribute to an expanding research effort in autonomous synthesis of materials using automation of synthesis platforms, machine learning, and incorporation of edge computing
  • Work as part of a dynamic team conducting research that advances and develops cutting-edge synthesis and characterization capabilities to improve our understanding of growth mechanisms and processing-property relationships in materials relevant for microelectronics, quantum information, and opto-electronic applications
  • 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 automating a nanomaterials synthesis platform, such as molecular beam epitaxy, pulsed laser deposition or chemical flow reactors
  • Familiarity with implementing and deploying automated and/or autonomous systems in scientific workflows
  • Experience in data analysis using Python


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with automating steps in synthesis platforms
  • Experience with data acquisition and control systems hardware and software such as Labview
  • Ability to connect different scientific characterization tools into one software ecosystem
  • 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