Share this Job

R&D Associate - Polymer Synthesis and Characterization

Date: Mar 7, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 10004 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking an outstanding Research Professional with experience in polymer synthesis and characterization to work with our team to bolster leadership in understanding the synthesis, function, and integration of unique soft materials into next generation energy technologies. The position resides in the Macromolecular Nanomaterials Group, Nanomaterials Synthesis Section at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). You will be involved in developing a research portfolio in polymer systems and working with CNMS users to investigate non-equilibrium phenomena and transport behavior in unique polymer materials, including solid state and solution properties. Polymer synthesis is crucial to this endeavor, providing the basis for experimental investigation of how polymers with specific composition and conformation behave under changing conditions, at interfaces, and within complex material systems.  Projects will require creative solutions for synthesizing unique homopolymers, block copolymers, polyelectrolytes, and macro-initiators. Experience in deuteration capabilities is a plus.   The ideal candidate should have strong communication and project management skills to complement their scientific and technical expertise in polymer synthesis and characterization. Projects will take advantage of unique capabilities and collaborations within CNMS and ORNL’s Neutron Scattering Directorate.


As part of our research team, you will be working with a highly interdisciplinary team of scientists at the CNMS and across other ORNL divisions, including the Chemical Sciences Division, with complementary expertise in neutron scattering experiments (neutron reflectometry, small-angle neutron scattering, and neutron spin-echo).


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Involved in developing a robust research program that highlights unique avenues for the synthesis of organic polymer and small molecules through addition, condensation, and living polymerization reactions
  • Characterization of materials using NMR, GPC, MALDI, IR, Raman, light scattering, etc. moving toward the integration of characterization and synthesis approaches within flow reaction systems, and ultimately autonomous experimental platforms
  • Design experiments and plan research projects with new polymers having complex composition and conformations, as well as deuterated polymers, nanomaterials, and hybrid materials 
  • Present and report research results and publish in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Chemistry, Polymer Physics, Materials Science, Physics, or a closely related science discipline


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A strong background in polymer synthesis with knowledge and interest in the development of flow reactions
  • Experience in basic chemical characterization including gel permeation chromatography (GPC), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), light scattering, thermal characterization, and viscoelastic measurements
  • Familiarity with anionic polymerization, microscopic and spectroscopic characterization of mesophases, and multi-phase phenomena in micelles, particles, and solid-state
  • A record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals and/or conference presentations
  • The ability to be a self-starter, to work independently, and to participate creatively in a collaborative team environment
  • Proven ability to function well in a dynamic research environment, set priorities, multi- task, and adapt to ever changing needs


Special Requirements:

Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position.


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, 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