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Research Associate - X-ray/Neutron Scattering Geochemist

Date: Feb 23, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 10214 


The Geochemistry and Interfacial Sciences (GIS) Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is seeking an expert in application of X-ray and neutron scattering, spectroscopic and/or microscopy methods to measure the structure and reactivity of minerals, amorphous solids and liquids of geochemical interest.  The GIS resides in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


The Geochemistry and Interfacial Sciences Group, Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), is seeking an early career staff member to conduct fundamental studies to understand the structure and reactivity of crystalline phases, amorphous materials, and species dissolved in solution using advanced in situ characterization methods. The candidate should have a geochemical or related background and extensive experience with X-ray/neutron scattering, spectroscopic and/or microscopic approaches that provide atomic- to nanometer-scale information.  These include, but are not limited to, pair distribution function measurement, time-dependent X-ray diffraction, quasi-elastic neutron scattering, small angle scattering, crystal truncation rod measurement, atomic-force microscopy and related techniques. The candidate should also have experience in methods for analysis and modeling of the scattering data as well as theories used to interpret results, such as crystal nucleation and growth. Experience in synthesis methods for geomaterials will be considered a plus (such as high quality mineral or amorphous phase synthesis).  The candidate will be expected to work within a highly collaborative team environment both within ORNL and with our partner institutions.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Quantify atomic structure and reactivity of minerals, amorphous phases, nanoporous geomaterials, and liquids under ambient and elevated temperatures and pressures using synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction, pair distribution function analysis, quasi-elastic neutron scattering and other methods.
  • Reduce and analyze the data obtained in the experiments discussed above.
  • Apply theoretical models of geochemical processes to interpret the data.
  • Utilize microscopy, spectroscopy and analytical equipment to characterize natural and synthetic samples
  • Conduct syntheses of mineral, amorphous material and other samples
  • Independently formulate reseach approaches to complex problems in geoscience and collaborate with staff and postdocs on research projects
  • Meeting sponsor expectations 
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Contribute new ideas to the program and contributing to the development of new proposals for funding
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Geological Sciences, Geochemistry, or a related discipline within in the physical sciences


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Expertise in neutron and X-ray scattering approaches which includes but are not limited to, pair distribution function measurement, quasi-elastic neutron scattering, and inelastic neutron scattering
  • Expertise in data analysis of scattering data
  • Expertise in geoscience
  • Expertise in characterizing minerals, amorphous phases and solutions by a variety of analytical methods including BET, TGA-MS, TEM, SEM, EDX, and calorimetry
  • Experience synthesis of high quality crystalline mineral samples and amorphous phases.
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals is required. 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • Experience in proposal development and leading research projects
  • Self-motivated, safety conscious, and capable of innovative, independent research resulting in peer-reviewed publications.
  • Ability to set priorities, multi-task and adapt to changing needs
  • Ability to work in a collaborative team environment


Special Requirements:

Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position.  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.


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.

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