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STS Powder Diffraction Scientist

Date: Sep 13, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830-8050

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 6548 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks a powder diffraction scientist to lead the construction of the VERDI instrument for the Second Target Station (STS) project. The STS is a >$1Billion, Department of Energy project to be constructed at the ORNL Spallation Neutron Source (SNS).  The STS will provide entirely new capabilities for studying a broad range of materials with neutron scattering and support thousands of users from the physical, materials, and applied sciences and industry. The science capabilities provided by the instrument suite at the STS will complement those of the two existing DOE Office of Science neutron scattering user facilities at ORNL, the First Target Station (FTS) of the SNS, and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). The STS will deliver the highest peak brightness of cold neutrons globally, which together with advances in neutron optics, instrumentation, and detectors, will ensure US leadership in neutron scattering for decades to come. The STS instrument systems group's goal is to design and deliver an initial suite of STS neutron instruments with transformative new science capabilities. More details on the STS and the eight project instruments can be found at



STS Instrument scientists will work closely with the user community, other instrument scientists, technology experts, engineers, and project specialists to develop the science case, physics and technical designs, scope, cost, and schedule associated with new instruments at the STS. This position will support the design and construction of a polarized powder diffractometer (VERDI) instrument through the application and development of advanced instrument simulations capable of modeling fine details of representative real world samples. This position will lead a team responsible for the final design, fabrication, installation, and testing of the STS VERDI instrument. This position has the primary responsibility to ensure that the scientific requirements established for the new instrument are enabled by the instrument physics design and achieved in its construction. Engagement in individual and collaborative scientific research focusing on the neutron scattering capabilities in combination with other unique resources ORNL has to offer, and the publication of scientific results is expected.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:
Has the primary responsibility to lead the design and delivery of a world-class instrument at the STS.

    • Develop and mature physics and technical concepts for the VERDI instrument, including modeling instrument performance using appropriate simulation tools. Represent the instrument in appropriate venues, including workshops and reviews
    • Develop and expand tools used to model neutron instrument performance with particular emphasis on simulating realistic samples in realistic environments, verify predictive capability through testing on existing ORNL neutron instruments
    • Advance the state-of-the-art by collaborating in the development of new neutron technologies (e.g. advanced detectors, optics, sample environments) and methods (e.g. polarization and advanced analysis)
    • Pursue an individual program of high-quality scientific research that uses the neutron scattering instruments at ORNL
    • Publish results in scientific journals, conference proceedings, and ORNL technical reports as appropriate
    • Ensure and monitor compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements. Promptly identify ESH and QA issues and communicate them to project management, ESH and QA contacts, and/or subcontractor contacts as appropriate
    • As a member of the ORNL scientific community, you will be expected to commit to ORNL's Research Code of Conduct. Our full code of conduct and a statement by the Lab Director's office can be found here:

Basic Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in physics, chemistry, materials science, or a closely related discipline
  • A minimum of 2 years of research experience using neutrons and neutron scattering techniques
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • A strong record of scientific publication
  • Must be available for some domestic and international travel


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in physics, chemistry, materials science, or a closely related discipline
  • A minimum of 5 years of research experience using neutrons and neutron scattering techniques
  • Experience in the use of neutron instruments to produce scientific results as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications
  • Experience in design and/or major upgrade of instruments at a spallation neutron source using Monte Carlo/ray-tracing methods for instrument optimization
  • Demonstrated success in working with a multi-disciplinary team in a dynamic research environment
  • Proficiency with modern programming environments such as Python, other scripting languages, and/or C/C++
  • Familiarity with the US Department of Energy expectations for the management of construction projects 


Work Direction and Interface:

Position reports to the STS Instrument Systems Science and Technology Manager. Works closely with scientists, engineers, and technical staff within the STS project and collaborates with scientists in other ORNL divisions and relevant external institutions.


Measures of Effectiveness:

  • Timely completion of neutron instrument simulations demonstrating expected performance
  • Ensures science requirements for STS instruments are enabled throughout the design, construction, and testing phases of the assigned instrument
  • Preparation of technical reports
  • Publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Invited talks at national and international conferences and workshops
  • Successfully represents STS at reviews and other project meetings and workshops


Relocation:  Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.
For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at


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.

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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.