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Sample Environment Experimental Physicist

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Date: Aug 15, 2019

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 1538 

Relocation:  Domestic and International relocation assistance is available for this position

Neutron Sciences Directorate is seeking an ultra-low temperature experimental physicist, preferably with experience in neutron scattering, to support sample environment equipment and scientific experiments at a major user facility.  You will have the opportunity to lead and collaborate in the assembly, setup, troubleshooting, testing, repair and operation of liquid helium cryostats, helium dilution refrigerators and cryo-magnet systems.  As a sample environment experimental physicist, you will be designing, testing and prototyping unique sample environments for neutron scattering.  We are seeking a collaborative professional who will be comfortable communicating with scientific staff and outside users and will give excellent face-to-face technical support.  This role will also provide you with an excellent opportunity to collaborate with other scientists and users to present and publish high impact science discoveries.

This position reports to the Low Temperature and Magnets Team Lead within the Neutron Scattering Division Sample Environment Group.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • You will have the opportunity to support staff scientists and user groups to execute experiments to successful completion. Can involve equipment operation and calibration, timely response to emergent troubleshooting situations (often after normal business hours or on weekends) and provide technical guidance and expertise about the sample environment equipment.
  • Analyze hazards associated with the sample environment equipment.
  • Troubleshoot sample environment equipment issues as they arise. Determine which, if any, technical support groups need to be involved, and work with them to resolve the problem.
  • This role places special emphasis on thermometry and operation of ultra-low temperature devices  
  • Analyze and engineer solutions to integrate equipment with the instrument.
  • You will direct craft and technical staff in repair, maintenance, and upgrade activities associated with the equipment.
  • Contribute as a subject matter expert to upgrade design team efforts.  Ensure compliance with ESH and quality procedures and programs.  
  • The SNS facility is in operation 24 hours per day and 7 days a week year round.  You may be occasionally required to provide support during off hours or weekends with little or no notice.
  • 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:

Also responsible for the following routine tasks:

  • Test and prepare sample environment equipment for each facility operating cycle and maintenance period
  • Develop and maintain quick-start guides, guidelines and other documentation on the operation of equipment
  • Maintain inventory consumables and critical spares

Basic Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Physics (low-temperature, magnetism, medium energy or related fields)
  • 2 or more years of relevant experience beyond PhD. 
  • Excellent communications skills (written and verbal), interpersonal skills, ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team environment, and a professional demeanor
  • Ability to work independently, respond to emergent situations, and utilize sound judgment
  • Demonstrated computer literacy, including proficiency in MS Office applications
  • Ability to perform hands-on work to troubleshoot, diagnose, and debug technical equipment and systems
  • Ability to perform tasks which are moderately physically demanding, such as climbing stairs and ladders, safely navigating crowded facilities while pushing or carrying various equipment, and occasionally lifting items weighing up to 30 pounds.

Other Requirements:

  • This position may include limited travel opportunities. 
  • Employment is contingent upon the results of a pre-employment physical exam and drug screen which must be administered and cleared before employment can begin.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated ability with low-temperature cryogenic systems
  • Experience with cryogenic magnet systems  
  • Direct experience working with neutron scattering instruments
  • Experience working within a DOE regulated environment

About Neutron Sciences Directorate:
The Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) operates the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), the United States' highest flux reactor based neutron source, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the world's most intense pulsed accelerator based neutron source. Together these facilities operate 30 instruments for neutron scattering research, each year carrying out in excess of 1,000 experiments in the physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences. HFIR also provides unique facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation. To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL go to:  

Benefits at ORNL:  UT-Battelle offers a quality benefits package, including a matching 401(k), contributory pension plan, paid vacation, and medical/dental plan options. Onsite amenities include a credit union, medical clinic, cafeteria, coffee stands, and fitness facilities.   

Relocation benefits are available for this position:  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 this position. 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.

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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