Postdoctoral Research Associate - Advanced Tokamak Physics Group

Date: Nov 17, 2023

Location: San Diego, CA, US, 92121

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11691 



Work Location: San Diego, CA


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We have a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people! Our vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.


The Advanced Tokamak Physics group of the Fusion Energy Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks candidates for a postdoctoral research position to be carried out at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, CA. The position will focus on scientific investigations of edge and boundary plasma phenomena in a tokamak plasma under the effects of core pellet fueling. These studies will combine leading computational tools for divertor plasma detachment, with the unique experimental capabilities for pellet fueling at DIII-D, to compare the relative roles of core pellet fueling and edge particle sources on the stability and degree of divertor detachment. This work is part of the group’s overall mission of accelerating development of the physics basis for combining a high-performance core and compatible edge solution that are necessary in a burning plasma. The selected candidate will be a member of the ORNL team working at DIII-D and will have a unique opportunity to build strong collaborations with the DIII-D Team and other world-leading institutions. This position is located at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility at General Atomics in San Diego, CA.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Modeling of divertor plasma detachment in the presence of pellet particle sources
  • Development, execution, and analysis of DIII-D experimental studies, including comparisons with simulation results
  • Collaboration with a broad and diverse team including experimentalist and computational colleagues
  • Timely dissemination of research results through publications and presentations at scientific conferences and workshops
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in physics, nuclear engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Strong record of scientific research demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications and presentations at technical conferences
  • Ability to perform independent research with minimal supervision, as well as working collaboratively in a team environment
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Background in plasma physics modeling, in the areas of MHD or boundary/divertor plasmas
  • Experience planning and leading experimental investigations at magnetic fusion research facilities
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


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, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, 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.


If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email:



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: San Diego