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Requisition Id 8805 


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 a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Advanced Fuel Fabrication and Instrumentation Group in the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division (NEFCD), Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate (FFESD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The Postdoctoral Research Associate will aid the research staff in understanding the process-microstructure-property relationships of structural material systems for nuclear power applications. Strong materials characterization skills are required.


The AFFI Group applies modern materials science to design, develop, optimize, and test prototypical advanced materials that will accelerate the deployment of higher performance nuclear energy systems. As part of our research team, you will establish a fundamental understanding of how the processing and fabrication of a material impacts the microstructure, macroscopic properties, and performance of structural materials deployed in extreme operating conditions (irradiation and/or corrosion) and develop advanced characterization techniques to achieve these goals. The successful candidate would be responsible for producing material test specimens for irradiation testing and subsequent post-irradiation examination in facilities such as the Low Activation Materials Development and Analysis Laboratory (LAMDA). More generally, the selected individual will be encouraged to engage with staff within the AFFI group and the Nuclear Fuel Development Section to foster a vibrant research atmosphere to grow capabilities and drive innovation within the group and section.


Metrics for success will include scientific output, disseminating results at national and international conferences and other technical meetings, and delivering on programmatic milestones.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Utilize techniques such as optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) for microstructural characterization of materials.
  • Correlate the fabrication and processing conditions with the microstructure and mechanical performance.
  • Characterize irradiated materials in radiological laboratories.
  • Participate in the development of new ideas and projects.
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality assurance requirements.
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • Collaborate within a multi-disciplinary research environment consisting of experimentalists, computational scientists, and engineers conducting basic and applied research in support of the Laboratory’s missions.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in materials science, nuclear, or mechanical engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Excellent communication skills, including verbal, presentation, and writing skills, are required to enable effective interaction with technical peers and program managers.
  • Applicants must have completed all degree requirements prior to position start.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Proficiency with specimen preparation using standard metallography techniques.
  • Focused Ion Beam (FIB) and characterization techniques such as SEM, EBSD, and TEM are strongly preferred.
  • Experience with radiation effects in metals and alloys.
  • Familiarity with additive manufacturing and other fabrication processes for alloys and steels.
  • Familiarity with advanced image processing, such as machine learning.
  • Experience using scientific software such as python (numpy, scipy, pandas) or a related data analysis suite.
  • Excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • 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.


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:

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  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


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.


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.

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Special Requirements

This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.


Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


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.

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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.