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Requisition Id 8660 


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 Analytical Development and Operations Group in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Division (NND), National Security Sciences Directorate (NSSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 


The successful candidate will perform use-inspired basic and applied research that advances our understanding of fuel cycle materials’ properties—chemical, physical, and compositional—with an emphasis on process-related observables. The PD Associate’s primary role will be to develop and apply advanced mass spectrometry instrumentation and methods to laboratory and field-deployable measurement capabilities. A broad spectrum of analytical interests is required to tackle the following areas of study.

  • Polymer composite investigations: This position entails the development and application of mass spectrometric techniques to better understand the chemical evolutions of polymer composite materials in harsh environments, characterizing the formation, and secondary reactions, of evolved gaseous and solid degradation products for the purpose of material characterization. Duties will include integrating off-gas, surface, and solid phase chemical composition analysis using hyphenated gas chromatography–mass spectrometry methods with the group’s work in advanced microchemical analysis methodologies, including various diffraction and vibrational spectroscopic techniques.
  • Field deployable mass spectrometry development: The candidate is expected to contribute to the development and demonstrations of fieldable mass spectrometry systems for isotopic analysis of uranium compounds. This includes the development of custom instrumentation for gas sampling, introduction, and mass analysis. A desire to advance our understanding of novel ion source chemistry and the benefits of emerging mass spectrometry technologies is a key component of the project. 


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Analytical Chemistry, or a related field with significant experience in mass spectrometry, completed within the last 5 years. Strong background in the fundamentals of chemical separations and mass analysis.
  • 3+ years in the development of novel mass spectrometry instrumentation, methods, and/or novel applications
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • 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



Preferred Qualifications:

  • Expertise in one or more hyphenated mass spectrometric techniques, including:
  • Gas chromatography, thermal desorption/pyrolysis MS
  • Quadrupole, time-of-flight, and/or ion trapping MS
  • Expertise or experience in
  • Atmospheric and reduced pressure ionization source development
  • Gas-phase ion chemistry and thermodynamics
  • Mechanical and electronic design, construction, and programing of gas handling systems
  • Multivariate analysis, chemometrics, and machine learning


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
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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 the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.


This position is not eligible for visa sponsorship.


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.