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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Experimentalist, Direct Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide

Job Description

Requisition Id 9311 


We are seeking a postdoctoral research associate who will support the Geochemistry and Interfacial Sciences Group in the Chemical Sciences Division, Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The postdoctoral research associate will focus on carbonation reactions of MgO and reaction-induced fracturing.


The position is funded by a new Department of Energy (DOE) Basic Energy Science (BES) project within the Material Science & Engineering portfolio called “Fundamental Mechanisms Driving Efficiency of CO2 Capture Using Mineral Looping” (FY23-FY26). The goal of this research project is to provide a fundamental understanding of the chemical reactions that govern the hydroxylation and carbonation of MgO, a potential material for direct air capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional project, more information can be found here: https://www.ornl.gov/project/fundamental-mechanisms-driving-efficiency-co2-capture-using-mineral-looping


The selected candidate will work collaboratively with scientists in CSD and submitting user proposals to ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) to develop an understanding of phase formation during MgO hydroxylation and carbonation reactions. The research will also take advantage of other DOE user facilities, e.g., the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at ORNL or the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory.


Major Duties/Responsibilities

Conduct independent research using multimodal imaging methods (e.g., transmission electron microscopy, atom probe tomography, ToF-SIMS, etc.), which will include developing/optimizing methodologies for solid characterization:  


  • Perform hydroxylation and carbonation experiments at varying temperature and pressure
  • Collaborate with ORNL researchers on the design and execution of chemical imaging and X-ray/neutron scattering experiments
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific findings in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Physical Sciences, such as Geology, Geochemistry, Chemistry, Materials Science, or related disciplines completed within the last 5 years
  • Experience in microscopy techniques (e.g. transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, atom probe tomography) or diffraction (XRD)


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in wet chemistry
  • Data analyses experience, e.g., using machine learning
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • Excellent record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals


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


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via jobs.ornl.gov
  • View Profile
  • 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.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at jobs.ornl.gov.




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 ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.

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: Knoxville

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