Postdoctoral Research Associate – X-ray/Neutron Scattering Geochemist

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Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Apr 25, 2018
May 25, 2018
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PURPOSE:  We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to conduct fundamental studies to understand the structure, dynamics, and reactivity of natural and earth-inspired minerals, solutions, and/or porous media using X-ray and neutron scattering methods.

This position resides in the Geochemistry and Interfacial Sciences Group (GIS) in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  

To learn more about GIS group at ORNL go to:


The Geochemistry and Interfacial Sciences Group is seeking a post-doctoral researcher to conduct fundamental studies to understand the structure, dynamics, and reactivity of crystalline and amorphous solids, aqueous solutes, and porous materials using X-ray and neutron scattering techniques. You will be working on a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) program entitled “Atomic- To Pore-Scale Geochemical Processes” whose goal is to attain a fundamental, predictive understanding of key fluid-mineral interactions, their effect on mineral nucleation, growth and dissolution, and the resulting evolution of porosity and permeability in geologic media. As a postdoc, you’ll be working within a highly collaborative team environment both within ORNL and with our partner institutions. Eligible candidates will have a chemical, geochemical, or physics background and experience with X-ray/neutron scattering approaches at synchrotron-based light sources and/or spallation/reactor neutron sources.  These include, but are not limited to, measurements using pair distribution functions, diffraction, quasi-elastic neutron scattering, inelastic neutron scattering, small and ultra-small angle scattering, and/or tomography. We’re also looking for someone with experience in methods to analyze and model the scattering data (e.g., PDFgui, RMCprofile, IRENA, DAVE, etc.).


  • Quantify atomic structure and reactivity of minerals, amorphous phases, porous geomaterials, and liquids under cold, ambient and elevated temperatures and pressures using X-ray and neutron scattering
  • Reduce and model the data obtained in the experiments discussed above
  • Utilize microscopy, spectroscopy and other analytical equipment to characterize natural and synthetic samples
  • Develop high-quality beamtime proposals to use X-ray and/or neutron scattering user facilities
  • 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 program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


  • A PhD in Geochemistry, Chemistry, Materials Science, Physics or related fields completed within the last five years
  • Experience in X-ray and/or neutron scattering and data analysis


  • An excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative and frequently interacting teams of researchers  
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs

Other Information:

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 up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.

Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position.  Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to  Please include the title of the position in the subject line.

WORK DIRECTION AND INTERFACES:  Position reports to the Group Leader, Geochemistry and Interfacial Sciences Group and interfaces with research and administrative staff, managers and visitors to ORNL. Candidate will work closely with research staff in GIS group and their collaborators–.

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.


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