Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Post Doctorate RA - Analytical Chemistry in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 306078

Directorate: National Security

Division: Signatures Science & Technology

Group: Radiation Detection & Nuclear Sciences


Job Description

The Radiation Detection and Nuclear Sciences group at PNNL is seeking a postdoctoral candidate to play an integral role in the analysis of materials for the ultrasensitive quantitative determination of long-lived radiocontaminants (e.g., U, Th, and 40K). This work is motivated by the need for ultralow background detectors (e.g., for dark matter and neutrinoless double beta decay experiments) and the requirement that the materials in which they are constructed meet stringent radiopurity specifications.

The successful candidate must demonstrate an aptitude for attention to detail and the discipline to closely follow established procedures to perform intricate and exacting tasks associated with the preparation of high purity materials and their assay. S/he will employ inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) utilizing isotope dilution methods for the assays. The successful candidate will be required to design and develop methods for the ultrasensitive determination of Th, U, K, and other elements in a variety of materials. The successful candidate will be required to measure ultralow levels (ppt and ppq detection limits) and will, therefore, necessitate the utmost in good laboratory practices and meticulously clean handling and sample processing. A wide variety of analytical chemistry techniques may be required to prepare samples in order to meet the ultrasensitive detection limits required, e.g., chemical separation, complex sample digestion using wet and dry ash methods, among others. These efforts will support PNNL’s collaborations with ultralow background physics experiments, such as nEXO, SuperCDMS, DarkSide-20k, PICO, and others.

The resulting analytical data must be documented into an organized and easily reviewed report. Significant contribution to writing internal reports and articles for submission to peer-reviewed journals will be necessary. Moreover, assistance in writing funding proposals will be expected. The candidate will attend collaboration meetings and scientific conferences to present their research.

The hired candidate will be expected to follow all laboratory regulations following appropriate training.


Minimum Qualifications

Candidates must have received a PhD within the past five years (60 months) or within the next 8 months from an accredited college or university.


Preferred Qualifications

Preference will be given to candidates with significant experience operating an ICP-MS particularly at ultrasensitive levels. Experience preparing a variety of samples in cleanroom labs is highly desirable. Experience with maintaining and troubleshooting routine and minor instrumental issues is preferred but not necessary. Data analysis and reporting utilizing the Microsoft Office suite of programs is necessary as well as the ability to learn instrumental platform software.

Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to collaborate effectively on diverse teams is required. Candidates should be creative, and capable of productive research both independently and as part of diverse teams. The candidate should be resourceful and collaborative in order to help address complex analytical challenges.

Preferred Education - Candidates with a Ph.D. in (analytical) chemistry, geochemistry, or chemical engineering are preferred.


Equal Employment Opportunity

PNNL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer that is committed to hiring a diverse, talented workforce. EOE Disability/Vet/M/F/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity. Staff at PNNL must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States.


Directorate: National Security Dir

Job Category: Post-Graduates and Post-Docs

Group: Radiation Detect & Nucl Sci's

Opening Date: 2016-11-23

Closing Date: 2016-12-14