Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Computational Plasma Physicist in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 309489

Directorate: National Security Directorate

Division: Signature Science & Technology

Group: Applied Physics

Job Description

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Applied Physics group is seeking a scientist to contribute to a wide variety of research and development efforts focused on low temperature plasma dynamics for detection system enhancements. PNNL is a nationally recognized leader in mass spectrometry, and is investing in scientific and technical capabilities to further enhance its reputation in this area in the international community. In particular, PNNL is developing capabilities to advance mass spectrometry analyses by integrative computational efforts. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to contribute to a deeper understanding of plasma mechanisms in both atmospheric pressure ionization techniques and in ion focusing/control from both computational and experimental angles, and to lead technical tasks in areas of critical investment. The candidate should collaboration with experimental team members, for validating computational models and develop new ones to enable experimental design.

Desired skills:

• Experience in modeling (fluid and kinetic) low-temperature steady state plasmas such as inductively coupled plasma (ICP)

• Modeling of plasma hydrodynamics, ion and particle transport

• Experience in plasma chemistry

• Demonstrated experience in low/medium temperature plasma modeling (fluid/kinetic) and simulation, as well as ion transport tools (SIMION, COMSOL, ANSYS)

• Working knowledge of physics related to particle transport in plasma, and application of plasma hydrodynamic models

• Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to collaborate effectively on diverse, interdisciplinary teams

The successful candidate should have demonstrated expertise in one or more of the areas listed above. In addition, they should have the ability to work in multi-disciplinary project teams comprising theoreticians and experimentalists to perform integrated studies with applications including national and homeland security, nuclear nonproliferation and treaty verification, and nuclear materials detection and characterization.

The hiring level will be determined based on the education, experience and skill set of the successful candidate based on the following:

Level II: Receives guidance on new assignments, making preliminary selections on technical alternatives; independently completes recurring assignments. Defines and leads project work at a small task/project level, reporting results on time and on budget. Contributes to proposals. Embraces expectations for quality, safety, and security. Communicates the importance within the work team.

Level III: Selects and develops technical approaches on assignments with occasional oversight on complex problems. Principal investigator or co-PI on projects or tasks, while integrating capabilities of work team members. Supports scoping, scheduling, and budgeting at a project or major task level. Generates new ideas for proposals and business development opportunities while leading development of technical section of small to medium proposals. Demonstrates ability to acquire funding for self with programmatic impact at the sector and division level. Serves as a role model for quality, safety, and security.

Minimum Qualifications

• BS/BA with 2 years experience, Ms/MA with 0 years experience or PhD with 1 year experience

Preferred Qualifications

• BS/BA with 5 years of experience, MS/MA with 3 years of experience or PhD with 1 year of experience.

• Masters or PhD in Plasma Physics (Physics), Chemistry, Engineering, or related field

• Ph.D. in Plasma Physics is highly preferred

• Degree in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, or related field

• U.S. citizen with willingness to obtain a U.S. security clearance

Equal Employment Opportunity

Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All BMI staff must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. BMI is an E-Verify employer. Learn more at

Other Information

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a federal security clearance.


  • U.S. Citizenship

  • Background Investigation: Applicants selected will be subject to a Federal background investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified matter in accordance 10 CFR 710, Appendix B.

  • Drug Testing: All Security Clearance (L or Q) positions will be considered by the Department of Energy to be Testing Designated Positions which means that they are subject to applicant, random, and for cause drug testing. In addition, applicants must be able to demonstrate non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for the 12 consecutive months preceding completion of the requisite Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP).

Note: Applicants will be considered ineligible for security clearance processing by the U.S. Department of Energy until non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for 12 consecutive months can be demonstrated.

Directorate: National Security Dir

Job Category: Scientists/Scientific Support

Group: Applied Physics

Opening Date: 2019-06-20

Closing Date: 2019-10-18