Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Detection Physics Physicist in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 311172

Directorate: National Security Directorate

Division: Signatures Sciences and Technology

Group: Detection Physics

Job Description

The Detection Physics (DP) group focuses on the development of detection systems and data analysis techniques for a variety of missions ranging from fundamental physics to national security. Projects within the research group range from highly applied projects in support of international treaties and national security to fundamental science projects in the areas of dark matter detection and neutrino physics. Candidates are expected to contribute positively to the breadth of work performed by the group, with engagement ranging from direct participation to advisory roles in areas of expertise.

The DP group is seeking one or more junior scientists or engineers to contribute to a wide variety of research, development, testing, and evaluation efforts. Applied research includes development of novel radiation detection systems, methodologies and algorithms for threat detection and isotope identification, and data analysis. Fundamental physics research includes low radiation background methods, rare search detector design and fabrication, and application of radiation detection and quantum sensors to nuclear and particle physics experiments. Hardware technical experience spanning these research foci include radiation detectors, cryogenics, vacuum systems, cleanroom experience, and solid state and noble liquid detectors. Computing and modeling are critical to design and analysis of systems; thus experience in radiation transport modeling, device physics modeling, investigation-oriented application of high performance computing, data acquisition tools, and artificial intelligence / machine learning (AI/ML) methodologies are also important for contributing to the success of the DP group. The successful candidate should have experience in research and/or testing projects or programs overlapping with portions of the research and technical experience described above. We expect multiple hires are required to cover this large needed expertise. In this vein, candidates should have the demonstrated ability to contribute technically on project teams both as an individual researcher as well as leading technical tasks. This position may include experimental and/or theoretical studies as needed to advance development in the group’s research areas of nuclear nonproliferation and treaty verification, ultra-low background detection, and fundamental physics.

The successful candidate will work with senior team members as a contributor to the broad program of DP group research. The candidate’s contributions will derive from their ability to propose technical alternatives on existing projects and efforts, ultimately leading to the development of new proposal concepts. The candidate will work independently to complete recurring assignments and define/lead project work at a small task/project level, reporting results to the larger team on time and within budget. They will be expected to contribute to proposals as well as embrace expectations for quality, safety, and security in all aspects of the job.

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

Level 2: Works on problems of moderate scope where analysis of situations or data requires a review of a variety of factors. Exercises judgment within defined procedures and practices to determine appropriate action. Builds productive internal/external working relationships. Works under general supervision. Follows established procedures. Infrequent interorganizational and outside customer contacts on routine matters.

Level 3: A seasoned, experienced professional with a full understanding of area of specialization; resolves a wide range of issues in creative ways. This job is the fully qualified, career-oriented, journey-level position. Independently determines and develops approach to solutions. Frequent interorganizational and outside customer contacts.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Degree in physics, nuclear engineering, chemistry, or other related field.

  • Bachelor's degree with 2 years of experience, a master’s degree with 0-2 years of experience or a Ph.D. is required.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree with at least 5 years of well aligned prior experience or a master’s degree with 3 years of relevant experience or a PhD degree with at least one year of experience.

  • Research emphasis on instrumentation development or application.

  • Previous experience working at a DOE National Lab or post-doctoral experience is preferred as an indicator of success in self-management of research objectives.

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

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

  • Experience managing tasks with budget and deadline requirements.

  • Record of leading contribution to peer reviewed scientific and/or technical publications.

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

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. If you are offered a position at PNNL and are currently a participant in a foreign government talent recruitment program you will be required to disclose this information before your first day of employment.

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.

Other Information

Special/Hazardous Working Conditions or Environment: Complexities related to the position, working environment, special challenges, etc.:

  • Laboratory work with vacuum, pressurized gases, cryogenics, radiation sources and control/measurement systems

  • Occasional travel

Directorate: National Security

Job Category: Scientists/Scientific Support

Group: Detection Physics

Opening Date: 2020-09-09

Closing Date: 2020-11-08