Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Plasma Physicist in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 308884

Directorate: National Security

Division: Signatures 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, isotope identification and isotope separation.

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.

  • Laser-induced and ICR plasma diagnostics

  • Fluid and kinetic plasma modeling and simulation

  • Particle transport in plasmas

  • Spectroscopy of plasma plumes

  • Plasma hydrodynamics

  • Plasma methods as an ionization source for mass spectrometry

  • The successful candidate should have demonstrated expertise in one or more of the areas listed above. They should have experience in both experimental low temperature plasma research and modeling and simulation of plasma dynamics. 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.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor's degree with 7 years' experience, Master's degree with 5 years' experience or Ph.D. with 3 years' experience

Preferred Qualifications

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

  • PhD Plasma Physics is highly preferred

  • Demonstrated experience in experimental low/medium temperature (not fusion) plasma physics, including diagnostics and design, execution and analysis of experiments

  • 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

  • Experience with software packages such as LabVIEW or MATLAB for experiment control and data analysis

  • Experience in programming to develop custom data handling, data analysis and simulation routines (e.g. C/C++ or Python)

  • Experience in planning, constructing, and executing complex laboratory experiments using lasers, individual optical components and laboratory instruments

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

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: 2019-02-01

Closing Date: 2019-02-22