Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

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Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Post Doc Research Associate - Computational Materials Science in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 312224

Directorate: Energy and Environment

Division: Nuclear Sciences

Group: Reactor Materials and Mechanical Design

Job Description

The Reactor Materials and Mechanical Design Group (RMMD) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) advances fundamental materials science and provides the scientific basis for fusion and fission reactor materials development, light water reactor life extension, safe storage of spent fuel, and design of materials and systems for extreme operating conditions. RMMD is a world-class materials science and mechanical engineering organization with more than 40 highly qualified and experienced staff—including internationally recognized scientists and Fellows of professional societies—delivering impactful research for multiple sponsors.

This postdoctoral associate will use molecular dynamics and data analytics to model atomic-level defect processes in complex oxides and titanium alloys. This position involves collaborating with other researchers performing computation at multiple scales to understand ion irradiation and thermal spike effects in alloys and the effects of microstructure on hydrogen and lithium diffusion in ceramics; validating the modeling with experimental observations; and developing new insights into the experimentally observed performance of alloys and ceramics under extreme operating conditions. The candidate must be capable of correlating atomic scale physical and chemical phenomena to the performance of materials. Initial job responsibilities will include running atomistic simulations and using data analysis algorithms on workstations and high-performance computer clusters. The incumbent will work closely with other scientists performing fundamental and applied research relating chemistry, stress, radiation damage, and elevated temperature to the performance of materials. An emphasis for this position is on the basic science study of nanoscale and mesoscale phenomena in materials subjected to elevated temperature and radiation damage. The computational work will be performed in collaboration with experimenters to refine models and provide guidance on data needs for future experiments.

This position will involve research that covers a wide of range of physical and chemical phenomena and is interdisciplinary in nature. Activities in this group address materials research needs related to atomic transport relevant to corrosion, high-temperature degradation, stress corrosion cracking, hydrogen compatibility, and radiation effects in materials. The group publishes high quality research manuscripts, contributes oral and written papers at conferences, and participates in workshops on degradation mechanisms in materials. The position involves routine research activities as well as independent problem solving. Innovative approaches to materials research are prized.

Responsibilities and Accountabilities:

  • Early career professional who is building a professional reputation for technical expertise.

  • Fully applies and interprets standard theories, principles, methods, tools and technologies within specialty.

  • Independently sets up and runs simulations and performs data analysis.

  • Contributes to technical content of proposals.

  • Collaborates effectively with lab staff and researchers at other institutions.

  • Prepares detailed technical reports, journal articles, and technical presentations.

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

  • Strong computational background in molecular dynamics simulations of alloys or complex materials.

  • Expertise in developing data-driven models

  • Familiarity with computational packages for atomic-level simulations, such as VASP, LAMMPS, VMD, and Ovito

  • Familiarity with Scikit-learn or Tensor Flow for machine learning.

  • Expertise in programming languages, such as C, C++, Python or FORTRAN.

  • Background in high performance parallel computing

  • Knowledge of alloy degradation mechanisms is preferred.

  • Ability to coordinate a variety of theory and modeling efforts between multiple institutions.

  • Expertise in interpreting experimental results based on the findings of theory and modeling.

  • Candidates must have received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science or a related discipline

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

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Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Other Information

Technical Expertise and Breadth of Knowledge: Early career researcher who is building a professional reputation for technical expertise. Fully applies and interprets standard theories, principles, methods, tools and technologies within specialty. Continues developing technical expertise and knowledge. Develops new skills.

Technical Judgment : Provides solutions to an assortment of problems using conventional methods where causal relationships are progressively difficult to establish.

Technical Leadership and Capability Development: Recommends technical approach to solve problems subject to approval by senior staff.

Business Development: Contributes to technical content of proposals.

Directorate: Energy & Environment

Job Category: Post-Graduates and Post-Docs

Group: Reactor Mat. & Mech. Design

Opening Date: 2021-06-09

Closing Date: 2021-06-23