Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Post Doctorate RA - Fundamental Physics Research Physicist in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 311136

Directorate: National Security

Division: Signatures Science & Technology

Group:Detection Physics

Job Description

PNNL is seeking multiple outstanding post-doctoral researchers to participate in our fundamental physics program. The Detection Physics Group is engaged in several experimental efforts focused on searches for dark matter and neutrinoless double-beta decay, including the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment (ADMX), the next Enriched Xenon Observatory (nEXO), the Observatory of Skipper CCDs Unveiling Recoiling Atoms (OSCURA), and the Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (SuperCDMS). Selected researchers will play leading roles in the design, operation, continued development, and science of one or more of these experiments.

Additionally, we pursue R&D at the intersections of Quantum Information Science (QIS) with high-energy physics and nuclear physics, focusing on the use of quantum sensors and microwave electronics for QIS and fundamental physics applications. Selected researchers may also contribute to our group’s applied programs, assisting with the cross-pollination of new methods and technologies in radiation detection relevant to both basic research and applied research for national security. This cross-disciplinary, entrepreneurial environment is a strength that the Detection Physics Group has fostered and maintained over multiple decades. Each selected researcher will have opportunities to contribute to our QIS and applied radiation detection research activities as well as our fundamental physics experiments.

Candidates may have varied experience and focus. Areas of particular interest include radiofrequency systems, experiment controls, and data acquisition for ADMX; noble liquids and time projection chambers for nEXO; CCD research and development for OSCURA; and cryogenic detector testing and experiment commissioning for SuperCDMS. Synergistic areas of interest across our research portfolio include data analysis, simulations, detector prototyping, low radioactive background techniques, QIS-related R&D, and high-performance computing techniques. Work on these projects may include travel to the University of Washington, Fermilab, and SNOLAB (Canada).

Applicants are expected to demonstrate unique technical strengths applicable to the above listed research efforts and to present a compelling vision for their contributions. Excellent communication and presentation skills are required, and preference will be given to candidates with a demonstrated ability to publish completed research.

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 technical expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Low-temperature systems : operation and instrumentation of cryogenic systems, including dilution refrigerators, noble liquid detectors, vacuum systems, and gas and liquid handling systems.

  • Low-noise detectors : design of low-noise detector systems, with a strong background in characterization of environmental noise factors.

  • Quantum sensors : instrumentation and operation of quantum sensors (e.g., superconducting qubits, kinetic inductance detectors, or transition edge sensors).

  • Microwave electronics : experience instrumenting and reading out experiments with radiofrequency electronics (e.g., superconducting qubits or resonant cavities in axion searches).

  • Useful areas of experience may include one or more of the following:

  • Software tools : prior experience with simulation, data analysis and coding packages such as Geant4, ROOT, C++, Python, Jupyter, machine leaning techniques, or familiarly with quantum coding (Qiskit, Cirq, QDK, Forest, etc.).

  • Level of Responsibility : both contributing and leading roles in detector design and development, experiment operations, data analysis, software development, and publication of scientific results.

  • Breadth of scientific knowledge : dark matter, neutrinoless double-beta decay, QIS, or related nuclear and particle physics.

Preferred Education

Minimum Education/Experience: Ph.D. in high energy physics, nuclear physics, particle astrophysics, or a related field.

Special/Hazardous Working Conditions or Environment:

Detector testing and experiment commissioning for the SuperCDMS experiment may involve working on site at SNOLAB. SNOLAB is a large cleanroom complex located 2 km underground in Sudbury, Canada, accessed via a mine shaft followed by a long walk over uneven ground in mining-grade personal protective equipment.

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.

Directorate: National Security

Job Category: Post-Graduates and Post-Docs

Group: Detection Physics

Opening Date: 2020-08-31

Closing Date: 2020-11-29