Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Post Doctorate RA - Geo - Experimental in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 310329

Directorate: Physical & Computational Sciences

Division: Physical Sciences

Group: Geochemistry

Job Description

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to collaboration and work–life balance. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven postdocs come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

A postdoctoral position is available to work with Principal Investigators in the Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC) led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) focused on interfacial dynamics in radioactive environments and materials (IDREAM). The vision of IDREAM is to master molecular-to-mesoscale chemical and physical phenomena at interfaces in complex environments characterized by extremes in alkalinity and low-water activity and driven far from equilibrium by ionizing (¿,ß) radiation. You will contribute to PNNL’s goals in Experimental Geochemistry as part of the Lab’s Physical Sciences Division (PSD). As a postdoctoral researcher in the Geochemistry Group, you will join a talented, multi-investigator team to explore the molecular-level basis for reaction rates of major geochemical processes such as crystal growth, dissolution, adsorption, desorption and electron transfer. You will be mentored by prominent researchers, including— Sue Clark, Zheming Wang, Carolyn Pearce and Kevin M. Rosso—, as you develop a line of experimental research, working to understand the detailed structure and chemical dynamics at the interface between metal oxide minerals and aqueous solutions and explore the interplay between mineral, water, organic matter and microbes. This particular opportunity emphasizes molecular spectroscopic research to probe and better understand processes that control mineral particle interaction forces that underlie particle-mediated crystal growth. This position is based in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a unique DOE National User Facility on the PNNL campus.

The successful candidate will be based in the Geochemistry Group and will focus on understanding solvent dynamics, chemical reactivity, solute organization, and pre-nucleation species in highly alkaline systems of concentrated electrolytes. We are particularly interested in a highly motivated, adaptable, and capable individual with a Ph.D., preferably in chemistry, and with strong analytical spectroscopy skills. The successful candidate’s primary responsibility will be to develop strategies to determine the structural and dynamic properties of water-solvated tetrahedral anions (Al, Cr, Fe) and what controls the transition between these structures and other geometries. The candidate will also work with synchrotron-based collaborators to investigate ultra-fast processes with time-resolved x-ray spectroscopy. Furthermore, the successful candidate will prepare manuscripts for publication, present their work internally and externally at national/international conferences, and be responsible for developing new research areas.

The Ideal Candidate

If you are a postdoctoral researcher ready to test your talents and training in Chemistry or Physical Chemistry and hone your skills at a national laboratory widely recognized for its work in the physical sciences, we want to connect with you. Details are below; you do not need to meet all of the preferred qualifications to be considered.

What you will do:

  • Conduct independent research and work on team-based assignments

  • Lead manuscript development and maintain a strong overall publication record in the peer-reviewed scientific literature

  • Interact, communicate, and problem solve with a diverse team of research staff within the Geochemistry Group, EMSL, PSD and across PNNL

  • Present research at technical conferences and project/program review meetings

  • Participate in the development of research proposals

About PNNL

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or 3 hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.

PNNL is committed to diversity and inclusion; applications from women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are strongly encouraged.

Email PNNL Recruiter Fred Bond at for details, or share this opportunity with someone you know today.

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

Preferred Qualifications (not all need to be met):

  • Strong verbal and written communications skills

  • Knowledge of/experience with multi-method experimental and analytical characterization of solids or solid interfaces with aqueous solutions for the purpose of understanding chemical reactions and/or kinetics.

  • A background in one or more of the following spectroscopic or microscopic solids/interfacial characterization approaches: Raman and/or IR vibrational spectroscopies, time-resolved pump-probe spectroscopies, non-linear optical spectroscopies, ultrafast laser instrumentation, , electron paramagnetic spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, synchrotron X-ray absorption or scattering spectroscopies, neutron scattering, mass spectrometries and/or associated imaging methods, Mössbauer spectroscopy, scanning probe microscopies, scanning and/or transmission electron microscopy, or X-ray diffraction.

  • Proficiency in wet chemical analytics, solution preparation and handling.

  • A functional grasp of basic thermodynamics and kinetics concepts.

  • The ability to adapt, refine, or innovate experimental tools as needed.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Geochemistry, Environmental Science, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Materials Sciences or related fields.

  • Training and aptitude in molecular spectroscopy applied to topics in chemical reactivity.

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: Physical & Computational Sci's

Job Category: Post-Graduates and Post-Docs

Group: Geochemistry

Opening Date: 2020-01-20

Closing Date: 2020-03-02