Postdoctoral Research Associate - Polymer Synthesis

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Apr 25, 2018
May 25, 2018
Field of specialization
Job Type

Purpose:   We are looking for a Postdoctoral Research Associate with expertise in polymer synthesis, assembly, and characterization. As a postdoc, you will be working with a highly interdisciplinary team of scientists at the CNMS to develop novel charged polymers and optimizing the polymer architecture, counter ion identity, and material assembly processes. You will be responsible for the design, synthesis, and characterization of novel charged monomers and polymers.  Your work will combine small molecule synthesis, controlled polymerization methods, patterned surfaces, and advanced polymer characterization techniques. You will benefit from a working knowledge of polymerized ionic liquids, nanofabrication techniques, molecular dynamics simulations along with other theory-based approaches, MALDI, and neutron scattering. This position resides in the Macromolecular Nanomaterials Group at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS), Physical Science Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Overview:   The response of ionic block copolymers to applied electric fields is crucial in applications such as energy storage, microelectronics, and transducers. Teams of researchers at the CNMS are working to better understand the electromechanical response mechanism of ionic block copolymers by establishing a comprehensive experimental and computational framework for the rational design of this class of materials. Your research will contribute to two of the four themes of in-house research at CNMS: electro-ionic interactions and hierarchical assembly. The research will take advantage of, complement, and enhance ongoing scientific efforts within the CNMS and ORNL. In this role, you will further the cutting edge of the nanoscience and materials chemistry research programs at ORNL.

The CNMS (http://cnms.ornl.qov/) is a nanoscience research and user facility supported by the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The CNMS has a diverse spectrum of nanoscience activities including a nanofabrication facility; research on macromolecular materials, catalysts, and functional nanomaterials; electron and scanning probe microscopies; x-ray diffraction; theory, modeling, and simulation, and benefits from the strong interactions with the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the National Center for Computational Sciences at ORNL.

Major Duties/Responsibilities

In this position you will:

  • Synthesize and characterize novel charged monomers and block copolymers
  • Characterize polymer structure and properties via in-situ neutron scattering
  • Collaborate with CNMS and ORNL researchers on polymer simulations, surface patterning, and soft-matter advanced scanning probe and electron microscopy experiments
  • Work as part of a dynamic team conducting CNMS in-house research that advances our understanding of nanomaterials while also leading to the development of capabilities that will eventually become available to the CNMS user community
  • Presenting and report research results at meetings and conferences and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics

Qualifications Required: 

Basic Qualifications - To be considered for this position, you must have:

  • A PhD in Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics, or a closely related science discipline completed within the last five years
  • A record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals and/or conference presentations

Preferred Qualifications – This experience is to your advantage:

  • A strong background in small molecule synthesis, control radical and anionic polymerization techniques, and polymer characterization techniques including GC, GPC, NMR, TGA, DSC, Light Scattering, Rheology, UV-VIS, FTIR, and MALDI-TOF
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • The abilities to be a self-starter, to work independently and to participate creatively in a collaborative team effort
  • Proven ability to function well in a dynamic research environment, set priorities, multi- task and adapt to ever changing needs

Other Information:

Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.

Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position.  Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to  Please include the title of the position in the subject line.

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.