R&D Associate - Stable Isotope Chemist

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Discussed upon interview.
Dec 05, 2018
Jan 03, 2019
Field of specialization
Job Type



We are seeking an R&D Associate who will focus on various aspects of stable isotope chemistry, including the design, synthesis, and characterization of materials, in support of the DOE Isotope Program activities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  This position resides in the Applied Technology Group in the Chemical Sciences Division, Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at ORNL and will support other groups associated with the DOE Isotope Program at ORNL.  

As part of our research team, you will work with rare, highly valued, enriched stable isotope materials that have been separated by various enrichment technologies at ORNL to supply high priority academic, medical and government research projects.  These projects require isotopes such as ruthenium-96 (Ru-96) to enable a fundamental physics experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, xenon-129 (Xe-129) to replace helium-3 (He-3) for pulmonary MRI studies, nickel-62 (Ni-62) for construction of targets to produce nickel-63 (Ni-63).

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Design, synthesis and characterization of novel feedstock chemicals to enable new isotope separations by a variety of synthetic methods including fluorination
  • Development of novel methods for conversion of inventory samples of isotopically altered elements into various solid, liquid and gas forms as required by various research projects
  • Recovery and purification of isotopically altered elements from enrichment processes and formulation to ensure long term storage in the national DOE inventory using established methods and R&D to improve those methods
  • Participate in the development of novel chemical purification and isotope enrichment technology
  • Analysis of isotopically altered materials by standard methods (MS, FTIR, Raman spectroscopy) and development of novel techniques to enable specialized measurements of these materials
  • Mentor and develop BS and MS level chemical technicians
  • Present and report research results to sponsor and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner and present at scientific meetings
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics

Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or a related discipline
  • The ability to access technology that is subject to export control requirements without an export control license
  • The ability to obtain and maintain a DOE Q clearance from the Department of Energy

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Inorganic synthesis with broad application to many elements in the periodic table
  • Experience in fluorination chemistry and reactions with gaseous F2.
  • Experience in handling air and moisture sensitive materials and highly reactive gases
  • Experience in characterizing isotopic materials by standard inorganic chemistry methods
  • Process chemistry experience for kg scale projects
  • Excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate to an international, scientific audience
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory  
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs

Special Requirement:

This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license, which requires U.S. Citizenship or LPR (Lawful Permanent Residence). 

This position requires that you have the ability to obtain and maintain a DOE Q clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.

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 PSDrecruit@ornl.gov.  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.

Apply here: