Postdoctoral Appointee - Fundamental Studies of Gas-Surface Coupling in Heterogeneous Catalysis

Livermore, California
Sep 18, 2020
Oct 18, 2020
Field of specialization
Job Type

This postdoctoral position is a temporary position for up to one year, which may be renewed at Sandia's discretion up to five additional years. The PhD must have been conferred within five years prior to employment.

Individuals in postdoctoral positions may bid on regular Sandia positions as internal candidates, and in some cases may be converted to regular career positions during their term if warranted by ongoing operational needs, continuing availability of funds, and satisfactory job performance.

Are you passionate about research and want to utilize state-of-the-art scientific facilities? Do you enjoy collaborating with dynamic, multidisciplinary research teams?

We seek motivated postdoctoral appointees to assist us in building and demonstrating first experiments on a suite of new, world-leading apparatuses that will explore the mechanisms coupling gas phase and surface chemistry in heterogeneous catalysis. These experiments will combine optical diagnostics (such as Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence, Raman, and Reflectance Microscopy) with photoionization mass spectrometry in the study of complex coupled gas-surface chemistry, such as that present in the partial oxidation of methane. We will explore how coupled gas-surface chemistry and transport control new and canonical catalytic reactions.

On any given day, you will:

  • Collaborate with researchers on customization of nanosecond-laser optical and mass spectrometry experiments.
  • Operate and optimize custom catalysis flow cells at pressures from 1 – 760 torr.
  • Acquire and analyze data from optical and mass spectrometric probes of the gas phase immediately above a reacting surface, observing both reactive intermediates and stable products.
  • Grasp the larger goals of the project and propose innovative solutions and directions.

You will partner with a multi-investigator team, present results at national/international meetings, and publish research in high profile peer-reviewed journals.

Department Description:

The Combustion Chemistry and Diagnostics Department is part of Sandia's Combustion Research Facility (CRF) in Livermore, California, where over 100 scientists, engineers, and technologists conduct basic and applied research to improve our nation's ability to use and control combustion processes efficiently and cleanly. Under the principal sponsorship of the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences, the Combustion Chemistry and Diagnostics Department conducts fundamental experimental, theoretical, and modeling research to develop a foundational understanding of the key chemical processes that underlie the complex mechanisms of combustion. Additional programs investigate the effects of combustion emissions on atmospheric composition and climate. Research areas include chemical dynamics and spectroscopy, theoretical and experimental chemical kinetics, flame chemistry and modeling, and gas-phase and particulate diagnostics development and deployment.

About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide
  • Extraordinary co-workers
  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world
  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities
  • Flexible schedules, generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:

*These benefits vary by job classification.

EEO Statement:

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.


  • PhD degree in physics, chemistry, materials/surface science, chemical or mechanical engineering, or a closely related field
  • Either (1) significant experience with laser diagnostics for the probing of chemical reactions in the gas phase, OR (2) significant experience in catalysis science.


  • Solid background in laser optics, instrumentation, and electronics
  • Experience with custom mass spectrometry apparatuses
  • Demonstrated experience and publications in catalysis chemistry
  • Ability to address complex problems creatively, and to work effectively both independently and in collaboration with other researchers.
  • Strong record of publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences
  • Experience with LabVIEW, MATLAB, SIMION, and 3D CAD

Security Clearance:

This position does not currently require a Department of Energy (DOE) security clearance.

Sandia will conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Furthermore, employees in New Mexico need to pass a U.S. Air Force background screen for access to Kirtland Air Force Base. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause access to be denied or terminated, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.

If hired without a clearance and it subsequently becomes necessary to obtain and maintain one for the position, or you bid on positions that require a clearance, a pre-processing background review may be conducted prior to a required federal background investigation. Applicants for a DOE security clearance need to be U.S. citizens. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Members of the workforce (MOWs) hired at Sandia who require uncleared access for greater than 179 days during their employment, are required to go through the Uncleared Personal Identity Verification (UPIV) process. Access includes physical and/or cyber (logical) access, as well as remote access to any NNSA information technology (IT) systems. UPIV requirements are not applicable to individuals who require a DOE personnel security clearance for the performance of their SNL employment or to foreign nationals. The UPIV process will include the completion of a USAccess Enrollment, SF-85 (Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions) and OF-306 (Declaration of for Federal Employment). An unfavorable UPIV determination will result in immediate retrieval of the SNL issued badge, removal of cyber (logical) access and/or removal from SNL subcontract. All MOWs may appeal the unfavorable UPIV determination to DOE/NNSA immediately. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the MOW may try to go through the UPIV process one year after the decision date

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