Postdoctoral Appointee - Gas Phase Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics

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

What Your Job Will Be Like

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 appointee in theory or modeling of gas phase chemical kinetics and dynamics. Candidates should have excellent skills in electronic structure theory (wavefunction and DFT methods), theoretical chemical kinetics (including transition state theory master equation calculations), and trajectory methods including surface hopping techniques. Using these powerful tools, you will explore fundamental chemistry questions such as automated exploration of potential energy surfaces, mechanism discovery, and both applications and method development in non-adiabatic chemical reactions. We also have projects exploring machine learning and artificial intelligence. In all cases our goal is foundational understanding of chemical change in simple and complex systems, with many opportunities for collaboration and comparison to experimental results.

On any given day, you will:

  • Utilize both external and internal software packages to explore potential energy surfaces.
  • Execute kinetics and/or dynamics calculations based on the potential energy surfaces.
  • Analyze theoretical predictions, compare with experimental observations, and explore uncertainty quantification of experiment, theory, and modeling results.
  • Grasp the larger goals of each project, proposing innovative solutions and new directions.

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

Qualifications We Require

  • PhD degree in physics, chemistry, or a closely related field
  • Either (1) significant experience with electronic structure development or the application of electronic structure methods to chemical problems, OR (2) significant experience in classical or quantum mechanical calculations of gas phase chemical kinetics or dynamics

Qualifications We Desire

  • Demonstrated expertise in algorithm development and computer programming
  • Solid background classical and quasi-classical trajectory calculations
  • Experience using neural networks
  • 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 Gaussian, MOLPRO, CFOUR, or similar software packages

About Our Team

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.

Position Information

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.

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.

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.


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.

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