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Materials Chemist - R&D Associate

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
To be discussed at later date
Closing date
Sep 24, 2023

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Field of specialization
Green Chemistry, Materials
Work Function
Job Type
Full time

Job Details


The Nanomaterials Chemistry Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks an inorganic or materials chemist to focus on battery electrode synthesis, separation, processing, and characterization of inorganic sorbents for critical mineral extraction from brines, minerals, and recycled lithium-ion batteries. This position resides in the Separations and Polymer Chemistry Section, Chemical Sciences Division, Physical Sciences Directorate at ORNL.

This R&D associate will help us develop materials and processing technologies that will result in a transformational improvement in battery electrode and magnetic material extraction methods from naturally occurring concentrated brines, coal and coal ash, minerals and recycled magnets and batteries. Success will enable a fundamental shift in the domestic critical material supply curve while advancing Critical Materials Consortium capabilities in materials extraction from alternative resources—both vital to U.S. economic and energy security goals. You will be working in close collaboration with other researchers from CSD, the Manufacturing Science Division and the Building and Transportation Science Division.

As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. With a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people, ORNL’s decadal vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are essential for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.

Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Investigate critical material separation from brine and leachate solution individually and in collaboration with research partners
  • Conduct research in developing novel membrane, solvent extraction, and ion exchange processes targeting high capacity and selectivity for the extraction of battery materials from brines
  • Conduct research in benchmarking newly developed critical material separation processes relative to the current innovative research on battery recycling and as well as building efficiency materials
  • Test lithium salts recovered from brine solution in lithium-ion or lithium-air batteries- Use multiple types of techniques for characterization and analysis of membranes and composites including X-ray/neutron powder diffraction, electron microscopy and lithium analysis using ICP, NMR, etc.
  • Collaborate with ORNL postdocs and staff who are involved in the synthesis and characterization of sorbents.
  • Participate in the development of new ideas and projects.
  • Present and report research results 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
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by encouraging a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.

Basic Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. degree in inorganic, materials, or analytical chemistry, and two years of experience
  • Research experience in materials synthesis and characterization
  • Background performing membrane synthesis and use of analytical methods for membrane characterization
  • Experience in standard purification methods and characterization by tools such as NMR, FTIR, mass spectrometry, etc.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • At least 5 years of research experience in materials synthesis and characterization
  • Expertise in synthesis of cathodes for lithium-ion batteries
  • Experience in molten salt synthesis and characterizations.
  • Expertise in thermodynamics and calorimetry measurements.
  • Proven experience in separations of alkali metal ions required and expertise in battery electrode materials separation
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • 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 on time and adapt to evolving needs.

Special Requirements:

  • 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.

Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.

Other benefits include the following: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Disability Benefits, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts


Company info
PO Box 2008
Oak Ridge

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