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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Electrocatalysis for CO2 Capture and Conversion

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Job Description

Requisition Id 9375 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Geochemistry and Interfacial Sciences Group, Chemical Transformation Section, in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The postdoctoral researcher will focus on combined carbon capture and conversion in ionic liquids and aqueous electrolytes.  at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). 


This position is funded by an Energy Research Frontier Center (EFRC) - the Center for Understanding and controlling Accelerated and Gradual Evolution of Materials for Energy (UNCAGE-ME III). The goal of this research project is to gain a fundamental understanding of how degradation of catalysts during combined capture and conversion of carbon dioxide using ionic liquids and aqueous electrolytes.


Specifically, how the structure of the electrocatalysts and the surface chemistry of CO2 reduction evolves as a function of the nature and concentration of the contaminants in both aqueous electrolytes and ionic liquids; and capture and conversion can be combined in ionic liquids. Approaches include both experimental and computational studies of kinetics and reactivity, spectroscopic identification of surface reactants and mechanisms under in situ and operando conditions.


Under general supervision, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will conduct research in synthesizing Cu-based electrocatalysts, measuring electrochemistry of CO2 reduction, and conducting in situ measurements (atomic force microscopy) for mechanistic understanding of degradation. The postdoc will work in close collaboration with the EFRC team members at ORNL and other EFRC PIs and have opportunities to visit members of other EFRC institutions including Lehigh University, Georgia Tech, and University of Michigan.  This research program will take advantage of resources at ORNL including the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS). The environment at ORNL is highly collaborative and crosscutting research exists between the CSD and other Divisions at ORNL.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform electrochemical kinetics measurements in CO2 reduction
  • Perform electrocatalysts synthesis and characterization, and in situ studies of electrocatalytic CO2 reduction using atomic force microscopy
  • Use microscopy techniques (e.g., transmission electron microscopy or atom probe tomography) to characterize electrocatalyst
  • Analyze experimental data collected for kinetic and mechanistic understanding
  • Responsible for presenting and reporting research results and publishing scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Strong background in electrochemistry and electrocatalysis


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of electrochemistry, and a demonstrated expertise in studying electrocatalytic reaction kinetics and mechanisms
  • Experience in performing in situ/operando studies of electrocatalysis
  • Experience in chemical synthesis of catalytic materials including but not limited to metal catalysts
  • 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 within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to postdocrecruitment@ornl.gov with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via jobs.ornl.gov
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


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 for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at jobs.ornl.gov.



This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.

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

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville

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