Postdoctoral Research Associate - Scanning Probe Microscopy of Novel Ferroelectric Materials

Job Description

Requisition Id 10409 


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 focus on advanced scanning probe microscopy of novel ferroelectric materials for low-power, 3D non-von Neumann computation. This position resides in the functional atomic force microscopy group in the Nanomaterials Characterization Section, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS), Physical Science Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


As part of our research team, you will investigate the functional properties of novel ferroelectric material systems and correlate them with structural, optical, and electrical properties to further enable the development of low-power, 3D non-von Neumann computation. You will utilize ORNL’s unique capabilities of ultra-high vacuum, glovebox, and ambient atomic force microscopy in conjunction with band-excitation modalities to further understand environmental and temperature dependent functional properties. You will have the unique opportunity to develop cutting-edge scanning probe microscopy techniques targeted at discovering underlying new phenomena. A particular focus of the research will be to understand how a new class of ferroelectrics through the development of new techniques and data analysis. Here, understanding structure-property relationships of this new class of ferroelectrics will directly aid in the development of technologies vital to logic and computing applications. You will play an integral role in atomic force microscopy and closely collaborate with other scientists focused on synthesis, device fabrication, theoretical calculations, and other characterization methods working across multiple divisions at ORNL and multiple institutions across the US as part of an Energy Frontier Research Center centered at Pennsylvania State University. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Conduct materials research using atomic force microscopy.
  • Work as part of a dynamic team conducting research that advances and develops cutting-edge characterization capabilities to improve our understanding of nanomaterial transformations.
  • 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 commitment 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 fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in materials science and engineering, physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in atomic force microscopy
  • Experience in Python and/or Matlab
  • Experience in materials characterization techniques such as Raman, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy.
  • Fundamental understanding of ferroelectrics, especially in thin film form
  • 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 with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

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  • 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


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

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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