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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Probing Ferroic/Ionic Coupling
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Date Posted 05/13/2021
Admin-Laboratory and Research
Employment Type
Application Deadline Open until filled

Requisition Id 5828 


We are seeking a postdoctoral research associate who will focus on growth of ferroic thin films by pulsed laser deposition and characterization of polar properties of the grown films utilizing novel scanning probe microscopy (SPM) approaches, primarily in ultra-high vacuum systems. This position resides in the Functional Atomic Force Microscopy Group within the Nanomaterials Characterization Section at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS), in the Physical Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). This position focuses on the controlled synthesis of polar oxide heterostructures and will include imaging via scanning tunneling microscopy and functional property characterization with atomic force microscopy with automated spectroscopy. There will be a strong emphasis on tying experimental results to theoretical calculations via novel machine learning and data analytics approaches. A focus of the effort will be to better understanding driving forces of polar behavior in disordered materials, including canonical relaxor ferroelectrics, via careful introduction of disorder through chemical and field gating, with automated measurements assisting acquisition of high volumes of relevant data. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Grow oxide films using pulsed laser deposition and characterize their surface and bulk structures
  • Measure functional properties of the polar films, including piezoelectric, ferroelectric, and electrical transport via scanning tunneling microscopy, conductive atomic force microscopy, and piezoresponse force microscopy
  • Work with, and improve on, automated approaches for spectroscopy developed at the CNMS for characterization of the grown films
  • Elucidate the surface structure utilizing reflection high energy electron diffraction and low energy electron diffraction of the grown surfaces
  • Publish work in high-impact journals in a timely manner
  • Present and report research 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.



Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in physics, materials science or related discipline completed within the last 5 years
  • Background in synthesis of oxide materials
  • Experience in use of scientific instruments for characterization in ultra-high vacuum environments


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with pulsed laser deposition of oxide thin films
  • Experience with use of atomic force microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy to understand electronic properties of materials
  • Strong background in ferroic and/or polar materials
  • Experience with programming in python and LabView
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate to an international, scientific audience
  • Excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • 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


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


Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to PSDrecruit@ornl.gov.  Please include the title of the position in the subject line.



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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