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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Nonlinear Spectroscopy for CO2 Capture & Conversion
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Date Posted 07/27/2021
Admin-Laboratory and Research
Employment Type
Application Deadline Open until filled

Requisition Id 6260 


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 Chemical Separations Group in the Chemical Sciences Division, Physical Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Under general supervision, the incumbent will focus on studies of gas-liquid interfaces and bulk photochemically active species of relevance to carbon capture and conversion using a suite of nonlinear optical spectroscopies. This work aims to use these experimental techniques to uncover mechanistic insight into how CO2 can be captured from air as mediated by interfaces and subsequently released through low energy means. 


This work will focus on using nonlinear spectroscopic techniques to understand chemical organization, structure and dynamics at complex gas-liquid interfaces and bulk ultrafast dynamics.  This includes the use of sum-frequency generation and transient absorption spectroscopy (visible and mid-infrared) to extract chemical and structural aspects of carbon capture agents, amphiphiles, and photoacids in a range of environments. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Apply surface specific nonlinear optical spectroscopies to the study of gas-liquid interface during direct air capture of CO2
  • Develop new methods to understand the mechanistic steps that take place at interfaces that underly selectivity and efficiency
  • Apply transient absorption spectroscopy and other ultrafast optical methods to monitor the release of CO2 in real time using novel photoexcitation schemes. 
  • Participate in development of new research directions
  • Present and report research results at meetings and conferences and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Work with ORNL staff and other postdoctoral research associates and students to accomplish the research goals
  • 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, Physics or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with ultrafast laser-based spectroscopies or microscopies, with special emphasis on infrared vibrational techniques (i.e., vibrational sum-frequency generation, IR-transient absorption, 2D-IR, etc.).
  • Experience controlling hardware using LabVIEW and data analysis using Python/Matlab/etc.
  • Experience with separations chemistry or studies of liquid interfaces
  • 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


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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