Postdoctoral Research Associate - Boundary Plasma Physicist

Oak Ridge, TN, United States

Temporary Mid-level / Intermediate
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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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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 Plasma Exhaust and Particle Control (PEPC) Group in the Fusion Energy Division (FED), Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate (FFESD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The Postdoctoral Researcher will be responsible for conducting modeling and experimental studies to measure and predict ultra-high heat fluxes to fusion-grade, plasma facing components (PFCs). These studies will combine state-of-the-art computational codes and experimental measurements on facilities operated by both private and public entities. This work is part of the group’s overall mission of accelerating PFC development towards a fusion pilot plant. The selected candidate will interact with other world-leading institutions in the areas of PFC engineering science and edge plasma physics. Significant travel to domestic and international facilities to conduct experiments is expected.

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Computational thermo-mechanical modeling from extreme, steady-state, and transient heat fluxes onto complex geometries.
  • Development, execution, and analysis of experimental studies including comparisons with simulation results.
  • Collaboration with a broad and diverse team, including experimentalists and computational colleagues.
  • Timely dissemination of research results through publications and presentations at scientific conferences and workshops.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of ORNL values and ethics

Basic Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Physics, Nuclear Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or a closely related field completed within the last 5 years.
  • Experience in computational modeling and/or experimental research with in-depth analysis.
  • Experience with Python, MATLAB, or other relevant scientific programming languages.
  • Demonstrated experience in peer-reviewed publications and/or presentations at technical conferences.
  • 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  

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Strong interest in contributing to the pursuit of fusion energy to enable a sustainable future.
  • Experience in magnetic confinement boundary physics and/or heat transfer modeling, and general proficiency in the execution and coupling of scientific codes. 
  • Experience in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and modeling.
  • Experience with OpenFOAM or other finite-element heat transfer codes

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:

  • Login to your account via
  • 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

Special Requirements

Export control, no clearance:  This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.

Travel and/or assignment: Applicants will be expected to travel frequently to off-site facilities, including international travel. Long-term assignment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s NSTX-Upgrade facility is highly desired.

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.

Tags: CAD Engineering Matlab Physics Python Research Security

Perks/benefits: Conferences Relocation support

Region: North America
Country: United States
Job stats:  145  6  0
Category: Research Jobs
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