Postdoc in Chemical Engineering/Materials Science and Engineering - Military Veterans

at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos, New Mexico

What You Will Do

The Materials Compatibility Team within Sigma Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory is seeking a postdoctoral candidate to study chemical reaction and diffusion in solids and gases via experiment, modeling, and simulation.

As a postdoctoral research assistant, you will investigate the chemistry and kinetics of gas/solid reactions, the chemistry and kinetics of material degradation and outgassing, and gaseous and solid-state diffusion rates. These experiments often require use of custom-built ultra-high vacuum and pressure systems, together with multiple chemical analysis methods. You will integrate data from diverse experiments and synthesize models of material chemistry and chemical reaction kinetics applicable to various thermal, radiation, and gas atmosphere environments. You will incorporate these chemistry and kinetic models into finite-element computer simulations of system behavior. Safe handling of flammable, toxic and/or radioactive materials will be part of the experimental research.

As a postdoc you will work with a mentor, but will be assigned portions of projects over which you will have responsibility. You will be expected to work with limited instruction, interface with internal and external teams, communicate your research in both internal and external peer-reviewed publications, and present your results at appropriate conferences and meetings. Optionally, you will have the opportunity to develop ideas of you own for inclusion in, or to form the basis of, new proposals.

The successful candidate will be a self-motivated individual with skills in (i) hands-on execution of experiments using complex, custom-built equipment, (ii) design and construction of new experiments, (iii) formulation of novel data analysis methods and interpretation, (iv) modeling of diffusion and chemical reaction kinetics, and (v) finite-element computer simulations of reaction and diffusion.

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:

  • Hands-on experience working in a chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, chemistry, or related research laboratory.
  • Self-motivation and independence, with demonstrated experience working as part of an interdisciplinary team.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, and the ability to interact effectively with other researchers, as well as technical and operations personnel.
  • Proven ability to organize and prioritize activities for effective direction of project course while at the same time meeting project deadlines.
  • Experience presenting work in peer-reviewed journals, and in oral presentations at technical conferences.
  • Ability to work with attention to detail and limited supervision.
  • Ability and willingness to follow safety and security procedures.
  • Ability to obtain a Q clearance, which normally requires U.S. Citizenship.

Education: Doctoral Degree in Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Chemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years, or soon to be completed, is required.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Hands on physical research experience, especially in the areas of gas/solid reaction chemistry and kinetics, surface chemistry/catalysis, and related techniques such as N2 physisorption and CO chemisorption.
  • Experience with experimental studies of solid-state chemistry and reaction kinetics.
  • Experience with ultra-high vacuum systems and hardware, and pressure systems and hardware. Often times our systems are custom-built and complex, with a significant learning curve.
  • Design and construction of experimental equipment.
  • LabView programming skills.
  • Familiarity or experience with physical and chemical analysis methods such as differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, differential thermal analysis, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy.
  • Firm understanding of reaction kinetics and diffusion fundamentals, and experience formulating reaction/diffusion models.
  • Experience building finite-element computer simulations of reaction and diffusion.
  • Familiarity or experience working in inert atmosphere gloveboxes.
  • Familiarity with engineering drawings, dimensioning, and tolerance.
  • Experience with SolidWorks.
  • Ability to adapt to new requirements for projects and be flexible enough to learn new areas of research as needed.

Location: This position will be located in Los Alamos, NM.

Note to Applicants:

When submitting your application electronically to this vacancy, please submit the following:

1) a cover letter summarizing your skills, research areas of interest, and desire to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory

2) a curriculum vitae or résumé that contains the following information: education, major, GPA, relevant work experience, relevant technical skills, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations

3) a list of professional references

In addition to the application process, please e-mail curriculum vitae to Dr. Douglas Safarik at
Where You Will Work

Located in beautiful northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. Our generous benefits package includes:

§ PPO or High Deductible medical insurance with the same large nationwide network

§ Dental and vision insurance

§ Free basic life and disability insurance

§ Paid childbirth and parental leave

§ Award-winning 401(k) (6% matching plus 3.5% annually)

§ Learning opportunities and tuition assistance

§ Flexible schedules and time off (PTO and holidays)

§ Onsite gyms and wellness programs

§ Extensive relocation packages (outside a 50 mile radius)
Additional Details

Directive 206.2 - Employment with Triad requires a favorable decision by NNSA indicating employee is suitable under NNSA Supplemental Directive 206.2. Please note that this requirement applies only to citizens of the United States. Foreign nationals are subject to a similar requirement under DOE Order 142.3A.

Q Clearance: Applicants selected will be subject to a Federal background investigation and must meet eligibility requirements* for access to classified matter. This position requires a Q clearance which requires US Citizenship except in extremely rare circumstances. Dependent upon position, additional authorization to access nuclear weapons information may be required that may or may not be available to dual citizens depending upon the circumstances.

*Eligibility requirements: To obtain a clearance, an individual must be at least 18 years of age; U.S. citizenship is required except in very limited circumstances. See DOE Order 472.2 for additional information.

New-Employment Drug Test: The Laboratory requires successful applicants to complete a new-employment drug test and maintains a substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing.

Equal Opportunity: Los Alamos National Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. All employment practices are based on qualification and merit, without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or preference, marital status or spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or citizenship within the limits imposed by federal laws and regulations. The Laboratory is also committed to making our workplace accessible to individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, for individuals to participate in the application and hiring process. To request such an accommodation, please send an email to or call 1-505-665-4444 option 1.Employment StatusFull Time

Los Alamos, New Mexico

Continue the Mission with Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the world’s most innovative multidisciplinary research institutions. We focus on strategic science initiatives to uphold national security and ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile along with other defense and research-oriented programs.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is a natural fit and next career for veterans and transitioning personnel from all branches of the military. You don’t need to be a scientist or engineer to work with us; we offer a vast array of career opportunities and need veterans’ unique and technical skillsets as we continue to grow. Hands-on and continuing education will equip you for your next mission.


Similar jobs