Postdoctoral Research Associate - Electrocatalysis for CO2 capture and conversion Job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Oak Ridge, TN

Job Description

Requisition Id 13149 


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Geochemistry and Interfacial Sciences Group, Chemical Transformation Section in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The postdoctoral researcher will focus on combined carbon capture and conversion in ionic liquids and aqueous electrolytes.


This position is funded by an Energy Research Frontier Center (EFRC) - the Center for Understanding and controlling Accelerated and Gradual Evolution of Materials for Energy (UNCAGE-ME III). The goal of this research project is to gain a fundamental understanding of how degradation of catalysts during combined capture and conversion of carbon dioxide using ionic liquids and aqueous electrolytes.


Specifically, how the structure of the electrocatalysts and the surface chemistry of CO2 reduction evolves as a function of the nature and concentration of the contaminants in both aqueous electrolytes and ionic liquids; and capture and conversion can be combined in ionic liquids. Approaches include both experimental and computational studies of kinetics and reactivity, spectroscopic identification of surface reactants and mechanisms under in situ and operando conditions.


Under general supervision, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will conduct research in synthesizing Cu-based electrocatalysts, measuring electrochemistry of CO2 reduction, and conducting in situ measurements (atomic force microscopy) for mechanistic understanding of degradation. The postdoc will work in close collaboration with the EFRC team members at ORNL and other EFRC PIs, and have opportunities to visit members of other EFRC institutions including Lehigh University, Georgia Tech and University of Michigan. This research program will take advantage of resources at ORNL including the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS). The environment at ORNL is highly collaborative and crosscutting research exists between the CSD and other Divisions at ORNL.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform electrochemical kinetics measurements in CO2 reduction
  • Perform electrocatalysts synthesis and characterization, and in situ studies of electrocatalytic CO2 reduction using atomic force microscopy
  • Utilize nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and gas chromatography (GC) to identify reaction products
  • Analyze experimental data collected for kinetic and mechanistic understanding
  • Responsible for presenting and reporting research results and publishing 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


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or a related discipline completed within the last 5 years.
  • Strong background in electrochemistry and electrocatalysis


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of electrochemistry, and a demonstrated expertise in studying electrocatalytic reaction kinetics and mechanisms
  • Experience in performing in situ/operando studies of electrocatalysis
  • Experience in chemical synthesis of catalytic materials including but not limited to metal catalysts
  • 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


Special Requirements:

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.


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You may 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


Benefits at ORNL:

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.


Other benefits include the following: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Disability Benefits, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.


If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email:




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.

Job Tags

Holiday work, Relocation package, Flexible hours,

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