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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Post Doctorate RA - SIMS in Richland, Washington


Protecting U.S. residents and visitors is among our nation’s highest priorities. As adversaries gain access to sophisticated technologies and materials, the threats grow more dynamic and complex—from cyber and nuclear to chemical and biological weapons of mass effect and other forms of terrorism. The PNNL national security mission employs our researchers, tools, and technologies to play a key role in advancing the ability to identify and secure nuclear materials, detect weapons of mass effect, manage nonproliferation treaties, secure our nation's borders, and protect critical infrastructures. PNNL’s scientific discovery and capabilities—rooted in innovative theory, methods, algorithms, and tools—are enabling stronger, more resilient technologies and systems to safeguard national security. Coupled with decades of radiological and nuclear materials expertise, advanced computing and threat analysis capabilities, and a broad fundamental science base, we are identifying and countering emerging threats that have significant impact at home and around the globe.

Join a group of scientists trying the push the limits of dynamic SIMS measurements in new application spaces. We are seeking a postdoc with dynamic SIMS experience to help us develop new measurement techniques, analyze new sample types, and work with complex datasets, and maintain a high level of data quality on current projects. We need a scientist who is curious and ambitious, and who can use their SIMS knowledge to bridge the gap between research and application. Candidates must have hands-on dynamic SIMS experience (Cameca or SHRIMP instruments) and be knowledgeable about SIMS data and interpretation. Our labs house a Cameca ims 1280-HR, a Cameca ims 7f-Geo, and a Cameca ims 7f-Auto. We support a wide range of national security work for the U.S. Government, and missions relating to environmental monitoring and restoration, as well as industrial technology development, are also of interest.

How We Work

  • Diverse and flexible projects – Work on multiple projects with different applications for exposure and growth

  • Research environment – Innovation and exploration strongly encouraged

  • Team size – Most projects include at least two SIMS scientists plus other project staff; more senior staff may work more independently

  • Team compositions – Our team is mainly scientists with geochemistry and material science backgrounds, but we welcome other disciplines and technical skills to round out our expertise.

  • Mentoring – You will be provided detailed technical guidance and mentoring from senior staff, with the expectation of transitioning to working on tasks with coaching and then independently.


The position lies within the Analytical Chemistry & Instrumentation Group, which conducts fundamental and applied research resulting in new capabilities in trace element and radionuclide detection, environmental assessment and remediation, treaty verification, and proliferation detection and prevention. The group applies a broad range of instrument and method development knowledge, specialized chemical separation methods, and advanced spectrometric technologies in support of national security sponsors. Staff are typically involved in multiple projects, which enables each person to contribute to basic science studies as well as the applied missions of the Group. Staff use highly developed processes, specialized methods, and state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation to perform work that spans the spectrum of basic science to applied analytical services. Research areas include radiochemistry, nuclear materials chemistry and analysis, instrument development, and nuclear and materials signatures. Much of the analytical services work that is performed requires measuring radionuclides at trace levels.

  • Learning to operate dynamic SIMSCamecacimsms 1280-HR and/oCamecacimsms 7f-GEO) to perform isotopic and abundance measurements as well as data processing

  • Basic instrument and laboratory maintenance

  • Thoughtful and rigorous approach to data collection, processing, and review

  • Ability to work in individual and team-based environments

  • Initiate personal direction and goals with good time management skills


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Candidates must have received a PhD within the past five years (60 months) or within the next 8 months from an accredited college or university.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of geochemistry, materials science, or related field

  • Knowledge of or ability to learn to develop new analysis methods and procedures as needed

  • Low level radiological material handling in a clean environment

  • Understanding of statistical analysis to support robust QA/QC protocols

  • Experience with supporting characterization techniques such as electron microscopy (SEM or EPMA for imaging and EDS/WDS analysis), mass spectrometry (TIMS, ICP-MS), and other surface analysis techniques

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Not applicable.

Additional Information

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a federal security clearance.


  • U.S. Citizenship

  • Background Investigation: Applicants selected will be subject to a Federal background investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified matter in accordance with 10 CFR 710, Appendix B.

  • Drug Testing: All Security Clearance positions are Testing Designated Positions, which means that the candidate selected is subject to pre-employment and random drug testing. In addition, applicants must be able to demonstrate non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for the 12 consecutive months preceding completion of the requisite Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP).

Note: Applicants will be considered ineligible for security clearance processing by the U.S. Department of Energy until non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for 12 months can be demonstrated.

Testing Designated Position

This position is a Testing Designated Position (TDP). The candidate selected for this position will be subject to pre-employment and random drug testing for illegal drugs, including marijuana, consistent with the Controlled Substances Act and the PNNL Workplace Substance Abuse Program.

About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or 3 hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.

Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at .

Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.

Mandatory Requirements

Battelle requires employees to have a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, subject to accommodation. Applicants are required to disclose their vaccination status following a conditional offer of employment and must attest to being fully vaccinated with a Center for Disease Control (CDC)-approved COVID-19 vaccination, or provide documentation of need for medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Rockstar Rewards

Employees and their families are offered medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, health savings account, flexible spending accounts, basic life insurance, disability insurance, employee assistance program, business travel insurance, tuition assistance, supplemental parental bonding leave, surrogacy and adoption assistance, and fertility support. Employees are automatically enrolled in our company funded pension plan and may enroll in our 401k savings plan. Employees may accrue up to 120 vacation hours per year and may receive ten paid holidays per year.

  • Research Associates excluded.

**Once eligibility requirements are met.

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