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Post Doctorate RA - Critical Element Recovery from Mafic and Ultramafic Minerals in Richland, Washington


We are seeking an outstanding Post Doctorate researcher to join our group to investigate geochemical processes that control surface passivation and the fate of critical elements (CEs) during mineral carbonation/sulfidization of the divalent silicates that make up low-grade, yet abundant ores of nickel and cobalt. Carbonation has great potential to improve the economic viability of CE extraction from low-grade ores, both by lowering ore-processing costs and helping the mining industry reach net-zero CO2 emissions. Yet, the molecular-level mechanisms that govern the fate of CEs during silicate carbonation and concurrent sulfidization are unclear.

The successful candidate will have a strong background in experimental geochemistry, nanoscale materials synthesis and characterization, surface characterization techniques, and especially spectroscopic methods, such as infrared (IR), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), and electrical impedance spectroscopies (EIS) for following mineral reactivity in situ. The successful candidate will take advantage of advanced ambient and high-pressure IR, NMR and EIS instrumentation at PNNL to help build a fundamental understanding of divalent metal silicate carbonation/sulfidation for nickel and cobalt extraction. Experience with kinetics, interfacial chemistry, and solution thermodynamics would be beneficial. The candidate will work as part of a team that includes world-leaders in carbonate and sulfur geochemistry, interfacial geochemistry, in situ IR, NMR and EIS methods for studying mineral reactivity and transformations, synchrotron-based X-ray scattering techniques, secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), microfluidics, and molecular computational simulations. The candidate will also prepare manuscripts for publication, present the research work internally and externally at national/international conferences, and develop new ideas for the funded research.


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:

• Expertise using IR, NMR and/or EIS spectroscopies for following mineral reactivity. Experience operating in diverse in-situ conditions and/or high-pressure, low-water fluids are highly beneficial.

• A strong background in kinetic modeling, interfacial chemistry, solution thermodynamics, and/or physics of nucleation and growth.

• Experience in nanoscale minerals synthesis and using complementary nanoscale characterization techniques, including TEM, XRD, SEM, XPS, DLS, etc...

• Strong knowledge of carbonate and/or sulfur geochemistry

• The applicant must have the ability to work in collaboration with a diverse group of scientists and technical staff across the national lab, including experimentalists and computational modelers.

• The applicant must have strong, safety-oriented laboratory skills. They must be able to recognize abnormal operating conditions, correct and report to supervisor and warranty provider in a timely and responsible manner. They must have the ability to adapt, refine, or innovate experimental tools as needed.

• Experience supervising and coordinating multiple projects, while keeping accurate and legible operating records associated with assigned job.

• Strong verbal and written communications skills, and a demonstrated record of publishing in first class journals

• The candidate must possess a Ph.D. in Chemistry, Geochemistry, Materials Science, Biochemistry, Physical Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics or other related fields. Minimum GPA of 3.25 is required.

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Not applicable

Additional Information

Not applicable

Testing Designated Position

Not applicable

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.