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Research Project Description

Thin Film Sensor Materials for Fossil Energy Applications

 Temporary, ~24 months full time (40 hrs) beginning Aug 2013

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is the only DOE laboratory with a primary mission of the development of advanced fossil energy technologies including coal gasification, gas turbines, solid oxide fuel cells, catalysts, sorbents, and carbon capture and sequestration. The NETL Office of Research and Development sensors team focuses on applied and fundamental research in the area of pre-commercial sensor and control technologies that cross- cut a wide range of advanced fossil energy applications.  A post-doctoral position opening on this team is expected with an anticipated start date of August 2013 or later in the area of thin film sensor material development for high temperature, harsh environment sensing in advanced fossil energy applications.   A PhD in Materials Science, Physics, Electrical Engineering, or a related field is required.  Candidates with experience in one or more of the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply:


  1. High temperature electrical and optical characterization of thin film materials using techniques such as optical spectroscopy and 4-point resistance measurements.
  2. Strong experimental and theoretical optics background.
  3. Thin film deposition using wet chemistry based sol-gel deposition or sputter deposition.
  4. Thin film microstructural and chemical characterization using XRD, XPS, SEM, TEM, and AFM.
  5. Optical spectroscopy for thin film characterization including UV / Vis / Near-IR, FTIR, Raman, and Flourometry.



NETL has recently established the Regional University Alliance, a formalized collaboration between NETL and five major universities: University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Carnegie Mellon University, West Virginia University, and Penn State University.  Depending upon the particular expertise of the candidate, a significant portion of time could be spent working on the campus of one of the university partners to gain access to necessary facilities and foster new collaborative relationships.



  • Applicants must be U.S. Citizens or approved Foreign Nationals suitable for Federal employment, as determined by background investigation.
  • Must hold a masters and/or PhD degree from an accredited institution in Materials Science, Physics, Electrical Engineering, or a related field is required.




Applicants should apply through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) program.  The ORISE Program provides opportunities for undergraduate students, recent graduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty researchers. NETL utilizes the ORISE program to support research and work within NETL’s Office of Research & Development.


  • Interested applicants should complete the online application at


In the online application indicate your preferred NETL location and list Paul Ohodnicki as your requested mentor. This will associate your application with this job posting.