Materials Scientist (pH Sensing Layer)


Job Description:

An opportunity exists within the RSS Contract at National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)-Pittsburgh to join an interdisciplinary team developing new sensor technologies for a range of energy applications spanning power generation, advanced manufacturing, and infrastructure monitoring, with an emphasis on subsurface environments and natural gas infrastructure. NETL is a multi-disciplinary, scientific and technical-oriented national laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy's primary lab supporting fossil fuel-based energy and carbon management research. The scientist/researcher will collaborate on an interdisciplinary team spanning industry, academic, and national laboratory partners that seeks to develop and demonstrate advanced sensors and enabling technologies for energy infrastructure monitoring applications.

TERM OF COMMITMENT: This research position is intended to be a term position, with varying levels of commitment that are not expected to last longer than 1 year. You will be informed prior to applying what length of commitment is anticipated. Also, those who successfully fill a term position, may be invited to apply for an additional term. Nothing in this paragraph is intended to create an employment contract. Employment will remain at will. Driven by our talented workforce, the Integrated Missions Operation builds trust through an array of energy-related IT, environmental science and engineering solutions to meet our customers' needs.

Location: Pittsburg, PA

Primary Responsibilities:
  • Develop, synthesize, and test various pH sensing layers for simulated high pressure high temperature oil and natural gas wellbore environments for optical, electronic, and microwave sensing schemes.
  • A number of sensing layer formulations will be explored and integrated with different sensing platforms for pH sensing in various energy infrastructure monitoring applications.
  • Strong collaborative interactions are expected with device level scientists as well as other materials scientists focused on the optimization of solid-aqueous phase interactions.
  • Development of thin and thick films of metal oxides, polymers and organic / inorganic hybrid materials including metal-organic framework materials.
  • Perform materials characterization using SEM, TEM, XRD, TGA, FTIR, XPS, etc.
  • Perform optical spectroscopy including UV, Vis, near-IR, and spectroscopic ellipsometry
  • Publications in high quality scientific peer-reviewed journals, presentations at national and international technical meetings
  • Development of new intellectual properties based on the innovative research
  • Period status reporting and project reports (weekly/monthly/quarterly/annually) are required to update project managers and clients
  • This position will require extensive interface with principal investigators, clients and potential collaborative partners, so excellent verbal and written communication skills are required.

Basic Qualifications:
  • A t least a M.S. degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, or related areas is required with less than two years of post-graduate experience.
  • A strong background in chemical engineering, electrochemistry, polymers, organic / inorganic hybrid materials, and nanotechnology.
  • Experience with deposition techniques such as wet chemistry deposition, physical vapor deposition (PVD), and electrolytic and electroless plating.
  • Quick learning and hands-on experience in chemistry labs are a plus.
  • Excellent communication skills and a willingness and interest to collaborate in an interdisciplinary team environment to drive towards overall project and team objectives are highly desired.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Ph.D. degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, or related areas is preferred.
  • Experience with nanoparticles, nanoporous, and functionalized thin films is highly desired.
  • Knowledge on electrochemistry and solid-electrolyte interaction. Experience with electrochemical techniques such as potentiodynamic polarization, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and related data analysis.
  • Experience with optical, electronic, and mass-based measurement techniques including optical spectroscopy (UV, vis, near-IR, spectroscopic ellipsometry), 2- and 4-point resistivity and hall effect measurements, and QCM.
  • Experience in sensor development and testing in high pressure high temperature reactors.
  • Prior experience with government-owned national lab research settings.

External Referral Bonus:


External Referral Bonus $:

Potential for Telework:


Clearance Level Required:




Scheduled Weekly Hours:




Requisition Category:


Job Family:

Research Scientist

Pay Range: