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Fusion Plasma-Facing Component Physicist

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee, US
To be discussed at later date
Posting live until
28 Jun 2024

Job Details


We are seeking an Fusion Plasma-facing Component (PFC) Physicists who will focus on integration design, demonstration, and deployment of PFCs in fusion devices.  This position resides in the Power Exhaust and Particle Control (PE&PC) Group in the Burning Plasma Foundations Section of the Fusion Energy Division/Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The PE&PC group carries out experimental and simulation work to develop solutions and the accompanying physics basis for power exhaust, PMI science, and particle control needs for fusion energy reactors.

As part of your role in our PE&PC team, you will interface closely with ORNL staff on collaborations related to the development of plasma-facing components in toroidal facilities. Working with a number of team members, you will participate in experiments on domestic and international fusion facilities to ensure the successful exploitation PFCs, including validation of plasma-material interactions (PMI) models and materials needed in these systems.

As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. With a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people, ORNL’s decadal vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Provide scientific direction, guidance and/or mentorship to fellow scientists, engineers, and support staff as a key member of the Power Exhaust and Particle Control research group.

  • Interface with experts to develop and execute proposals for experimental/simulation studies of plasma-wall interactions focusing on the verification and validation of solid-surface PFCs.

  • Develop and maintain analysis codes and interact with a diverse team to ensure the successful execution of research programs.

  • Routinely communicate results of analyses and experimental outcomes in high-impact presentations, reports, conference papers, and key peer-reviewed journals.

  • Work to create partnerships with industry, universities, and other national laboratories to identify where ORNL experience and capabilities can make an impact and lead research proposals in response to solicitations, particularly in the area of novel PFCs relevant to a future fusion pilot plant.

  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.

Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in physics or nuclear engineering (or related field).

  • Candidate should have at least 2 years of post-graduate experience. The ideal candidate will have experience working in a collaborative team environment on plasma-material interactions (PMI).

  • Demonstrated ability to work individually and/or as part of a team, including participation at remote facilities, and contribute based on knowledge and experience.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Excellent communication skills as evidenced by previous reports, papers, and presentations.

  • Demonstrated success in at least some aspect of designing, building, and operating plasma diagnostics and measurement systems for fusion plasma devices.

  • Demonstrated technical acumen in any aspect of fusion energy device’s PMI, e.g., PFC erosion measurement and/or modeling and/or PFC development.

  • Experience with scientific data management systems and/or control software for precision scientific equipment for materials testing and evaluation.

  • Experience in one or more of the follow areas: design of experiments for PFC testing, analysis software for evaluation of PFC heat flux and heat transfer, and/or methods for integrated engineering science of fusion components.

Special Requirements:

  • Export control, no clearance:  This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.

  • Visa Sponsorship: Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.

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: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Pet 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.

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.



Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory with more than 6500 staff from more than 60 countries, 3200 guest researchers and a budget of approximately $2.7 billion.  ORNL engages in diverse research activities that support the department’s mission of ensuring America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and security challenges.

Why work for us
Leveraging the talents of our world-class researchers and exceptional support staff, ORNL is helping solve critical scientific and technical challenges and, in so doing, creating economic opportunity for the nation. ORNL provides access to unique facilities, laboratories, and equipment, drawing thousands of visiting researchers each year. A vibrant and welcoming scientific community, ORNL embraces the pursuit of innovative ideas and invests in its people to ensure their success.

Training and development
As a student intern, postdoctoral researcher, or early career scientist, you will have the opportunity to work with, and be mentored by, world-class scientists and engineers. You will work to solve the toughest scientific and engineering challenges that have international impact.  

What we are looking for
We are seeking theoretical and applied scientists, postdocs and students interested in:

  • Particle physics
  • Neutron and neutrino physics
  • Condensed matter physics
  • Coupled physics
  • Astrophysics
  • High-energy physics
  • Plasma/fusion
  • Nuclear physics
  • Computational physics
  • Quantum (networking, materials, microelectronics, sensing, algorithms) 

Career opportunities include internships, postdoctoral research appointments, distinguished fellowships, scientific and technical staff positions. 

Oak Ridge, TN, USA

Number of employees

Main areas of research
Biology and environment, supercomputing, clean energy, fusion and fission, isotopes, physical sciences, national security, and neutron sciences

Positions recently recruited for
Research scientist, postdoctoral research associate

How to apply

Closing date
All year round 


Company info
001 865 241 2950
PO Box 2008
One Bethel Valley Road
Oak Ridge

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