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Postdoctoral Fellow- Ionomer & Membrane Characterization

Cyclotron Road

Cyclotron Road

California, USA
Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s (LBNL) Energy Storage & Distributed Resources Division has an opening for a Postdoctoral Scholar Employee to join the team.

In this exciting role, you will work with a world-class team from industry, academia, and national laboratories to understand, characterize and optimize structure-processing-function relationships of a broad class of ion-exchange membranes and interfaces as part of the Hydrogen and Fuel-cell program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This will include advanced electrochemical diagnostics of the polymeric separators, solid-polymer electrolytes, and thin-films as well as their in-situ and operando structural characterization to ascertain the relevant multiscale properties, establish structure-property maps and provide guidance and concepts to mitigate any observed bottlenecks by means of materials design or device straggles. Such analyses may include modeling of the polymer properties and various physics occurring in these material systems. You will interact with the Energy Conversion Group, focused on understanding various phenomena in fuel-cells and electrolyzers with a particular emphasis on underlying fundamental processes occurring in ionomers and interfaces in a wide range of energy and environmental applications, as well as will complement the existing strengths in the hydrogen and fuel cell program in advanced material-level diagnostics, characterization, and analysis.

What You Will Do:

  • Characterize structure-processing-property relationships in ion-conducting membranes and thin-films using advanced diagnostics for various energy conversion technologies, from fuel-cells to flow batteries and electrolyzers.
  • Conceive and execute research that is novel and can lead to high impact.
  • Develop in-situ structural and spectroscopic characterization techniques for functional soft matter.
  • Work as part of a team to execute projects related to ion-exchange materials and electrochemical devices, and provide ideas, suggestions, and guidance to colleagues on material design, integration, durability, characterization and modeling.
  • Utilize and advance experimental techniques, for example, synchrotron-based X-ray scattering and spectroscopy, and other electrochemical characterization tools to probe chemical, structural and transport properties of ion-containing materials.
  • Work on meeting milestones and reporting them to DOE.
  • Publish original research in peer-reviewed journals; contribute to scientific publications; present research through talks and posters at conferences, workshops, and multi-investigator meetings.
  • Collaborate and work with teams of researchers from diverse backgrounds, and interface with research teams from across industry, academia, and national laboratories.
  • Uphold a culture of safety and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, accountability.

Additional Responsibilities as needed:

  • Participate in professional society activities.
  • Work with the energy-conversion team in fuel-cell and electrolyzer diagnostics.
  • Leverage the unique facilities at LBNL, including the Advanced Light Source and the Molecular Foundry, to conduct research on experimental characterization.
  • Interact with the LBNL electrochemistry and polymer community (with extensive experience in fuel cells, electrolysis, diagnostics and durability, material synthesis, theory and modeling, polymer characterization) to aid in relevant research activities.
  • Work on development and/or implementation of custom stages multi-modal and in-situ/operando measurements.
  • Ability to assemble and test fuel-cell and flow battery systems and perform diagnostics tests.

What is Required:

  • PhD in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science or related field.
  • Demonstrated experience in structure-property characterization of solid-polymer electrolytes and interfaces, ionomer membranes and thin-films.
  • Proven experience in electrochemical characterization, membrane-property measurements, developing experimental setups and customizing environmental stages.
  • Experience with polymer-physics and related characterizations such as spectroscopy and X-ray scattering or imaging.
  • Knowledge of, and experience with, thin-film or polymer casting and processing, and familiarity with techniques such as ellipsometry, quartz-crystal microbalance, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, mechanical and chemical characterization techniques.
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative for tackling cross-disciplinary research problems from initiation to meaningful conclusion.
  • Ability to learn rapidly and integrate new fields to demonstrate creative problem-solving skills.
  • Ability and willingness to work in a team environment and collaborate with researchers from various backgrounds.
  • Experience in bridging different fields, approaches, and/or novel techniques for solving materials problems.
  • Strong, primary publication record
  • Strong communication skills; written, visual and verbal.
  • Data management and organization skills.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience with hydrogen fuel cells and electrolyzers, cell testing and diagnostics methods.
  • Knowledge of solid-polymer electrolytes, composite membranes, mechanics, and polymer chemistry.
  • Familiarity with data curation and visualization, statistics, and advanced data analysis.
  • Knowledge and hands-on experience with nanofabrication.


  • This is a full-time, 2 year, postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of renewal based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds and ongoing operational needs. You must have less than 3 years of paid postdoctoral experience. Salary for Postdoctoral positions depends on years of experience post-degree.
  • This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes.
  • The monthly salary range for this position is $5,374.00 / mo - $7,316.00 / mo and is expected to start at $6,626.00 / mo or above. Postdoctoral positions are paid on a step schedule per union contract and salaries will be predetermined based on postdoctoral step rates. Each step represents one full year of completed post-Ph.D. postdoctoral and/or related research experience.
  • This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.
  • Work will be primarily performed at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA.

Learn About Us:

Berkeley Lab (LBNL) addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 16 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Working at Berkeley Lab has many rewards including a competitive compensation program, excellent health and welfare programs, a retirement program that is second to none, and outstanding development opportunities. To view information about the many rewards that are offered at Berkeley Lab- Click Here.

Berkeley Lab is committehed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) and strives to continue building community with tse shared values and commitments.

Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We heartily welcome applications from women, minorities, veterans, and all who would contribute to the Lab’s mission of leading scientific discovery, inclusion, and professionalism. In support of our diverse global community, all qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.

Equal Opportunity and IDEA Information Links:

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