Advanced Tokamak Physics - Postdoctoral Research Associate

Requisition Id 4208 

Description of job: The Advanced Tokamak Physics (ATP) Group within the Fusion Energy Division (FED) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks candidates for a Postdoctoral Researcher to investigate radio-frequency (RF) current drive using helicon and high field side (HFS) launched lower hybrid (LH) waves at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility. The position will focus on quantifying wave/edge-plasma coupling phenomena by directly comparing experimental measurements of the wave’s electric field vector to full-wave simulations. Work encompasses a mix of experimental and computational duties. The experimental responsibilities will include routine operation of a novel laser-based spectroscopy diagnostic used to measure the wave’s electric field vector. The computational duties will involve development of 3D full-wave models for the helicon and HFS LH current drive actuators using existing software packages and comparison of the simulated results with the experimental data. The overarching aim of this work is to profoundly impact the helicon and HFS LH programs by quantitively addressing physics crucial to the program’s ultimate goal – efficient current drive in high-performance advanced tokamak scenarios. The candidate will have a unique opportunity to build strong collaborations with the DIII-D Team and other world-leading institutions. This position is an off-campus posting. The candidate will be on assignment at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility at General Atomics in San Diego, CA.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Routine operation of a laser-based diagnostic implementing Doppler-free saturation spectroscopy (DFSS) to measure the Dbeta (n=2 to 4) spectral line profile.
  • Development of 3D full-wave models for the helicon and high field side lower hybrid current drive actuators using COMSOL and Petra-M software packages.
  • Implementing the developed 3D full-wave models to explore the effect of key edge-plasma parameters (i.e. density profile, turbulence, collisionality) on wave/edge-plasma coupling.
  • Compare simulated and experimentally measured wave electric field vector data to advance and validate the computational models.
  • Work with other experimentalists and theorists to maintain a high level of scientific productivity.
  • Be responsible for presenting and reporting research results and publishing scientific results in key peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.


Minimum Qualifications: 

  • Ph.D. in Physics, Nuclear Engineering or a closely related field. 
  • The applicant is expected to possess a strong background in the physics of toroidal plasma confinement devices, experience with complex scientific codes, execution of experimental plans, interaction with experimental data, and have a strong record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences.
  • Be capable of innovative research with minimal supervision and have the ability to work collaboratively in a team environment, interacting effectively with a broad range of colleagues, including an international scientific audience. 
  • In addition, be motivated, safety conscious and possess excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Applicants cannot have received the most recent degree more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. 
  • Appointments will initially be for 12 months with a possibility of an extension of up to 24 months. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.


Qualifications Desired: Strong interest in contributing to the pursuit of a steady-state fusion reactor to enable a sustainable future. Existing experience with waves in plasmas, advanced data analysis techniques, physics interpretation, and proficiency in MATLAB, Python or equivalent scientific programming language.


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.

Salary Range
$48,000.00 - 76,000.00
per Year
Salary range estimated by
Oak Ridge, TN 37830, US