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Job Information

Los Alamos National Laboratory Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies Graduate Student in Los Alamos, New Mexico

What You Will Do

The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies in the Materials Physics and Applications Division (MPA-CINT) at Los Alamos National Laboratory is seeking outstanding graduate research assistant candidates to contribute to our nanoscale materials characterization and modeling research. The positions are in support of an LDRD-funded projects that addresses modeling of grain boundaries and predicting strain fields that result from these structures. Areas of particular interest are:

  • Generating grain boundaries in 2D layered materials including WSe2 and MoTe2 and relaxing them to understand resulting orientation distributions and microstructure, and how these change with applied strain and/or temperature (e.g. high temperature mobility of grain boundary structures). This may require using DFT calculations to validate outputs from available MD potentials, like reactive force-field (ReaxFF). Phonon dispersion calculations using Phonopy would also be performed to check the dynamic stability of the system. The dataset generated can also contribute towards development of Spectral Neighbor Analysis Potential (SNAP), which uses machine learning techniques to develop quantum accurate potentials, for WSe2, MoTe2 and potentially other layered materials is also of interest. Since high temperature mobility is being investigated, thermal properties, like lattice thermal conductivity, would be computed using Phono3py and ShengBTE.

  • Multiscale problems relating to grain boundary energetics and strain engineering of FCC metals such as Cu, CuPb, and Fe. Research will involve generating the exact grain boundary structures of materials characterized experimentally by electron microscopy. The student will coordinate with project collaborators to obtain strain functional descriptors and use these to model the strain profiles around GBs leading to an understanding of what is observed experimentally. The molecular dynamics modeling would be carried out using the open source LAMMPS program, and visualization and analysis of output would be performed using OVITO software.

  • Understanding energy versus grain misorientation in multicomponent high entropy alloys (3/4 elements), to develop an understanding of how the energy landscape changes when the material is alloyed (for example adding 3% Cr).

  • Performing sample synthesis, van der Waals stacking, device fabrication, and magneto-thermal characterization of Dirac semimetals including HfTe5 and Cd3As2. Specifically, measuring the high field anomalous current as a function of both temperature gradient and magnetic field. The experimental research will be familiar to those with thermopower measurement expertise. Initial measurements will include strain dependence of electrical conductivity, Raman peaks, Hall effect, and thermopower measurements without a magnetic field. Then lab-scale 8T magnetic field measurements will be performed and finally 60-70 T pulsed field measurements will be used as the project progress allows.

Depending on his/her expertise, the candidate will contribute to current work from the above topics, or on a broad range of research projects including supervised experimental work related to the above topics.

The ideal candidate will be pursuing one of the above topics for their own doctoral thesis research at their university. The initial appointment is May 1 – Sept 30, 2021, with flexible dates. Options for continuing work with the laboratory can be pursued after the initial appointment, but is not guaranteed and depends on future funding situations in addition to candidate performance.

The position is located in Los Alamos, NM.

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in an accredited Ph.D. program in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering or closely related discipline.

  • Must be enrolled in at least 6 semester credit hours (or full-time equivalent). Students preparing to begin a graduate program of study must provide documentation indicating matriculation into an appropriate degree program.

  • Must currently have and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent).

Desired Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated ability to communicate in both oral and written English, both technically and interpersonally. Proven ability to write peer-reviewed publication-quality articles is a requirement for this posting.

  • Demonstrated ability to work creatively and independently in collaboration with large interdisciplinary and diverse research teams.

  • Understanding of fundamental defect and strain-dependent mechanical, electrical, and optical properties in materials.

  • Theoretical background and ability to create, perform, and analyze simulations using DFT, MD, or other theoretical frameworks utilizing LANL’s high performance computing architecture. Experience with job scheduling using slurm.


  • Experimental background in at least one of the following areas: electronic transport, van der Waals heterostructures, nanofabrication, cryogenics, electron microscopy, or optical spectroscopy with a focus on in situ characterization technique development including instrumentation coding.

  • Strong scientific record as demonstrated by publication in high impact factor journals, strong citation of published work quantified through total citation count and Hirsch-index, and recognition through national or international honors and awards.

Note to Applicants: Applicants are expected to submit a cover letter addressing how they meet the desired skills, a current CV, and the contact information for at least three professional references, and transcripts. A CV with the following categories is preferred: educational background including degree dates (or expected degree dates) and GPA with scale, professional appointments, competitive honors and awards, publications with h-index and total citations (list each publication with its citation count and journal impact factor), patents and status, invited and contributed presentations, and grants including role of the applicant.

Evaluation of applications will commence immediately and continue until the position is filled. This posting may result in multiple hires.

For further technical information or questions, please contact Dr. Michael Pettes (pettesmt@lanl.gov).

Location: This position will be physically located inthe LANL Materials Science Complex in Los Alamos, NM.

Where You Will Work

Located in beautiful northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. Our generous benefits package includes:

§ PPO or High Deductible medical insurance with the same large nationwide network

§ Dental and vision insurance

§ Free basic life and disability insurance

§ Paid maternity and parental leave

§ Award-winning 401(k) (6% matching plus 3.5% annually)

§ Learning opportunities and tuition assistance

§ Flexible schedules and time off (paid sick, vacation, and holidays)

§ Onsite gyms and wellness programs

§ Extensive relocation packages (outside a 50 mile radius)

Additional Details

Directive 206.2 - Employment with Triad requires a favorable decision by NNSA indicating employee is suitable under NNSA Supplemental Directive 206.2 . Please note that this requirement applies only to citizens of the United States. Foreign nationals are subject to a similar requirement under DOE Order 142.3A.

No Clearance: Position does not require a security clearance. Selected candidates will be subject to drug testing and other pre-employment background checks.

New-Employment Drug Test: The Laboratory requires successful applicants to complete a new-employment drug test and maintains a substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing.

Internal Applicants: Regular appointment employees who have served the required period of continuous service in their current position are eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the required period of continuous service, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. Please refer to PolicyPolicy P701for applicant eligibility requirements.

For general program information refer to the Student Programs web page.

Equal Opportunity: Los Alamos National Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. All employment practices are based on qualification and merit, without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or preference, marital status or spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or citizenship within the limits imposed by federal laws and regulations. The Laboratory is also committed to making our workplace accessible to individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, for individuals to participate in the application and hiring process. To request such an accommodation, please send an email to applyhelp@lanl.gov or call 1-505-665-4444 option 1.

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Appointment Type



Contact Details
Contact Name Thalacker, Lindsay K.
Email lthalacker@lanl.gov
Work Telephone
Vacancy Name: IRC84992
Organization Name MPA-CINT/Center For Integrated Nanotechnologies
Minimum Salary
Maximum Salary
Req ID: IRC84992
Category: Student - Graduate