Postdoctoral Appointee – Optical Phenomenology and Explosive Sciences

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation with major facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Livermore, California. We are a world-class team of scientists, engineers, technologists, post docs, and visiting researchers all focused on cutting-edge technology, ranging from homeland defense, global security, biotechnology, and environmental preservation to energy and combustion research, computer security, and nuclear defense. To learn more, please visit our website at

Bidder Eligibility

This postdoctoral position is a temporary position for up to one year, which may be renewed at Sandia’s discretion up to five additional years. The PhD must have been conferred within five years prior to employment. Individuals in postdoctoral positions may bid on regular Sandia positions as internal candidates, and in some cases may be converted to regular career positions during their term if warranted by ongoing operational needs, continuing availability of funds, and satisfactory job performance. 

Employees must remain in their current position for one year before applying for a new position, with the exception of student interns. Application of this requirement will not supersede collective bargaining agreements. See collective bargaining labor agreements for represented bidder eligibility requirements for represented employees.

Posting Duration

This posting will be open for application submissions for a minimum of seven (7) calendar days, including the ‘posting date’. Sandia reserves the right to extend the posting date at any time.

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

Sandia demonstrates its commitment to public safety in the national interest by requiring that all new hires be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious accommodation before commencing employment. The requirement also applies to those who are telecommuting and working virtually.

Any concerns about the ability to meet this requirement should be directed to HR Solutions at (505) 284-4700.

What Your Job Will Be Like

We are seeking a dedicated Postdoctoral Appointee to support multiple defense and nuclear nonproliferation mission activities. Specific research areas include radiation hydrodynamics in extreme environments including explosive fireballs, optical emission modeling, supporting optical sensor concept design and development, sensor testing, and related modeling and analysis efforts.

Areas of research focus include development of computational modeling tools and/or research in measurements and sensor systems. Opportunities exist to perform data analysis and exploitation for purposes including but not limited to sensor development and model validation.

On any given day, you may be called on to:

  • Integrate into an established team to perform research and development focused on customer mission requirements from phenomenological understanding to sensor/modeling concept development, design, and analysis in support of these missions
  • Work on various systems by performing end-to-end simulations for the evaluation of sensor utility and supporting future sensor designs

Minimal travel is required for this position.

Qualifications We Require

  • PhD in Physics, Optical Sciences, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering acquired within 5 years prior to employment
  • Background in study of light-matter interactions including either modeling, experiments, or both
  • Ability to obtain a DOE Q clearance

Qualifications We Desire

  • Proficiency with varied communication methods, including oral presentation, preparation of high-impact visual presentations, written reports, and the ability to communicate scientific and technical information clearly and concisely at a level tailored the audience
  • Possess strong dedication to team environment dynamics and ability to successfully implement complex projects in a variety of roles (leader and group member)
  • Demonstrated experience modeling and analysis of the evolution dynamic systems such as shock physics or computational fluid dynamics
  • Experience developing and analyzing experimental diagnostics for dynamic systems including high-speed imaging, spectral radiometry, and spectroscopy
  • Experience with modeling and simulation, data analysis, and coding languages such as Python, R, C++, MATLAB, etc.
  • Lab experience, including design of experiment, testing, monitoring/troubleshooting
  • Data analysis of complex systems, including statistical characterization and inference
  • Experience with running codes on high-performance computing systems
  • Experience in analysis of complex coupled physics processes such as radiation hydrodynamics, turbulence, computational fluid dynamics, plasma physics
  • Familiarity with radiative transport, optical transmission, and atmospheric simulation codes
  • Familiarity with code coupling or optimizing end-to-end workflows
  • Application of statistical analysis methods

About Our Team

We perform R&D for national security applications. We develop and exploit scientific advances and engineering technologies across a broad spectrum to enable advances in components and systems for national security. We engage with technologically savvy end-users to mature technology from concept to laboratory demonstration to prototype to fielded systems. In addition, the department serves as a principal Sandia point of contact and as independent advisors for US Special Operations Forces.

About Sandia

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:
• Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide
• Extraordinary co-workers
• Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world
• Career advancement and enrichment opportunities
• Flexible work arrangements for many positions include 9/80 (work 80 hours every two weeks, with every other Friday off) and 4/10 (work 4 ten-hour days each week) compressed workweeks, part-time work, and telecommuting (a mix of onsite work and working from home)
• Generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:
*These benefits vary by job classification.

Security Clearance

Sandia is required by DOE to conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Applicants for employment need to be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by DOE, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

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