Postdoctoral Research: Spectroscopy for the Study of Chemical Reactions | Institute for Shock Physics


Posted: 25-Jan-23

Location: Spokane, Washington

Type: Full Time

Salary: $5,500-$5775/month


Academia, Research Laboratory

Job Function:


Technical Division:

Applied Spectroscopy (IS)

Years of Experience:


Internal Number: R-8465

The Spokane-based Applied Sciences Laboratory (ASL) of the Institute for Shock Physics (ISP) at Washington State University is a contract research organization. We conduct a broad range of applied science and technology projects for government agencies and corporations, including technology transfer for commercial applications. Our research activities span the physical sciences, engineering, and biomedical sciences.

Within the physical sciences, many of our experiments focus on studying chemical reactions using optics and spectroscopy. We utilize a variety of lasers (e.g., pulsed/cw high-energy/power lasers, frequency doubled/tripled/quadrupled lasers, optical parametric amplifiers, femtosecond lasers, cw laser diodes, etc.). We also use a wide array of optical detection and analysis apparatus, including biased and amplified photodiodes, photomultipliers, APD’s, image intensifiers, lock-in amplifiers, and other state-of-the-art electro-optic instrumentation.

We have an immediate opening for a postdoctoral research associate to conduct basic and applied research in experimental optics and spectroscopy for the study of chemical reactions in real time. The successful candidate will work on various aspects of the research project, including sensor development, optical characterization of materials, data analysis, and modeling. Occasional travel with access to Department of Energy (DoE) facilities is required. We are looking to hire an experimentalist who enjoys hands-on work and problem-solving in a fast-paced research environment.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Perform a variety of laser-based optical spectroscopy measurements (e.g., Raman, fluorescence, fluorescence lifetime)
  2. Independently define and complete experimental projects and tasks
  3. Conduct and analyze research experiments, document processes and procedures, and prepare reports and publications as appropriate
  4. Take the lead in the design, development, and use of optical equipment and systems for optical measurements and other laser-based diagnostics

A strong, hands-on experimental background is essential for this position. The required professional qualifications and personal attributes are:

  • A recent Ph.D. degree in Physics, Optics, Chemistry, or related field with a strong experimental background in optical physics, optical spectroscopy, lasers, or optoelectronics
  • Strong academic and research background related to optical and spectroscopy experiments and excellent problem-solving skills
  • Hands-on experience with optical spectroscopy techniques, data acquisition, and data analysis
  • Graduate or post-graduate experience at a U.S. Academic Institution or National Laboratory
  • Good oral and written communication skills (i.e., ability to engage in scientific discussions and clearly express and understand ideas, and ability to summarize research results in a succinct written manner)
  • Ability to perform independent research
  • Critical thinking, good judgment, clear sense of purpose, attention to detail, and accountability
  • Must be able to obtain a badge at U.S. Department of Energy facilities to gain access to restricted areas/information.

 Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will also have experience with:

  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Nonlinear optics
  • Chemometrics, and analysis automation
  • Vacuum equipment
  • Optical trapping

The salary structure is both attractive and nationally competitive. Other benefits include health/dental insurance, vacation/sick leave, retirement plans, and access to all University facilities. The position is located on the WSU Campus in Spokane, Washington. 

Questions may be submitted to Ms. Sheila Heyns, Assistant Director, Administration and External Relations, Institute for Shock Physics, 509-335-5345 [email protected].

Due to the large volume of applications, we will contact only those selected for next steps.

Additional information about the Institute for Shock Physics and Washington State University follows:

The Institute has ongoing research activities at the following three locations:

  • Institute for Shock Physics – Pullman, WA: Combining research innovations and rigorous education (
  • Dynamic Compression Sector – Argonne, IL: Frontier of dynamic compression science (first-of-a-kind worldwide user facility) located at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory (
  • Applied Sciences Laboratory – Spokane, WA: Transforming science into practical solutions (

Washington State University

Washington State University, one of the two research universities in the state, was founded in 1890 as the state’s land-grant institution and is located in Pullman with regional campuses in Spokane, Vancouver and the Tri-Cities. Due to its strong emphasis on excellence in research and education, the Carnegie Classification™ has designated WSU as R1: Doctoral University – Highest Research Activity. Current enrollment is approximately 31,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The University offers more than 200 fields of study, with 95 majors for undergraduates, 79 master’s degree programs, 63 doctoral degree programs, and 4 professional degree programs. Academically, the University is organized into 11 colleges (Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences; Arts and Sciences; Business; Communication; Education; Engineering and Architecture; Honors; Medicine; Nursing; Pharmacy; and Veterinary Medicine) and a Graduate School. The Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy are located on the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus. For more information, please visit

WSU is an EO/AA Educator and Employer.

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About Institute for Shock Physics

The Institute for Shock Physics (ISP) at Washington State University (WSU) is a multi-disciplinary research organization with a strong focus on understanding condensed matter response at extreme conditions. WSU (as the lead institution) and three outstanding academic partners – Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, and Stanford University – conduct substantive research leading to advances/innovations in the field of Dynamic Compression Science. Multidisciplinary research activities, involving students, postdocs, and faculty members from different academic disciplines at the four participating institutions, comprehensively address the exciting scientific challenges. In addition, meaningful and mutually beneficial collaborations with scientists are undertaken at the NNSA Laboratories: Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia. WSU is a leader in shock wave and high pressure research. The research activities, supported by the DOE/NNSA and other federal agencies, involve examining and understanding physical and chemical changes in solids and liquids under very rapid and large compressions. Using state-of-the-art experimental and computational capabilities, world-class faculty at the ISP conduct interdisciplinary research spanning the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, solid mechanics, planetary sciences, and applied mathematics. Graduate students and faculty from various academic departments participate in the research activities.

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