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RAP opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology     NIST

Microstructure of Structural and Functional Ceramics for Additive Manufacturing, Energy Conversion and Storage


Material Measurement Laboratory, Materials Measurement Science Division

opportunity location
50.64.31.B8183 Gaithersburg, MD

NIST only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Andrew J. Allen 301.975.5982


Control of microstructure, internal dynamics, materials physics and chemistry is of primary importance in determining the processing, performance and viability of advanced ceramic components such as relevant to solid oxide or hydrogen fuel cells, carbon capture materials (including direct air capture and carbon mineralization), and other systems that advance the hydrogen economy, promote US energy independence, or support advanced manufacturing methods such as additive manufacturing (AM) and post-process densification. The operative scale range for the void and phase microstructures of relevance extends from the micrometer scale down to the sub-nanometer scale regime. Our goal is to leverage our access to state-of-art X-ray and neutron facilities to develop and apply operando measurement methods that can quantify full three-dimensional void and phase microstructures and dynamics in technological ceramic materials, including changes during service life and dependence on processing conditions [1]. Such characterization addresses issues relevant to (e.g.) the electrodes and electrolyte of SOFCs, component phases and interfaces in fuel-reforming, hydrogen storage or carbon dioxide capture materials. In these cases, the microstructure frequently must be related to the reaction site kinetics and to changes in site chemical reactivity during service life [2]. Equally, these characterization methods interrogate physics-based phenomena relevant to many aspects of ceramic advanced manufacturing such as found in direct-ink write ceramic extrusion AM and in novel post-process densification methods such as cold sintering of AM ceramic green bodies [3]. This opportunity will address these interconnected issues by utilizing unique instrumentation, developed by NIST and its collaborators, and located at the Advanced Photon Source, the National Synchrotron Light Source II, and the NIST Center for Neutron Research. In summary, the opportunity exists for investigating fundamental processes relevant to novel energy materials and devices including structural and electronic ceramics, batteries, solid oxide fuel cells, energy harvesting devices, photovoltaics, carbon capture materials, as well as phenomena relevant to additive manufacturing of ceramics and their post-process densification. Complementary computational model simulation capabilities are also available.
[1] J. Ilavsky, F. Zhang, R.N. Andrews, I. Kuzmenko, P.R. Jemian, L.E. Levine & A.J. Allen; J. Appl. Cryst., 51, 867-882 (2018). DOI: 10.1107/S160057671800643X
[2] S.E. Witt, A.J. Allen, I. Kuzmenko, M.E. Holtz & S. Young; ACS Appl. Energy Mater., 3, 5353-5360 (2020). DOI: 10.1021/acsaem.0c00376
[3] A.J. Allen, I. Levin, R.A. Maier, S.E. Witt, F. Zhang & I. Kuzmenko; J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 104, 2442-2448 (2021). DOI: 10.1111/jace.17664 


key words
Carbon capture materials; Energy conversion; Energy harvesting devices; Fuel cells; Batteries; Functionally gradient materials; Hydrogen storage; Microstructure; Photovoltaics; Additive Manufacturing; Small-angle neutron scattering; Small-angle X-ray scattering; Synchrotron; X-ray absorption spectroscopy; X-ray imaging; X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy; Cold sintering; Flash sintering


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$82,764.00 $3,000.00
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