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RAP opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology     NIST

Developing New Techniques for Studying the Underlying Mechanisms of Hydrogen Embrittlement


Material Measurement Laboratory, Applied Chemicals and Materials Division

opportunity location
50.64.72.C0501 Boulder, CO

NIST only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Matthew Connolly 563.543.7063


Hydrogen embrittlement has been studied for over a century but understanding of the underlying mechanisms is still elusive. As hydrogen-based technologies are adopted, mitigation of this environmental degradation is becoming more urgent in order to allow hydrogen-safe infrastructure to be built. The last decade has seen an explosion in our understanding of the problem, almost all due to advances in characterization techniques and researchers’ innovation in combining techniques. The “million-dollar question” remaining in understanding hydrogen embrittlement is its exact location in a metal lattice. Knowing where in a strained lattice the hydrogen accumulates, and in what concentrations it is there, remain unanswered. The primary problem has been that hydrogen, due to its small size and fast diffusion rates and ubiquity as an element, is notoriously difficult to detect. But applications of atom probe spectroscopy, secondary ion mass spectroscopy, and Kelvin probe microscopy, to name just a few techniques, are showing that there are techniques that can find hydrogen, though issues of detection threshold, size resolution, and rate of detection still remain. In addition to these and other analytical capabilities at the NIST-Boulder campus, there are other world-class NIST facilities such as the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) and the NIST-run beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS).  This opportunity focuses on applying or developing creative solutions for detecting hydrogen in structural materials under stress.

key words
Hydrogen embrittlement; hydrogen; renewable energy; spectroscopy; microscopy;


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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