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Gas and Chemical Sensor Development

The National Energy Technology Laboratory's (NETL's) record of success has been built on understanding the future of energy and the technologies required to make that future possible. We’ve long touted our success in developing the technologies that took on acid rain in the 1970s and mercury in the early 2000s. More recently, NETL has a leading role in President Biden’s ambitious climate goals, including a carbon emission-free power sector by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050.

Program Goals

The NETL Postgraduate Research Program (PGRP) is a high-intensity program designed to identify recent Master’s and Doctoral graduates of high promise and to foster advanced skill development. It allows the postgraduate to systematically outline career goals and helps provide the means of achieving these goals. NETL principal investigators and leads serve as mentors to PGRP participants during the program. This interaction affords the postgraduate a unique opportunity to develop critical skills needed to become an independent professional.

The program goals include providing the opportunity to participants to:

  • Develop skills and knowledge in their field of study
  • Engage with new areas of basic and applied research
  • Network with world-class scientists
  • Exchange ideas and skills with the Laboratory community
  • Use state-of-the-art equipment
  • Contribute to answers for today's pressing scientific questions
  • Collaborate with the broader scientific and technical communities

Project Details

Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), this posting seeks a post-Doctoral or post-Master's researcher to engage in projects with the Research Innovation Center (RIC) at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in the area of natural gas infrastructure under the mentorship of Ruishu Wright. This project will be hosted at the NETL Pittsburgh, PA campuses.

A post-doctoral research participant is sought to collaborate on the development of gas and chemical sensors, synthesize and test various gas and chemical sensing materials to be used in field applications such as monitoring in CO2 capture and storage, CH4 and H2 gas leaks, amine degradation monitoring, and corrosion monitoring. The team seeks a participant with a background in electrochemistry, chemistry, and/or chemical engineering. Experience of thin films,  organic / inorganic hybrid materials, nanotechnology, nanoparticles, and nanoporous materials is also highly desired. The research participant will collaborate with principal investigator scientists to develop various sensing layer formulations and will test them under simulated conditions. 

The participant will learn skills to develop gas and chemical sensors for CH4 and H2 gas leak detection, CO2 capture and storage monitoring, and pH and geochemical monitoring.

Stipend: The selected participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

  • Post-Master's stipends start at $3,720 per month.
  • Post-Doctoral stipends start at $5,518 per month.
    Actual stipend rate offered may be increased based on experience.

Deliverables: To document the effectiveness of the program, participants are required to submit a pre-appointment and post-appointment survey, as well as a reflection on their appointment experience when they renew or end their appointment. The reflection should summarize their project(s), additional activities, and overall experience. Details are provided as the appointment end date approaches.
Participants may also have the opportunity to contribute to manuscripts, journal articles, book chapters, conference presentations, posters, patents, and other publications as a part of their appointment. Such achievements should also be reported to ORISE; additional details are provided after an offer has been accepted.


The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory system, is owned and operated by the DOE. NETL supports the DOE mission to advance the energy security of the United States. This is an educational opportunity offered by NETL and administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Participants in the program are not considered employees of NETL, DOE, the program administrator, or any other office or agency.



To be eligible, you must either:

  • have received a Doctoral degree within the last five years or be currently enrolled in a Doctoral degree program and complete the degree prior to the appointment start date.
  • have received a Master's degree within the last three years or are currently enrolled in a Master's degree program and complete the degree prior to the appointment start date.

The ideal candidate would have some, but not necessarily all, of the following:

  • PhD in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, or related areas
  • Post-doc experience
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Willingness and interest to collaborate in an interdisciplinary team environment
  • Experience in gas and chemical sensors, including sensing materials development, electrochemical sensors, optical fiber sensors, wireless sensors, and other sensors
  • Experience with deposition techniques such as wet chemistry deposition and electroless plating
  • Experience with electrochemical techniques such as potentiodynamic polarization, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and related data analysis
  • Experience with materials characterization techniques including SEM, XRD, TGA, FTIR, XPS
  • Experience with optical, electronic, and mass-based measurement techniques including optical spectroscopy (UV, vis, near-IR, spectroscopic ellipsometry), 2- and 4-point resistivity and hall effect measurements, and QC