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Leidos is seeking a Research Scientist / Engineer for our NETL Pittsburgh, PA Site. The Research Scientist / Engineer will conduct research and development of cladding materials for sapphire optical fibers. These claddings are to be used in distributed temperature sensing in energy-related applications such as boiler exhaust, heat recovery steam generators, gas turbines, and solid oxide fuel cells.
- Apply MgAl2O4 and other potential claddings using a sol-gel process
- Test the mechanical durability of claddings, including resistance to abrasion and spalling when flexed. Mechanical testing initially will include bending the fiber and observing delamination or cracking.
- Test the resistance to chemical damage and contamination in various gas atmospheres.
- Measure the optical performance of the cladding before and after exposures and mechanical testing.
- Investigate the performance of other materials identified through the literature reviews.
- Develop reel-to-reel fiber coating and manufacturing facilities for the most promising cladding candidates
- Demonstrate cladding stability under application relevant conditions.
- Scale up the coating process for MgAl2O4 while further exploring alternative processes for higher temperature operation including, but not limited to, porous Al2O3.
- Upon successful test of MgAl2O4 coated sapphire fiber, further optimize coating process and benchmark temperature limitations for various process gas environments.
- Demonstrate alternative cladding recipes for higher temperature operational ranges (greater than 1000oC).
- Scale up the coating process for porous Al2O3 or an alternative cladding material for higher temperatures greater than 1000oC
- The candidate will provide general R&D support to NETL-LRST Advanced Sensors staff. The candidate will participate in-group meetings to discuss current research and promote discussion with fellow researchers.
- A Ph.D. degree and 2 years prior relevant experience with extensive research experience in crystal growth, laser systems, fiber optics, thin films, and materials processing and characterization.
- Comprehensive hands-on laboratory experience and a strong theoretical background in general physics, optics, and materials technology.
- Experience with the sol-gel process required
- Hands-on experience in optical fiber handling, polishing and fusion splicing
- Experience in evaluation of high temperature ceramic coatings using materials science microanalysis instruments (SEM, XPS, XRD, TEM)
- Experience in performance testing of coatings using the various techniques in conjunction with UV, visible and near-infrared spectroscopy measurements.
- Demonstrated ability to author high quality research publications
- This position requires extensive interface with customers and potential collaborative partners, so excellent verbal and written communication skills are a necessity.
- Familiarity with crystal fiber growth techniques like Laser Heated Pedestal Growth and/or Micro-Pulling Down is especially desirable
- Preference for experience in a national laboratory environment or R&D industrial lab where safe working practices are paramount.
- Familiarity with vacuum compliant systems is a plus
Position may require travel. Position may require the ability to pass and maintain a Security Clearance.