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USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral  Research Fellowship Program

14-43. Multimodal 3D nonlinear optical microscopy and hyperspectral imaging at sub-micrometer resolution:  Emerging applications in Energy and Mineral Resources and in Environmental Health

We are conducting research on geoscience applications of multimodal 3D nonlinear optical microscopy and hyperspectral imaging with sub-micrometer resolution (Burruss, and others, 2012) to address a number of issues in energy and mineral resource science and in environmental health.   This research is opening exciting new avenues of investigation of chemically and crystallographically specific 3D microstructures in fine-grained organic matter-rich sedimentary rocks, fracture-filling cements in petroleum and mineral deposits, and a number of other geological and geomicrobiological materials.

We invite applications for postdoctoral research from scientists excited about the opportunity to establish new research methods and discover new aspects of geological materials.  The Mendenhall Fellow will be part of an interdisciplinary, multi-institution team of geologists, geochemists, and laser physicists developing new imaging and spectroscopic methods for geoscience applications.  Using a newly constructed, non-linear optical microscope at the USGS initial work is expected to focus on 3D imaging and spectroscopy with second harmonic generation (SHG) and two-photon excitation fluorescence (TPEF), with the opportunity to evaluate geoscience applications of third harmonic generation (THG) imaging.   Development of imaging and spectroscopic applications of coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) will be possible at collaborator’s facilities, although there is the potential to add CARS imaging to the 3D microscope at the USGS.  Imaging of thin sections (up to 1 mm thick) provides an opportunity to develop methods for “3D petrology”.   Available instrumentation allows sample temperature and pressure to be controlled from -196 to 700oC with pressures up to 2 GPa in a variety of heating and cooling stages with optical and hydrothermal diamond anvil cells.  Project proposals for imaging and spectroscopic measurements on both natural materials and experimental simulations of geochemical processes are encouraged.

Candidates must have extensive experience with optical petrology, mineralogy, electron microbeam methods (SEM, and EPMA), optical spectroscopy or x-ray spectroscopy, and digital imaging.  Experience with Raman microprobe spectroscopy, FT-IR microscopy, or hyperspectral image analysis will be important.  Applications from candidates with experience in nonlinear optical spectroscopy and imaging in research in the biosciences, analytical chemistry, or laser physics are welcomed.


Burruss, R. C., Slepkov, A. D., Pegoraro, A. F., and Stolow, A., 2012, Unraveling the complexity of deep gas accumulations with three-dimensional multimodal CARS microscopy: Geology, v. 40, p. 1063-1066.

Proposed Duty Station:  Reston, VA

Research Advisor(s):  Robert Burruss, (703) 648-6144,

Areas of Ph.D.: Geology, geochemistry, or related fields (candidates holding a PhD. in other disciplines but with knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered).

Qualifications:  Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications - Research Geologist, Research Chemist, Research Physicist.

(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above. However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant’s background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of theposition will be made by the Human Resources specialist).

Human Resources Office Contact: Jennifer Daberkow, (303) 236-9566,

Go back to Summary of Opportunities

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
URL: Burruss.htm
Direct inquiries to Rama K. Kotra at
Maintained by: Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program Web Team
Last modified: 10:36:58 Tue 06 Aug 2013
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