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PhD student: Partitioning of organic compounds between gas and particle phase in atmospheric aerosol

Advertising institute: IEK-8 - Troposphere
Reference number: D027/2013, Chemistry, Physics

For a research project at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Troposphere, IEK-8, we are seeking a

PhD student
for a 3 year position.

Troposphere simulation chamber experiments, experimental field studies, and model calculations are used to investigate the processes that control the chemical transformation and spatial distribution of trace compounds, and their ultimate removal from the atmosphere. About 60 scientists, engineers, technicians, and doctoral students are currently working at the institute in the field of atmospheric chemistry. The distribution of semi- and low volatile organic species between the gas and particle phase is usually described by the partitioning coefficient, assuming equilibrium conditions. Recent findings indicate that the observed organic particle mass in the field is larger than can be explained based on current understanding. We therefore perform dedicated measurements of the partitioning coefficient in simulation chamber experiments to understand the distribution of organic compounds between gas and particle phase.

Science and Experiments within the PhD thesis
We have an immediate opening for a PhD student focusing on the determination of partitioning coefficients for key organic substances of low and intermediate volatility. The candidate will determine partitioning coefficients experimentally using mass spectrometric methods developed at the institute. Comparisons with model predictions of the partitioning coefficient based on vapor pressure estimates will be used to challenge current theories of organic aerosol formation.


  • M. Sc. (or equivalent) in chemistry, physics, or a related field
  • Experience in mass spectrometry techniques and/or strong theoretical background are advantageous
  • Interest in atmospheric chemistry
  • Excellent technical and organizational skills
  • Willingness to communicate research results and to interact within an international research environment
  • The integration in international co-operations requires the ability to cooperate in an international team, thus good skills in the spoken and written English.

For further information visit our website at or contact Dr. Astrid Kiendler-Scharr, e-mail:

Equal opportunity is a cornerstone of our staff policy. Applications from disabled persons are welcomed. Payment of the PhD fellow will be based on salary grade 13/2 Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD). Depending on the candidate's profile and the subject of his/her PhD thesis an additional allowance may be granted.

Please send your application - quoting the reference number - with the relevant documentation to:

Mr. K. Beumers
Institut für Bio- und Geowissenschaften
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
52425 Jülich