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Advertising division: IEK-8 - Troposphere
Reference number: 2017-226


Anthropogenic activities, in particular increasing energy use and production, and natural processes release large quantities of trace substances into the atmosphere influencing living conditions on Earth. On one side, changing greenhouse gases and aerosols perturb the energy balance of the atmosphere and thereby the climate system. On the other side, increasing air pollution levels constitute a threat to human and ecosystem health especially in industrialised countries and large cities. The subinstitute for Energy and Climate Research, Troposphere (IEK-8) investigates the physical and chemical processes in the troposphere which have a major impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The processes include (1) the natural and anthropogenic emissions of trace substances at the earth's surface, (2) the chemical transformation of compounds in the atmosphere, and (3) the distribution of pollutants by atmospheric transport. The research focusses on the longterm observation of atmospheric trace gases, the understanding of atmospheric self-cleaning, and the formation and aging of aerosols. Observations and experimental results form the basis for the development of improved atmospheric models that are being used for predictions of regional air quality, and atmospheric chemistry and climate interactions.

We are looking to recruit a

PhD student “Measurement of vertical profiles within the atmosphere by miniaturised sensors on-board of a serial drone”

Your Job:

The vertical distribution of trace gases and aerosols within the lower troposphere can vary significantly with height and time of the day. Recent developments of serial drones provide the feasibility for a mobile exploration of the vertical trace gas distribution within the atmosphere. However, the application of serial drones requires the development and use of miniaturised sensors. This project comprises the specification and application of miniaturised sensors for the vertical profile dependent measurement of trace gases and meteorological parameters on-board of an ultra-lightweight serial drone.

Your tasks are especially to:

  • adapt newly developed sensors with respect to weight, time resolution, selectivity, sensitivity and power consumption to the requirements of a serial drone and atmospheric conditions
  • optimize the electronic accessories and the data acquisition
  • test and characterize the miniaturised sensors in the lab
  • apply the sensors on-board of a drone for atmospheric measurements of trace gases and aerosols
  • compare vertical profiles measured to those of the meteorological tower of the research centre Jülich

Your Profile:

  • Master degree in physics, metrology or a related field with good final grade (German system equivalent 2.0 or better)
  • Knowledge in atmospheric science is helpful
  • Good skills in the spoken and written English language

Our Offer:

  • Excellent scientific environment and technical facilities
  • Opportunities of being part of the national and international scientific community
  • Broad spectrum of training in the Graduate School HITEC ( and the Forschungszentrum
  • International, interdisciplinary working environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • Limited for 3 years
  • Salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD)

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women.

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.