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Advertising division: IEK-8 - Troposphere
Reference number: 2019D-101


The Institute for Energy and Climate Research, Troposphere (IEK-8), investigates the chemical and physical processes in the troposphere that impact the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

We are offering a

PhD position in “Characterization of the formation and aging of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from complex real plant emissions under varying environmental conditions”

Your Job:

The PhD project is part of the AeroHEALTH Helmholtz International Lab which is a German-Israeli research initiative, investigate the complex interplay of atmospheric aerosol formation, composition and aging and their health effects. AEROHealth is an international platform combining expertise from fields of atmospheric research and exposure and health effect assessment of aerosols to various exposure models. The formation and the composition of PM is very complex with up to 80% of the fine particulate matter forming due to atmospheric oxidation processes of gas phase precursors (secondary organic aerosols (SOA)). On a global scale the emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) by plants are an order of magnitude higher than those of anthropogenic origin. Thus they significantly contribute to atmospheric processes and SOA formation and composition. The target of this PhD project focuses on the investigation of the transformation of organic aerosols formed from complex real plant emissions using the Plant Unit for Simulation (PLUS) in combination with the atmosphere simulation chamber SAPHIR.

  • In-situ measurements using high resolution mass spectrometry methods to determine physical and chemical properties (e.g. chemical bulk parameters like oxygen to carbon ration) of atmospheric aerosols
  • The studies will be conducted using the plant chamber SAPHIR-PLUS which allows for controlled variations of plant conditions to possible future scenarios (e.g. effects of stress induced emissions (SIE))
  • Characterization of chemical aging of SOA from real plant emissions close to real atmospheric conditions concerning precursor concentration and yields using natural sunlight
  • Investigation of the effect of parameters likes different oxidants (daytime and nighttime oxidation) and SOA formation from constitutive and SIE of different tree species
  • In cooperation with the partners of the AEROHealth international lab selected system will be studied in detail concerning their health effects

Your Profile:

  • M.Sc. degree in physics, chemistry, atmospheric sciences or a related field
  • Knowledge about mass spectrometry and physical or analytical chemistry is advantageous
  • Interest in process modelling is welcome
  • Good skills in the spoken and written English language

Our Offer:

  • Exciting working environment on an attractive research campus with excellent infrastructure, located between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • International and interdisciplinary working atmosphere
  • Broad spectrum of training in the Graduate School HITEC and the Forschungszentrum
  • The PhD work will be done within a three-year program of the Graduate School HITEC
  • Salary analogous to EG 13 (50%) of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD)

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Additional Information

We look forward to receiving your application, preferably online via our online recruitment system on our career site, quoting the above-mentioned reference number.

Questions about the vacancy?
Contact us by mentioning the reference number 2019D-101:
Please note that for technical reasons we cannot accept applications via email.