December 2012
Message 10

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[Met-jobs] PhD position in Marie Curie Trainingsnetwork "PIMMS"

From "Kiendler-Scharr, Astrid" <>
To "''" <>
Date Thu, 6 Dec 2012 11:45:50 +0000

Please distribute the following offer for a  PhD position to potential candidates:


PhD student: Emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds & their photochemical transformation

Advertising institute: IEK-8 - Troposphere

Reference number: D116/2012, Chemistry, Physics

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

PhD student (Chemistry, Physics)

for a 3 year project within the EC funded Marie Curie Trainingsnetwork "PIMMS".

Natural and anthropogenic activities emit volatile organic compounds (VOC) into the atmosphere. While it is known that land vegetation accounts for 90% of the global VOC emissions, emission factors are understood for only a few of the many individual molecules emitted by trees. Atmospheric chemistry oxidizes the organic compounds, ultimately facilitating their removal from the atmosphere. During atmospheric oxidation intermediate products that are both of concern for air quality and climate are formed. The detailed chemical mechanisms involved are insufficiently known to date and need to be understood for air quality management and climate change predictions.
Within this project the successful candidate will investigate the composition of biogenic volatile organic compounds directly emitted by trees. Specifically the quantitative detection of oxygenated volatile organic compounds and high molecular weight products will be performed with proton transfer mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) and gas chromatography (GC-MS). Experiments will be conducted in the plant chamber and atmospheric simulation chamber (SAPHIR) of our institute. The experiments will focus on measurements of the photochemical transformation of volatile organic compounds and will increase our understanding of atmospheric oxidation mechanisms involved in the removal of biogenic VOCs. The importance of oxygenated VOCs in relation to the formation of secondary organic aerosols will be determined. The successful candidate will be given the opportunity to prepare a PhD thesis.

Science and Experiments within the PhD thesis
The PIMMS ITN will for the first time assemble a coherent, integrated network of analytical scientists developing and exploiting PTR-MS technology. The network includes research on the fundamental aspects of proton transfer techniques, environmental applications, applications in food sciences, health sciences and homeland security. Through trainings activities in the whole network, the successful candidate will therefore get to know a broad spectrum of PTR applications. Extended stays in partner institutes abroad are an integral part of Marie Curie training networks.

Your tasks

  • Application of PTR-TOF-MS in the simulation chambers of Forschungszentrum Jülich for detection of biogenic VOCs and their oxidation products
  • The high resolution capabilities of PTR-TOF-MS will be exploited for detection of oxygenated VOCs
  • Comparison of results obtained with PTR-MS to GC-MS data for the VOCs and photo-chemically transformed mixtures. PTR-MS data will be related to aerosol measurements and compared to results from process models
  • Elucidate the oxidation processes by analysis of the mass spectra using isotopic labeling and searching for reactant – product relationships.
  • Perform accompanying characterization experiments for the interpretation of HR-CI-TOF-MS and to optimize the CIMS schemes.


  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in physics or chemistry with an overall grade of at least good.
  • experience in the use of mass spectrometric and/or gas chromatographic methods
  • strong interest in atmospheric chemistry
  • very good English knowledge
  • willingness to work in an international team

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 Prof. Astrid Kiendler-Scharr ( and Dr. Ralf Tillmann (

The post is offered in the context of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network and transnational mobility is a key element of eligibility. As such, applications will only be accepted from candidates who have spent less than 12 months in Germany within the last three years. Candidates’ eligibility for the post is determined by Marie Curie terms and conditions. For further details on eligibility and funding scheme for early stage researchers see:

Equal opportunity is a cornerstone of our staff policy. Applications from disabled persons are welcomed.

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

e-mail: .


Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH
52425 Juelich
Sitz der Gesellschaft: Juelich
Eingetragen im Handelsregister des Amtsgerichts Dueren Nr. HR B 3498
Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrats: MinDir Dr. Karl Eugen Huthmacher
Geschaeftsfuehrung: Prof. Dr. Achim Bachem (Vorsitzender),
Karsten Beneke (stellv. Vorsitzender), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Bolt,
Prof. Dr. Sebastian M. Schmidt

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