April 2013
Message 26

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[Met-jobs] Funded PhD Studentship - Atmospheric Chemistry/Phyics: Measurement of atmospheric VOCs using soft chemical-ionisation mass spectrometry techniques

From William Bloss <>
To "" <>
Date Mon, 8 Apr 2013 15:32:57 +0100

Novel approaches to the measurement of atmospheric VOC mixtures using soft 
chemical-ionisation mass spectrometry - drift-tube techniques

Fully Funded NERC/RSC CASE PhD Studentship, University of Birmingham

-School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences / School of Physics & 
Astronomy, University of Birmingham

-CASE Partner: Kore Technology Ltd.

Natural and anthropogenic processes emit a wide variety of volatile organic 
compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere.  Many have different chemical properties, 
affecting their contribution to the production of ozone and secondary organic 
aerosol, and their toxicity.  One approach to measure such species is mass 
spectrometry, for example PTR-MS (Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry) 
may be used - however compound identification using MS approaches is 
challenging, as is not always clear which compounds are contributing to a given 
mass-charge ratio (m/z): many VOCs may be isobaric - i.e. have the same 
whole-number molecular mass (or are isomeric, with identical molecular masses), 
and may fragment.  The aim of this project is to develop a new approach to 
distinguish between isobaric / isomeric atmospheric VOCs, using the PTR-MS 
approach.  The project will involve laboratory development work in Birmingham 
and at our industrial partner, Kore Technologies Ltd, followed by trial / 
demonstration field measurements of atmospheric compounds, to demonstrate the 
viability of the method for identification of species such as aromatic and 
biogenic VOCs, building upon our successful proof-of-concept work.

The project will provide a comprehensive interdisciplinary training in 
analytical science and mass spectrometric / molecular physics techniques, and 
in atmospheric composition and chemistry.  Through the industrial CASE partner, 
Kore Technologies Ltd, the project will also provide exposure to a fast-moving 
commercial R&D environment to complement the academic training.  Applications 
are invited from candidates who have, or expect to obtain, a good honours 
degree in a relevant subject (e.g. Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, 

For further information, please see the full project description at the link 
below, or contact either 

Dr William (Bill) Bloss, GEES -, Tel. 0121 414 2558 

Dr Chris Mayhew, Physics -, Tel. 0121 414 4729

Full Description at :

Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the studentship is 

Dr William Bloss

Reader in Atmospheric Sciences

School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences

University of Birmingham

Birmingham, B15 2TT
Tel. +44 (0)121 414 2558

Fax +44 (0)121 414 3709


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