PhD student for
Radical measurements in thunderstorms over the Amazon rain forest

PhD student

Job Offer from January 24, 2022

The OH radical kicks off most of the reaction chains that remove pollutants and biogenic emission from the atmosphere. Due to its extremely high reactivity, its concentrations in the atmosphere are extremely low, which makes the measurement of OH a challenge requiring specialized instrumentation that ensures precise detection avoiding interferences and losses during the measurement. In our group we have built and are continuously improving an instrument based on laser-induced fluorescence, capable of measuring OH as well as the closely related HO2 radicals. The instrument has been certified for installation on the German research aircraft HALO and has already successfully measured during several campaigns in a semi-automatic mode, though further programming as well as mechanical and electronic design improvements are needed to continue enhancing automation and capabilities during flight.

HALO will fly a campaign over the Amazon rain forest in 2022. Our goal is to analyze the influence of thunderstorms over the rain forest on the chemistry happening above the clouds. Thunderstorms not only transport air loaded with trace gas emissions from the ground into higher altitudes, but also produce other reactive gases like nitric oxides through lightning that react with the trace gases being transported upward. This results in unique chemistry that determines how far local emissions can be transported around the globe with the strong winds at high altitudes and how they can influence other regions on Earth.

• Design and technical drawing of mechanical components
• Instrument setup and characterization in laboratory experiments
• Programming of the measurement and evaluation procedures
• Deployment during air-borne field campaigns
• Data evaluation of interpretation
• Presentation at international conferences and publication in scientific journals.

• Excellent M.Sc. in physics/engineering, chemistry or meteorology and interest in atmospheric chemistry.
• Technical skills, strong interest in experimental work.
• Programming skills.
• English language proficiency.

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. The Max Planck Society strives for gender equality and diversity. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

We look forward to receiving your application. Please upload your documents – including a letter of motivation, CV, research statement (max. 1 page), a list of publications and contact information of three references – in our portal:

For scientific inquiries, please contact (phone: +49 6131 305 4400)


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