PhD student positions (m, f, div, n.d.)

Leipzig, 06.10.2022

The Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research is part of the Leibniz Association and an internationally renowned institute in the field of aerosol and cloud research. The Atmospheric Chemistry Department (ACD) is looking for strong self-motivated and committed graduate student to work in the field of atmospheric chemistry.


The aim of this PhD topic is to investigate the abiotic (photo) chemical reactions in the ocean surface that may strongly affect both organic matter cycling at the sea surface (Sea-Surface Microlayer – SML) and air-sea exchange. The PhD thesis is settled within the DFG research unit “Biogeochemical processes and Air–sea exchange in the Sea-Surface Microlayer - BASS” in an international environment with highly renown experts in the field of oceanic and atmospheric research.

In this research project, the primary focus is to study the kinetics of the photo-induced formation, reactivity and conversion processes of radicals and molecules in the excited state at the sea surface as well as in the aqueous phase. Consequently, photo-induced formation of the OH radical or halogen radicals (Cl•, Br•, ClBr•-, Cl2•- and Br2•-) is applied using laser-flash photolysis of the corresponding precursors. To investigate the reactivity of these radical species or excited states with the organic proxy compounds (e.g., fatty acids or carbohydrates), the second-order rate constant will be determined by absorption measurements, using either the competition kinetic method or the direct kinetic approach. Subsequently, the transient species formed and the stable products of the photo-induced reactions will be studied in detail to elucidate the main transformation processes of the SML.


As a part of a multidisciplinary group of international scientists involving the Department of Atmospheric Chemistry, the hired PhD student (m, f, d) will have the following specific responsibilities:

  • Planning, realization and interpretation of the photo-chemical experiments in the aqueous phase or relevance for ocean surface chemistry.
  • Perform laboratory studies on the reactivity of OH radical, halogen radicals (see above) and excited photosensitizers with organic SML proxy compounds using a laser flash - long path absorption setup.
  • Conduct experiments as part of product studies to characterize stable reaction products using available analytical techniques such as GC-MS, LC-MS and UPLC-HRMS.
  • Participation in a field expedition to the island of Helgoland to sample ambient ocean water for laboratory analysis and participation in several BASS related workshops.
  • Evaluation and presentation of the obtained results through presentations and publications.


Mandatory qualifications:

  • The interested applicants should have a Master's degree in chemistry, biochemistry, environmental science, meteorological science, or related disciplines.
  • At best, experience and at least strong interest in chemical kinetics, photochemistry, aqueous-phase radical chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry and atmospheric chemistry is an advantage.
  • Technical understanding, laboratory skills as well as a good laboratory practice are essential.
  • Fluent English in written and oral form are compulsory.

A cumulative dissertation with three publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals is expected.

The ideal starting date would be 01.12.2022, with a fixed term to 01.12.2025.


We offer you an exciting job with a varied activity in an interdisciplinary working environment and a variety of work and family offers as well as flexible working hours and daycare places.

The employment is temporary and includes a part position with 26 hours / week. Remuneration is provided at TV-L pay group 13, including the attractive social benefits of the public sector.


If you are interested, please send your complete and informative application documents (including references) by 15.11.2022 exclusively by e-mail in one coherent PDF document to under the keyword “ACD-BASS”: bewerbung[at]


Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this job offer: Dr. Thomas Schaefer, schaefer[at]


By submitting the application documents by e-mail, the applicant agrees to the storage/processing of personal data in accordance with Art. 13 DSGVO for the purpose of selection for this job advertisement. The risks of sending documents electronically are hereby pointed out.