15 Mar 2020


Chemical compounds that are released into the atmosphere undergo a variety of multi-phase chemical and physical processes leading to their transformation into many products such as ozone or secondary organic aerosol. Increasing knowledge of this chemistry and physics requires combining direct observations of atmospheric composition with state-of-the-art numerical computer models that determine levels expected for various photochemical environments. This approach can be merged with statistical methods to enhance process level understanding and ultimately lead to improved model representations. Because of human activities, the composition of the atmosphere is significantly perturbed from its natural state. 

One of the goals of air quality research is to understand the mechanisms by which pollutants are processed and removed from the atmosphere. An important aspect of this is the production secondary species. We have a project in development that will lead to a large, comprehensive field measurement campaign to study the interaction of polluted air exported from cities with emissions of organic compounds from trees. We expect there to be differences in the evolution of such mixed air masses compared to those with just urban emissions or those with just forest emissions. The project seeks to quantify and understand those differences. 


We seek a highly motivated individual trained in one or more aspects of atmospheric chemistry or physics to perform fundamental research under the guidance of professors within our laboratory. This research will form the student’s PhD thesis and is expected to lead to several scientific publications. 

The main task will be to employ a new chemical ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer to the measurement of atmospheric gas-phase chemical compounds, with emphasis on primary and multi-generational organic compounds. The early part of the work will involve characterization and optimization of the instrument leading to a field campaign in the summer of 2022. 

The data from this instrument will be combined with other measurements made to maximize the knowledge gained including recognition of previously unknown processes and refining of the details of relevant chemistry and physics. 

The student will perform most of their work on the campus of the University of Paris-Est Creteil within the laboratory LISA (Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques). This is a dynamic group working on many aspects of atmospheric chemistry and physics. 

The research is under the umbrella of the ACROSS (Atmospheric ChemistRy of the Sububan foreSt) project which was funded through the “Make Our Planet Great Again” initiative. 

The student will be supervised by Profs. Christopher Cantrell and Vincent Michoud. The deadline for Applications is 15 March 2020, they must be sent to christopher.cantrell(at)lisa.u-pec.fr, and selection will be made by the end of April 2020.