PhD Position (m, f, d, n.s.) in the Department Remote Sensing of Atmospheric Processes

Updated: 6 months ago
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PhD position (m, f, d, n.s.) in the department

Remote Sensing of Atmospheric Processes

The Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research is a research institute of the Leibniz Association and an internationally renowned institute in the field of aerosol and cloud research.

For our department Remote Sensing of Atmospheric Processes, we are looking for a motivated and committed graduate student to work on the topic

Construction of an optical setup

for investigations of the polarizing properties of atmospheric mineral dust

To better understand the effects of aerosols on the atmosphere, the observation and proper characterization of particles is a crucial task. Laser remote sensing systems (atmospheric lidars) are already successfully applied for the detection and classification of atmospheric aerosol. The most abundant aerosol type in terms of mass is mineral dust, which is emitted from the large deserts. An irregular particle shape is characteristic for mineral dust. Therefore, polarization measurements proved to be essential for the identification of mineral dust particles. An enhanced depolarization ratio is a clear indication for the presence of dust.

Atmospheric observations with lidar at TROPOS (Photo: Tilo Arnhold).

However, the irregular shape of mineral dust particles is a challenge for optical models. Especially, the scattering properties at exactly 180° backscatter are hard to predict, but needed for height-resolving remote-sensing observations with lidar. Up to now, there is no comprehensive data set of the scattering properties at 180° which could be used to test and improve the optical models.

The Leibniz Junior Research Group OLALA (Optical Lab for Lidar Applications) proposes to fill this gap by constructing a new scattering laboratory specialized at measurements of the depolarization ratio in the exact backscatter direction. The novel approach of using size-segregated dust samples will allow us to study the influence of the particle size on the spectral depolarization ratio. The laboratory investigations provide information on the particle size, shape and refractive index which will be implemented in optical models.

The PhD project is part of the Leibniz Junior Research Group. The main task of the PhD work will be to setup and characterize the new optical laboratory, measure the linear and circular depolarization ratios of dust samples from various deserts and relate the results to the particle shape.

Your tasks:

  • Construction and characterization of a new optical setup
  • Polarization measurements of various mineral dust probes in the exact backscatter direction: Planning, execution, and evaluation of measurements
  • Development of algorithms for the evaluation of the linear and circular polarization measurements
  • Investigations of the particle shape and its influence on the optical properties with the goal of an improved size-shape characterization
  • Presentation of the results at conferences and in scientific publications

Your qualifications:

  • Completed Master's degree in physics, meteorology or a related subject
  • Good proficiency in optics
  • Technical understanding and enthusiasm in experimental work, especially in constructing optical systems
  • Interest in laser remote sensing of atmospheric aerosols
  • Basic programming skills (Matlab, Python, etc.)
  • Fluent English in oral and written form
  • Basic German is beneficial
  • Ability to work in a team and solve problems independently

The ideal starting date would be 1 September 2023, with a fixed term to 28 February 2027.

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 PhD student has the opportunity to join the Leipzig Graduate School for Aerosols, Clouds and Radiation (LGS-CAR) which supports the participation at workshops of the Graduate Academy Leipzig.

The employment is temporary and includes a part-time position with 65%. Remuneration is provided at TV-L pay group 13, including the attractive social benefits of the public sector.

In order to increase the proportion of female employees in scientific and science-related positions, we hereby specifically invite female candidates to apply. People with severe disabilities have priority in the hiring process if they have the same suitability, aptitude, and professional qualifications.

If you are interested, please send your complete and informative application documents (including references) by 10 April 2023, exclusively by e-mail in one coherent PDF document to:


Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this job offer:

Dr. Moritz Haarig, +49 341 27177188, haarig(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.

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