PhD Position Carbon Chemistry on the Surfaces of the Galilean Ice Moons

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 21 Mar 2024

10 Feb 2024
Job Information

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

21 Mar 2024 - 22:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

In the group of Dr. Niels Ligterink, a laboratory-based PhD project is available on the investigation of carbon chemistry on the heavily irradiated surfaces of the Galilean moons and unravel the endogenic and/or exogenic origin of these molecules.

Using the ICEBEAR setup [Kipfer et al., 2023], the successful applicant will simulate the destruction and formation of carbon-bearing molecules on the surfaces of the ice moons Europa, Ganymede, and Calisto. The results of this project will help interpret ongoing observational efforts, such as the mapping of CO2 ice on Europa’s surface [Villanueva et al., 2023], guide the instruments of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) and Europa Clipper space exploration missions, and pave the way for future landed missions in search of biosignatures [Europa Lander, Voyage 2050]. The main activities are:

  • Laboratory studies with the ICEBEAR setup, to produce and irradiate analogues of icy moon surfaces, understand how carbon-bearing molecules are formed or destroyed, and generate data that helps interpret current and guide future observational and space exploration endeavors.
  • Active participation in the scientific life and activities of the TU Delft Planetary Exploration section, Delft Planetary Labs (with Dr. S. Cazaux, Dr. S. Potin), and the Department of Space Engineering
  • Teaching assistant assignments and supervising BSc. and MSc. students
  • Presentation of scientific results at national and international conferences
  • Possibility to be involved in space instrument development, Lunar & cometary science, and/or telescope observations (e.g., ALMA, JWST).


  • Kipfer, Kristina A., et al. "Complex Ice Chemistry: A comparative study of electron irradiated planetary ice analogues containing methane." Icarus (2023): 115742.
  • Villanueva, G. L., et al. "Endogenous CO2 ice mixture on the surface of Europa and no detection of plume activity." Science 381.6664 (2023): 1305-1308.
  • Europa Lander: /.
    Voyage 2050: .

Specific Requirements

The candidate must have a Master-level degree or equivalent in a relevant field (e.g., planetary science, chemistry, physics, astronomy) by the starting date. Experience with laboratory experiments and techniques relevant to this position (e.g., vacuum technology, spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, cryogenics, and radiation sources) is strongly preferred. Good coding skills are a plus. The candidate must be competent in spoken and written English.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements .

Additional Information

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Selection process

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 21 March 2024 via the application button. A complete application consists of a:

  • Cover letter / Personal statement detailing (but not limited to): past research experience and the skills obtained, reasons for pursuing a 4-year PhD research project, and your aspirations for the future (max. 2 pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV, max. 2 pages)
  • Full list and transcripts (grades) of all university-level courses (Bachelor- and Master-level) and a translated version if not in English, German, French, or Dutch (notarized translation is not needed)

Please note:

  • With the exception of the list of transcripts, all application material should be written in English.
  • The application deadline is 21 March 2024. Within two weeks of the deadline the applicant will be notified if they are selected for an interview (online or in-person). This interview will consist of a 20-minute presentation on a topic of the candidate's choosing, followed by a formal interview. There might be a second round of interviews.
  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Additional comments

Questions about the position and application procedure can be addressed to Niels Ligterink ([email protected] ).

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Delft University of Technology
Postal Code
2628 CD
Mekelweg 2

Where to apply



Mekelweg 2
Postal Code

2628 CD


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