Doctroral Students in Physics; Atmospheric Aerosols

Lund University Faculty of Engineering


Doctroral students in Physics with focus on atmospheric aerosols

Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, LTH, Department of Physics

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 600 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

LTH forms the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, with approximately 9 000 students. The research carried out at LTH is of a high international standard and we are continuously developing our teaching methods and adapting our courses to current needs.

The Department of Physics is with a staff of about 350 scientists and educators one of the largest departments within Lund University. There are seven research divisions and a number of research centra within the department. The research activities at the department cover a broad spectrum of modern physics.

The Division of Nuclear Physics at the Department of Physics at Lund University (LU) will employ three new PhD students within the field of atmospheric aerosols. The Division of Nuclear Physics covers a broad spectrum of basic and applied nuclear physics as well as aerosol chemistry and physics. Within the Division, the aerosol research group conducts research on atmospheric aerosol particles and their impact on climate and air quality. This research involves aerosol in-situ measurements, satellite measurements, process modelling as well as global modelling. The aerosol research group collaborates internationally with researchers in Europe, US, China and Brazil and with other research groups at Lund University.

Job assignment
The three PhD positions are part of several research projects financed by the Swedish Research Councils VR, Formas. The overall aim of all three PhD projects is to contribute to improve process-knowledge about the anthropogenic (human) impact on the Continental Biosphere–Aerosol-Cloud-Climate (CoBACC) feedback loop. Forests emit biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) which are oxidized in the atmosphere and form Highly Oxygenated organic Molecules (HOM) and secondary organic aerosols (SOA). Anthropogenic emissions of trace gases and primary particles increases the number of aerosol particles and changes the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere which can have large consequences for the formation of HOM and SOA. Aerosol particles from the forest scatter solar radiation and change the reflective properties of clouds. Increasing emissions from forests associated with rising global temperatures, also including wildfires, can thus cool the climate and counteract the warming caused by greenhouse gases. This produces a negative climate feedback. However, there are still large uncertainties regarding the formation of secondary organic aerosols from BVOCs and how anthropogenic emission of trace gases and primary particles can perturb the CoBACC feedback loop. This affects our ability to model the past, present and future climate on Earth. As a PhD student in the aerosol group at the division of nuclear physics you will join a strong team of senior and junior researchers. We are all devoted to reduce the uncertainties of how aerosols influences the climate on Earth and to improve the representation of aerosol-cloud-climate interactions in Earth System Models.

The three PhD projects are overlapping with respect to the overall aim but will differ when it comes to the primary methods. Below we give a brief descriptions of the specific research questions and methods which will be used in the PhD projects.

Project A
You will mainly work on experimental aerosol research and characterization of the soot particles at the ACTRIS/ICOS Hyltemossa field station in Southern Sweden. Our advanced and unique combination of aerosol instrumentation allows us to measure the relevant properties of individual soot particles. The observations will enable us to determine the number concentration of soot (black carbon) particles in background air and their degree of atmospheric ageing. We will use the Lagrangian chemistry transport model ADCHEM to model the properties of the long-distance transported soot particles reaching Hyltemossa.

Project B
You will mainly work with the aerosol dynamics models ADCHAM and ADCHEM and the Atmosphere Cluster Dynamics Code (ACDC). ACDC explicitly simulates the stochastic molecule cluster growth and formation of new aerosol particles. We will use ADCHAM-ACDC to simulate BVOC-oxidation experiments conducted in different smog chambers. In this project we will collaborate closely with aerosol researchers from Aarhus University, University of Helsinki, Nanjing University and Federal University of São Paulo. The aim is to get a fundamental process knowledge about new particle formation and SOA. The smog chamber experiments and ADCHAM modelling work will be used to improve the atmospheric chemistry transport model ADCHEM. ADCHEM-ACDC will then be used to simulate new particle and secondary aerosol formation over the Eurasian boreal forest, the polluted Yangtze River Delta in China and the pristine Amazon rainforest.

Project C
The impact of aerosols on clouds (indirect aerosol effect) poses one of the largest source of uncertainty in predicting Earths future climate. In this project we will use the Earth System Model EC-Earth to investigate how aerosol particles formed from BVOCs affect the global climate by reflecting radiation and changing cloud properties. EC-Earth is a European community model which participates in international modelling comparisons that contribute to the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change) assessments of climate change. One of your main tasks will be to improving the parameterization regarding aerosol formation from BVOCs in EC-Earth. The improvements of the parameterizations will be based on work done in Project B. We will use EC-Earth to simulate how Earth’s climate has changed/will change during the Anthropocene (1850-2100).

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties will also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%). You are also expected to take part in scientific meetings, the ClimBEco graduate research school ( and present results at conferences.

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Furthermore, the acceptance is based on the estimated ability to accomplish postgraduate studies.

A person meets the specific admission requirements in physics if he or she has

  • at least 30 second-cycle credits of relevance to the subject, of which at least 15 credits shall comprise a second-cycle degree project, or
  • an MSc in engineering in engineering physics or an associated field, or a Master’s degree in physics or an associated field.

Other requirements:

  • Good knowledge in spoken and written English is a requirement.
  • Basic skills in programming are also required for Project B and C. 

Basis of assessment
Selection to postgraduate studies is based on the expected ability to perform well in the studies. The evaluation of the ability to perform well is based primarily on the results of studies at the basic and advanced levels, in particular:

  1. Knowledge and skills relevant to postgraduate studies within the research area, such as a broad and thorough preparation in physics. This can be documented by appended documents.
  2. Estimated ability to work independently and the ability to formulate and solve scientific questions. This ability can be established, for example, based on undergraduate research experiences, a Master's thesis or in a discussion of scientific problems during a possible interview.
  3. Skills in written and oral communication.
  4. Other experience relevant to postgraduate studies, such as professional experience.

Other assessment criteria:

  • We consider good cooperation ability, drive and independent work ability as positive personal attributes.
  • Prior knowledge about the atmosphere (meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric aerosol particles and climate science).
  • Practice of working in a Linux based operating system as well as programming in Python, Matlab, bash and Fortran.
  • Experience working with aerosol and trace gas observations, aerosol dynamics, gas-phase chemistry or Earth System Models.

Terms of employment
Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

Application procedure
Apply online! Your application must contain a covering letter in which you describe yourself and your particular research interests. Applications must also include a CV, a copy of your Master’s thesis (or a summary text if the thesis is not yet completed), contact details of at least two references, copies of grade certificates, and any other documents that you wishes to refer to. You are also required to answer the job specific questions as the first step of the application process. If there is one of the PhD positions that you are particularly interested in, please specify this in your application.

The English version of this announcement is an interpretation of national formalities expressed in the Swedish text. In case of uncertainties, the Swedish text applies.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

To apply, please click the button "Login and apply"

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment 2020-03-01
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 3
Working hours 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2019/4217
  • Moa Sporre, (Project C)
  • Pontus Roldin, (Project B)
  • Adam Kristensson, +46 46 222 76 45 (Project A)
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
Published 20.Dec.2019
Last application date 31.Jan.2020 11:59 PM CET

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