Job type
Job Service
Centre for Education, Research and Innovation in Energy and Environment
Job Location


Atmospheric interactions of organic trace gases and mineral aerosols

University: LILLE , Faculty of Sciences and Technologies
Scientific field: Environmental Sciences
Supervisors: Frédéric THEVENET (IMT Lille Douai), Manolis ROMANIAS (IMT Lille Douai)
Laboratory: CERI EE (Centre d’Enseignement, de Recherche et d’Innovation – Energie Environnement)
Related research project: labex CaPPA + ANR project Climdo
Obtained funding: ½ grant from Labex CaPPA + ½ grant from ANR Climdo


Scientific scope of the PhD fellowship

Large quantities of organic compounds are emitted daily into the atmosphere from both anthropogenic and natural sources. These volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs) are key precursors of tropospheric ozone and play a role in the oxidation cycles of the troposphere. It is needed to understand their fate, i.e., their chemical transformations, in the atmosphere.

Once emitted into the atmosphere, VOCs/SVOCs can interact or even react with atmospheric aerosols such as mineral dusts. Aerosolized minerals are major natural component of atmospheric aerosols accounting for more than 50 % of the annual particle emissions to the atmosphere. Mineral particles can undergo long-range transport to remote areas interacting with trace gases. They play a key role in the environmental fate of various atmospheric trace gases.

The objective of this thesis is to investigate the heterogeneous interaction of selected VOCs/SVOCs with natural mineral dust samples. Laboratory experiments will be carried out using state-of-the-art experimental devices (coated wall flow tube reactors, packed-bed reactors, Knudsen cell, and optical DRIFT cell) in order to determine accurate kinetic parameters such as initial and steady state uptake coefficients; and mechanistic parameters like product yields and reaction pathways combining the gas phase and the adsorbed phase.

Therefore, we are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a solid background in physical chemistry, or analytical chemistry, or atmospheric chemistry. The candidate, ready to work on challenging and innovative topics, has to be motivated by an advanced experimental work. The successful candidate will be a member of a dynamic group of international researchers and get a unique expertise in operating state-of-the-art experimental techniques and instrumentation available in the research group. The candidate will be also involved in national and international projects and collaborations since the PhD is part of the Workpackage-2 of the Labex CaPPA ( and the French ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) research project “CLIMDO”.


The successful candidate will carry out the following activities:

  • Investigate heterogeneous processes involving organic compounds and mineral dust particles using various and complementary reactors coupled with spectrometric (chemical ionization and electron impact mass spectrometry) and spectroscopic (infrared) analytical techniques,
  • Investigate the hygroscopic properties of fresh and processed mineral particles deploying novel experimental approaches developed in the lab,
  • Synthetize and interprete the results obtained and write progress reports,
  • Expose the results to the research group, to national and international conferences, and publish them in high-level peer-review journals,
  • Ensure a continuous bibliographic review,
  • Supervise bachelor and/or master students.


Expected qualifications of the candidates

  • Master in chemistry, physical chemistry, atmospheric sciences or in relevant fields,
  • Extensive and solid background in analytical chemistry, kinetics, thermodynamics and heterogeneous physical chemistry,
  • Practice in mass spectrometry and infrared spectroscopy would be a very positive point,
  • Proficiency in processing datasets using at least one of the following softwares: Excel, Origin, IgorPro,
  • High level of communication and interpersonal skills are required, and an ability to adapt to a multicultural and international environment is required,
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English and / or French.

Additional skills that would be considered as an advantage:

  • Background in vacuum technologies,
  • Experience in working with flow tubes or Knudsen cells,
  • Background in solid and surface characterization techniques.


The recruitment is on a full time basis for a fixed term period of 36 months.

Dead line for applications: September 15th 2021.

Applicants have to send:

  • a motivation letter,
  • a detailed Curriculum Vitae
  • a recommendation letter or at least two references of previous or current employer(s) or supervisor(s)

Documents have to be sent to Dr. Manolis N. ROMANIAS and Prof. Frederic THEVENET.

Administrative context of the PhD

Half of the PhD grant is provided by the Labex CaPPA and the other half is provided by the ANR research project CLIMDO. The employer will be IMT Lille Douai and the successful candidate will be affiliated to the Doctoral School SMRE with Manolis N. ROMANIAS as PhD supervisor and Frederic THEVENET as PhD Director.

Planned recruitment date : before december 2021

Candidate to offer