[ES_JOBS_NET] PhD fellowship-IMT Lille Douai

Emmanouil Romanias emmanouil.romanias at imt-lille-douai.fr
Mon Oct 9 09:42:15 MDT 2017

A three years PhD fellowship is now open at the Institute Mines Telecom Lille Douai, France. The topic of the PhD is related to the “Uptake and reactivity of atmospheric trace gases onto Icelandic volcanic dusts”. Further details are given bellow: 



General description of Thesis subject

The frequent volcanic eruptions occurring in Iceland almost each decade provide a recurrent and massive source of v-dust in the atmosphere. The most striking example of our century is the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano, back in 2010, that released high amounts of particulate matter (PM) in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS) causing severe dust-induced issues over extensive areas.1 Consequently, Iceland has the largest area of volcanic desert dust on Earth.2 Moreover, it is one of the most active aeolian areas on the planet. Thus, unstable sandy surfaces are widespread and subject to frequent high-velocity winds, resulting in numerous wind erosion events and massive volcanic dust (v-dust) storms. In Iceland, around 100 dust events are reported each year and have a significant impact on the air quality of the country. It has been reported that up to 300,000 tons of dust can be emitted in a single storm. PM10 mass concentrations during a v-dust storm can exceed 7000 μg m-3 with a 1000 μg m-3 24-h average concentration.3, 4 Moreover, satellite images confirm that v-dust particles can travel distances longer than 1000 km as well as impact central Greenland and northern Europe.2 Besides, 

Interestingly, there is a noticeable lack of studies identifying the magnitude of the impact of Icelandic dust on the atmosphere. The volcanic PM could provide efficient surfaces for the uptake of reactive atmospheric species, and subsequently impact on the tropospheric cycles. Although the uptakes of many reactive trace gases on individual mineral oxides have been documented, the literature data reporting the interaction of v-dust with key atmospheric species are relative rare. 

The objective of the PhD thesis is to evaluate the impact of v-dust to the climate and to the oxidative capacity of the troposphere. To that aim, the actions related to the thesis are twofold. At first stage, the physicochemical interaction of v-dust aerosols with trace gases from several chemical families: NOx, HOx, SO2, O3, etc., will be investigated. Laboratory experiments will be conducted under realistic atmospheric conditions (gas concentration, temperature, relative humidity, simulated sunlight intensity) employing calibrated photochemical atmospheric flow tube reactors and optical cells to monitor both the gas and adsorbed phases. The objective is to evaluate the impact of v-dust to the tropospheric oxidation cycles and air quality of Iceland. At second stage, the heterogeneous reaction of halogenated and sulfur compounds [e.g., HX (X= F, Cl, Br,), H2S], emitted during a volcanic eruption with v-dust will be studied at elevated temperatures employing a high temperature reactor, aiming to simulate the conditions existing in the volcanic plume and better evaluate their distribution to the atmosphere. Therefore, the ultimate goal of the PhD is to evaluate the impact of v-dust to the composition of the atmosphere and climate change. 


General description of the host institution.

The Department of "Atmospheric Sciences and Environmental Engineering" (SAGE) of the Institut Mines Telecom Lille Douai, France (http://sage.mines-douai.fr/) has ongoing research activities focused on heterogeneous reactivity, atmospheric chemistry, air quality and the impacts of human activities on atmospheric composition. It has currently a staff of about 55 people including 16 full-time faculty members. Research projects aim at a better understanding of the physical and chemical processes involved in the formation, transport and aging/transformation of gaseous and particulate pollutants in the outdoor or indoor atmosphere. 

The activities of the “Reactivity and Air Treatment” research group combine advanced skills in (i) trace pollutant monitoring by chromatographic, spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques to determine chemical kinetic parameters in the gas and heterogeneous phases and (ii) heterogeneous chemistry dedicated to the characterization of air pollutant interactions with various surfaces. 


Candidate profile 

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with solid background in physical chemistry or chemical kinetics or surface sciences who is ready to work on challenging and innovative topics. The successful candidate will be a member of a dynamic team of international researchers and get a unique expertise in operating state-of-the-art experimental techniques and instrumentation available in the department. The candidate will also have an extended period of research visit (up to 6 months) at the University of Alberta in Canada where she/he will have the opportunity to perform laboratory studies using an aerosol flow tube and an atmospheric simulation chamber. 


Required qualifications

§  Solid background in physical chemistry, chemical kinetics, atmospheric chemistry, and heterogeneous chemistry.

§  Experience in mass spectrometry (electron impact and/or chemical ionization methods) and infrared spectroscopy. 

§  Experience in processing datasets using at least one of the following softwares: Excel, Origin, IgorPro.

§  High level of communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to adapt to a multicultural/international environment.

§  High level of organizational, analytical and problem solving skills.

§  Proficiency in spoken and written English.

Additional skills that would be considered as an advantage:

§  Experience in designing and construction of experimental systems for the kinetic investigation of homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions (Knudsen cell, flow tube, static reactors).

§  Author or co-author of at least one (1) publication in peer-review journals.


The Starting date of the PhD is December 2017 or January 2018. Applicants should send (i) a motivation letter and detailed Curriculum Vitae and (ii) a recommendation letter or at least one reference of previous or current employer(s)/supervisor(s), to Dr.  Manolis  N.  Romanias and Prof. Frederic Thevenet to the following email addresses:

Dr. Manolis N. Romanias:  <mailto:emmanouil.romanias at imt-lille-douai.fr> emmanouil.romanias at imt-lille-douai.fr 

Prof. Frederic Thevenet:  <mailto:frederic.thevenet at imt-lille-douai.fr> frederic.thevenet at imt-lille-douai.fr 




1.            Thorsteinsson, T.; Jóhannsson, T.; Stohl, A.; Kristiansen, N. I., High Levels of Particulate Matter in Iceland due to Direct Ash Emissions by the Eyjafjallajökull Eruption and Resuspension of Deposited Ash. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 2012, 117, (B9), n/a-n/a.

2.            Arnalds, O.; Dagsson-Waldhauserova, P.; Olafsson, H., The Icelandic Volcanic Aeolian Environment: Processes and Impacts — A Review. Aeolian Research 2016, 20, 176-195.

3.            Thorsteinsson, T.; Gísladóttir, G.; Bullard, J.; McTainsh, G., Dust Storm Contributions to Airborne Particulate Matter in Reykjavík, Iceland. Atmospheric Environment 2011, 45, (32), 5924-5933.

4.            Dagsson-Waldhauserova, P.; Arnalds, O.; Olafsson, H.; Hladil, J.; Skala, R.; Navratil, T.; Chadimova, L.; Meinander, O., Snow–Dust Storm: Unique Case Study from Iceland, March 6–7, 2013. Aeolian Research 2015, 16, 69-74.


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