[ES_JOBS_NET] 2-3 Graduate Positions (MSc, PhD) in Atmospheric Reactive Nitrogen at York University, Toronto

tvandenb at yorku.ca tvandenb at yorku.ca
Fri Dec 28 09:59:51 MST 2018

Positions Available: PhD or MSc in Chemistry

Number of Positions: 2-3

Anticipated Start Date: September 2019


The VandenBoer Group is currently searching for highly motivated graduate
students. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in Analytical
Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis, preferably with some training or
experience in Atmospheric and Environmental Analytical Chemistry. Additional
assets of interested applicants include experimental physics, electrical
engineering, or computer programming. Interested students should contact Dr.
VandenBoer at tvandenb at yorku.ca <mailto:tvandenb at yorku.ca>  with their CV,
academic transcripts, and contact information for two (2) professional


Positions are available for the detection of atmospheric reactive nitrogen
species in indoor and outdoor environments. People spend up to 90 % of their
time each day indoors where emissions from domestic or professional
activities affect the chemistry and exposure of people in these atmospheres.
Reactive nitrogen species are well-known catalysts in the degradation of
urban air quality and formation of atmospheric particles, with potential to
affect indoor air quality in a similar fashion. Research in the VandenBoer
group is pursuing the development and testing of new analytical
instrumentation and methodologies for quantifying the reactive nitrogen
budget indoors. The purpose is to provide platforms that can be used safely
in these spaces to widely survey the role of reactive nitrogen in indoor
environments, while also providing selective detection of the various
components of the reactive nitrogen pool. This work is funded by the Alfred
P. Sloan Foundation through the Chemistry of Indoor Environments Program.
This program encompasses a passionate community of experts from around the
world to provide insight into the chemistry controlling the composition of
the indoor atmosphere, who meet regularly at workshops and international
conferences such as the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and
Climate, Healthy Buildings, and the American Chemical Society. Our currently
available projects include:

1. Synthesis of probe molecules for the quantitative detection of nitrous
acid (HONO) with a passive sampling approach. Synthesis work will be done in
collaboration with Dr. Chris Caputo in the Department of Chemistry at York
University. Production and characterization of the HONO probe molecules'
selectivity and stability will be performed using smog chambers.
Successfully designed probe molecules will then be used to detect HONO in
indoor environments in comparison to traditional active sampling techniques.
Students will gain experience in chemical synthesis, quantitative analysis,
ultrahigh pressure liquid chromatography, UV-Visible spectrophotometry, smog
chamber experiments, chemical kinetics, quality assurance, and field


2. Construction and testing of a real-time reactive nitrogen budget
analytical platform. Detection of total reactive nitrogen will be pursued
through the construction of a catalytic inlet to decompose a wide range of
reactive nitrogen anticipated in indoor environments, including reduced,
oxidized, and condensed phase species. Production of controlled quantities
of target gases and aerosols will be performed using permeation ovens and
scanning mobility particle sizing systems. Optimization of sampling and
detection of mixtures will be performed using our smog chambers. This
project will be supported by a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in
instrument automation. The developed instrument will be intercompared with
online techniques used in outdoor atmospheric chemistry and to quantify
reactive nitrogen in indoor environments. Students will gain experience in
analytical instrument prototyping, production of calibration standards for
gases and aerosols, spectrophotometry, quantitative analysis, method
validation, quality control, and field sampling.


Intercomparisons and proof-of-principle testing in both projects will be
performed at the York University Air Quality Research Station, and at a
variety of field locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area, southwestern
Ontario, and further abroad. Students will be given the opportunity to
perform these field measurements. Graduate students have a competitive
funding package while pursuing their studies in the Department of Chemistry
with many opportunities for scholarships and awards to support their work


Home to 52,000 students, York University has an international reputation as
a global, research-intensive university committed to interdisciplinary
research, innovation, social justice, equity, and diversity. The Faculties
of Science and Graduate Studies are committed to fostering student learning
through innovative teaching practices and experiential education
opportunities.  Students in the Faculties learn from and work with
outstanding faculty members, and benefit from leading-edge research
facilities. Faculty members collaborate with colleagues at other local
institutions and around the world in academia, industry and government. The
Faculty of Science was established in 1965, and has grown substantially over
the years. It has earned a global reputation for cutting-edge research and
innovation, housing one of the first atmospheric chemistry programs in
Canada. The Department of Chemistry consists of 24 faculty members and about
60 graduate students, providing a large community of local expertise. The
Department has research excellence and diversity across many disciplines and
attracts funding from a broad array of agencies including NSERC, CIHR,
Mitacs, and CFI. It is also home to YSciCore, a core analytical facility,
offering a wide variety of state-of-the-science techniques for the physical

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