Postdoc offer at the Institute of Molecular Science (ISM), Bordeaux, to conduct experimental research in the field of astrochemistry with a particular focus on reaction kinetics at low temperature.

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research associate position at the Institute of Molecular Science (ISM), Bordeaux, to conduct experimental research in the field of astrochemistry with a particular focus on reaction kinetics at low temperature. The project OSCAR (Original Submillimeter Chirped pulse instrumentation for Astrochemical Reactivity), which is funded by the French national research agency, ANR, will couple a novel broadband rotational spectrometer in the submillimeter range with an existing low temperature supersonic flow apparatus. The combined instrument will be used to perform spectroscopic studies and kinetic investigations of gas-phase reactions at low temperature.

The CRESU method (Cinétique de Réaction en Ecoulement Supersonique Uniforme or Reaction Kinetics in a Uniform Supersonic Flow) was adapted to study the reactivity between neutral species in the early 1990’s. Until recently, this technique had mostly been coupled with laser based generation (pulsed laser photolysis) and detection methods (such as laser induced fluorescence) to study gas-phase reactivity at temperatures relevant to the field of astrochemistry. Within the framework of project OSCAR, a submm chirped pulse spectrometer (building on the original technique invented by Brooks Pate and coworkers [1]) has been designed and developed by a team at the Laboratoire de Physico-Chimie de l’Atmosphère (LPCA), Dunkirk. The instrument is already functional [2] and will be coupled to one of the Bordeaux CRESU apparatuses from September 2018 onwards.

The successful candidate will be responsible for integration of the new spectrometer and will lead the proposed studies of spectroscopy and reactivity at low temperature. In addition to several intermediate goals, the overall aim of OSCAR is to demonstrate the potential of broadband rotational spectroscopy to provide quantitative data for product formation for astrochemically important systems. This work will be performed in close collaboration with CNRS researcher Dr Kevin Hickson and the other members of the COMEX group of the ISM.

The position is available from September 2018 onwards (funding is presently available for an 16-month period, with the possibility of a few months further funding depending on available resources). Candidates should possess a PhD in experimental physics, physical chemistry, or chemical physics. Experience in the use of microwave/millimeter wave spectroscopy and associated instrumentation is essential. Experience in the use of pulsed laser technology, vacuum systems, gas handling techniques and computer interfacing and programming (in Labview) would be highly advantageous. Although the proposed research will be performed in a French research institute, knowledge of the French language is not essential (French language courses are offered by the University).

Informal enquiries and applications should be sent to Kevin Hickson (kevin.hickson@u-bordeaux.fr). Applicants should send a detailed CV including a publication list, a summary of previous work and a statement of research interests. The names and contact information of two potential referees should also be provided. The review of candidates will begin immediately, and will remain open until a suitable candidate has been appointed.

Keywords: Laval nozzle (supersonic flow) apparatus, gas-phase reaction kinetics, experimental astrochemistry, broadband rotational spectroscopy.

[1] B. C. Dian, G. G. Brown, K. O. Douglas and B. H. Pate, Science2008, 320, 924-928.

[2] F. Hindle, C. Bray, K. M. Hickson, D. Fontanari, M. Mouelhi, A. Cuisset, G. Mouret, R, Bocquet, Journal of Infrared, Millimeter and Terahertz Waves2018, 39, 105-119.

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