PhD contract (former FPI) at Instituto de Estructura de la Materia CSIC in Madrid, Spain, within the project: Planetary Atmospheres in the Laboratory: Quantifying the Energy Transfer Processes by Molecular Collisions.

Good candidates are sought to apply for a 4-year contract to pursue a PhD Thesis in experimental Molecular Physics, studying energy transfer processes by molecular collisions.

The project deals with the quantitative study of molecular collisions, which are paramount for a proper modelling of planetary atmospheres under non local thermodynamic equilibrium (non-LTE). In particular, we will try to measure the rate coefficients for the energy transfer between the vibrational (V), rotational (R) and translational (T) degrees of freedom in molecular collisions, and also the broadening of the spectral lines caused by such collisions, in a group of small molecules that play a capital role in atmospheric, astrophysical and combustion processes: CO2, N2, O2, H2O, H2, CO. Although in some cases these quantities can be calculated from first principles, they are highly sensitive to subtle details of the calculations, and thus they need to be validated against experiment, especially at low or above-room temperatures.

The measurements will make use of the highly specialized instrumentation present in two laboratories of the IEM. The experiments rely on state-of-the-art Raman spectroscopy, both linear and stimulated, with high spectral and spatial resolution, in static cells or in gas jets from micron sized nozzles. The experimental work will be complemented by the collaboration with theoretical groups, since calculations are often a useful guide for proper planning of the experiments and the interpretation of the measured data. It is expected that the results of this work will contribute to a significant improvement in the accuracy and reliability of the models of planetary atmospheres under non-LTE conditions.

Applicants must have a Master degree in Physics, Chemistry, or related discipline, and to be registered in an official Doctorate program in a Spanish University.

Official call:

Deadline: 29/10/2018, (15.00h CET time).

Group web:

Contact person: Dr. José Ma. Fernández (

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