Supervisory authorities



our social networks



Home > Students corner > Internships with possible extension to Ph.D. > All internships.

Development of a cavity enhanced laser spectrometer for operation on-board a Lufthansa passenger airplane.

published on

The successful candidate will work on a collaborative project with the research group of Dr. Andreas Zahn at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, within the framework of the European Research Infrastructure IAGOS-CARIBIC [1]. This is a flying laboratory in a modified airfreight container that includes (currently 19) instruments for atmospheric measurements during flights on board of a commercial airliner. The objective of the current visionary project will be to add an instrument based on optical-feedback cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OF-CEAS) that will analyze the isotope ratios (D/H and 18O/16O) of water in the middle and upper troposphere.

For the first time worldwide, this two-cavity instrument will analyze the isotopic composition in both water vapor and cloud particles (by using two air inlet configuration). A major scientific objective is to better understand climate-relevant processes and their long-term changes in the altitude range where the dominant part of Earth’s greenhouse effect is generated. Instrument development and characterization will take place in Grenoble, whereas the integration in the CARIBIC laboratory and the instrument supervision on the (brand-new) Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 will take place in Karlsruhe. Both Grenoble and KIT will be involved in all stages of the project.


The PhD researcher will adapt existing basic infrared spectrometers, based on the principle of OF-CEAS developed by the LIPHY [2], and modify these to achieve state-of-the-art performance, also under flight conditions. A dedicated water vapor delivery module will be developed for in-flight calibration purposes. The instrumentation will be tested, characterized and validated in the laboratory. The second part of the PhD project will be concerned with in-flight demonstration, validation, and data analysis during regular IAGOS-CARIBIC flights.


The candidate must have a master’s degree in Physics or Engineering. Preference will be given to a candidate with previous experience in laser technology, electronics and/or optics. Additional useful skills are programming and data analysis. Excellent English writing and verbal communication skills are essential. The successful candidate will write a PhD dissertation, publish papers in the peer-reviewed literature, and participate in scientific meetings. She/he will be required to spend extended periods of time in Karlsruhe, and may even consider changing her/his primary place of residence halfway through the PhD program. Working knowledge or a strong desire to learn French or German is not a requirement but will be considered a plus. The candidate will be rewarded with a fascinating and exciting project that enables the acquisition of expert knowledge in contrasting scientific and engineering fields from optics and laser spectroscopy to aeronautics and atmospheric sciences.

Further details:

The appointment will be with the University of Grenoble, initially for a 6-month trial period, with prolongation for a total duration of 36 months. The work will be supervised by Prof. Erik Kerstel and Dr. Daniele Romanini at the UGA and Dr. Andreas Zahn and Dr. Harald Bönisch at KIT. Review of applicants will begin immediately, but the position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. Applications received by December 20, 2019 are guaranteed full consideration. The UGA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply. The position is open to both French citizen and international candidates that qualify for both a French and a German working permit. UGA has a long history of excellence in the Sciences, and Applied Physics and Environmental Sciences in particular. The university ranks consistently among the top research universities in France and world-wide. Total student enrollment is 48,000, of which approximately 6,000 are international and 3,700 are graduate students, and there are over 3,000 faculty. Grenoble is an exciting place to learn and conduct research! The city of Grenoble has a rich student and cultural life and is known for its outdoors activities and the beauty of its surrounding mountains.

Applications, including (a) a cover letter, describing your experience, research and professional interests and ambitions, (b) curriculum vitae, (c) unofficial transcripts and (d) contact information of at least two professional/academic references, should be sent in a single pdf file to Erik Kerstel,

[1] see
[2] Morville, Romanini, Kerstel. 2014. “Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy with Optical Feedback.” Springer Series in Optical Sciences 179:163–209.