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My knowledge is shaping the future.

PhD position

Analysis and modelling of plasma-neutral interactions

Starting date

1 March 2021

Duration of contract

3 years


According to German TVöD 13

Type of employment


The Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics focusses on the observation, investigation and modelling of the near-Earth space weather. Space weather has a decisive influence on the propagation of radio waves, which is used for terrestrial and satellite-based communication as well as for satellite-based navigation. In view of society's growing dependence on the accuracy, availability and reliability of satellite-based radio systems, preventive measures are needed to protect human life and technical systems from the effects of space weather. The observation and modeling of the state of the ionosphere, which are crucial components of these measures, have been carried out at DLR's Neustrelitz site for many years.

Predicting the state of the ionosphere is a major challenge because it is based on complex interactions between the atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere, which need to be scientifically investigated and described. Especially in the altitude range between 80 and 120 km complex electro-dynamic processes take place, which have an influence on the state of the entire ionosphere- magnetosphere system.

Your mission is to study and model the plasma-neutral interactions in this so-called ionospheric dynamo region, where a transition from strongly collisional plasma to magnetized collision-free plasma takes place. The study involves remote sensing experiments with state-of-the-art radar systems located in Northern Scandinavia, including the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) radar.

Your work performance will be 19.25 hours per week. The remuneration is 75% of German TVöD group 13.

Your tasks will include:

  • researching the literature with the goal of critically evaluating proven and new mathematical methods and making them useful for your own work and deriving possible solutions for your own work
  • investigation of plasma dynamics in the context of tidal waves or gravity waves in already existing EISCAT data sets
  • analysis of existing meteor radar data
  • organization of measurement campaigns
  • evaluation and processing of the collected measurement data

Your qualifications:

  • university degree (master or diplom) in physics, geophysics, mathematics, electrical engineering or a comparable subject
  • knowledge in atmospheric physics, especially in the middle and upper atmosphere
  • experience in the evaluation of measurement data and the application of methods from data science to large data sets (preferably with Matlab or Phython)
  • experience in the application of statistical methods
  • basic knowledge of electrodynamics and plasma physics or atmospheric physics
  • good self-organisation and a high degree of initiative in dealing with complex technical and scientific problems
  • very good written and spoken English skills

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalleled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (f/m/x). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr Claudia Borries
Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics

Phone: +49 3981 480-215

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Vacancy 53632

HR department Berlin

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DLR site Neustrelitz

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Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics

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