Scientific activities / projects

Study of the detectability of potential biosignatures in extrasolar planets

Starting date

1 july 2022

Duration of contract

22 months


According to the German TVöD 13

Type of employment

Full-time (part-time possible)

The activities of the Department of Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres (EPA) at the Institute for Planetary Research (PF) in Berlin involve analysis of photometric time series data in order to detect and characterize exoplanets, as well as the development of numerical models which simulate exoplanetary lightcurves, planetary composition and atmospheric properties.

The modeling section of PF-EPA have developed a radiative-convective climate model with coupled photochemistry in order to investigate the atmospheric temperature structure and chemical composition of rocky exoplanets and gassy Sub-Neptunes. A particular focus lies on the atmospheric modeling of small exoplanets which orbit cool stars in the habitable zone.

A central task of the current project is to upwardly extend the upper boundary of the climate-photochemical model (1D-TERRA) by including thereby the relevant climate processes operating in the thermosphere and exosphere. This work is part of a larger project in which high energy particles and ion chemistry are modelled by project partners at the University of Kiel and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

The post-doctoral position is part of the German Research Agency (DFG) special research program (SPP) entitled “Exploring the Diversity of Extrasolar Planets” (SPP 1992).

The job description entails the following tasks:

  • development of the model code of 1D-TERRA: upwards extension of the upper model lid; updating the model convection scheme.
  • validation of the updated code
  • calculation of the detectability of simulated atmospheric spectral signals with telescope facilities

Your qualifications:

  • completed university studies (master/ diploma) in physics, astronomy, astrophysics, meteorology, or or a comparable discipline
  • PhD Degree in physics, astronomy, astrophysics, meteorology, or or a comparable discipline
  • programming knowledge in high level languages like Python, Fortran, C++, or IDL
  • experience with the development of atmospheric models
  • ability to work in an international team
  • very good command of written and spoken English

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. John Lee Grenfell
Institute for Planetary Research

Phone: +49 30 67055-9734

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Vacancy 66442

HR department Berlin

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DLR site Berlin

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DLR Institute of Planetary Research

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