PhD position

AI-based self-calibrating ray tracing model for solar chemical reactor design

Starting date

3 July 2023

Duration of contract

3 years


up to the German TVöD 13

Type of employment


Would you like to contribute to a rational and environmentally friendly energy supply, work in an international environment, research exciting and innovative issues, and keep an eye on application and implementation?

Then the DLR Institute for Future Fuels is an attractive employer for you. We work on technologies and processes for sustainable energy supply for industry and mobility.
DLR's Institute for Future Fuels is researching methods of producing synthetic fuels using concentrated solar radiation. Together with the Institute of Solar Research, we are developing solar-chemical reactors for this purpose. For their design, we need models that represent the energy input by radiation into the reactor as accurately as possible. Precise prediction of the radiation distribution inside the reactor as well as mapping of the scattered radiation are important to determine the effectiveness of the reactor and also the thermal load of its components already before tests.

Currently, such models are based on the ray-tracing method, which calculates with idealized optical properties of the light sources and does not allow an exact mapping of the radiation distribution. Therefore, a new method is to be developed that maps optical properties of each individual light source from available measurement data by an inverse model and thus creates the basis for a precise distribution calculation. Within the scope of your PhD, you will develop such a self-calibrating model using AI methods, which continuously uses experimentally generated data as a basis for constant optimization. In a further step, you will develop coupling interfaces to both optical metrology and thermal-chemical reactor models.

You will work in a cross-institute and cross-disciplinary team (Institute for Future Fuels and Institute for Solar Research) and benefit from the exchange with our experts, which ensures very good professional supervision. DLR offers you the opportunity to further your education within the DLR graduate program by participating in advanced training measures. Flexible working hours allow you to balance work and family life, and we give you the freedom you need to fulfill your tasks.

For more professional information, contact Dr. Dmitrij Laaber, +49 (0) 2461 93730 311

Your qualifications:

  • you hold a university degree (Uni/TH, at least diploma or master) in computer science, mathematics, physics, mechatronics, mechanical engineering or comparable
  • you have very good knowledge of programming methodology and at least one high-level programming language, most preferably Python
  • you have a general affinity for numerical methods
  • ability to work independently as well as teamwork and cooperation skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, commitment and willingness to learn are among your strengths.
  • you can explain complex problems well orally and in writing in both German and English.
  • you have already gained experience with AI methods
  • you have a good knowledge of optics or ray tracing methods

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. Dmitrij Laaber
Institute for Future Fuels

Phone: +49 2461 93730-311

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Vacancy 82026

HR department Cologne

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DLR site Jülich

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DLR-Institute of Future Fuels

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