Scientific activities / projects

Head of the Sample Analysis Laboratory (SAL)

Starting date

1. March 2024

Duration of contract

3 years


up to German TVöD 13

Type of employment

Full-time (part-time possible)

The Institute of Planetary Research carries out and supports research programs on the internal structure, formation and evolution of the planets, their moons, and asteroids and comets of our Solar System and other planetary systems. Techniques employed include remote sensing and in-situ investigations using instruments carried on spacecraft, astronomical observations from the ground, theoretical modeling, and laboratory experiments. In our own Solar System, a growing focus in planetary exploration is on in-situ measurements and sample return missions. The detailed mineralogical and geochemical analysis of samples in connection with in-situ measurements at the landing/sampling site allow to place the remote sensing data into context. For this purpose, the Institute for Planetary Research is extending its laboratory capabilities by setting up a dedicated Sample Analysis Lab (SAL).

Within SAL extraterrestrial material will be analyzed by mineralogical and geochemical methods. As part of a new investment DLR will implement the following analytical capabilities: elemental analysis via Electron Microprobe and scanning electron microscopy; mineralogical analysis with x-ray diffraction and micro-spectroscopy. In parallel spectral analysis of terrestrial analog materials and meteorites will be continued providing a direct comparison between the analysis of remote sensing measurements and ground-truth from the returned samples. This allows to use the synergies between the detailed analysis on the sample and the global characterization of the target body.

For this new laboratory DLR is searching for a researcher for the setup and certification of all analytical instruments as well as for the development of new measurement methods and handling protocols for extraterrestrial samples including the curation of samples. Required are a PhD in Physics, geochemistry, petrology, mineralogy, geology or material science as well as experience with all techniques used at SAL and with the handling of extraterrestrial material. Experience working on planetary missions, especially sample return missions, would be beneficial.

It is DLR policy that young scientists will be offered full opportunities for their post-graduate educational development. Applications should include a motivation letter summarizing research interests, academic transcripts from relevant degrees, CV, and names and contact information of two references. Please submit your application online by January 31, 2024.

Your qualifications:

  • A prerequisite for employment at DLR is security clearance in accordance with the Security Clearance Act and willingness to undergo a security clearance in accordance with §8 ff SÜG.
  • university degree (Master / Diploma) in physics, planetology, astronomy, material science or geology or similar studies with relevance to this job opening
  • several years of experience in the analysis of extra-terrestrial material including meteorites
  • experience in the operation of electron-microprobe, x-ray diffraction as well as electron microscopy instruments
  • experience in micro-analytical and petrology methods for quantitative and qualitative analysis
  • experience with python, R or similar programming languages
  • experience with ProbeSoftware, PeakSight, EasyEMA or comparable software
  • experience with the MinDat database or comparable databases
  • dissertation in physics, planetology, astronomy, material science or geology or closely related fields is an advantage
  • ideally experience in managing the operation of a laboratory with several analytical instruments and international collaboration partners
  • ideally experience in laboratory spectroscopy and with planetary missions

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. Jörn Helbert
Institute of Planetary Research

Phone: +49 30 67055-319

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Vacancy 90248

HR department Berlin

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DLR site Berlin

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DLR Institute of Planetary Research

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