Application Deadline: Until position filled
Research Area : Space
Research Topic: Modelling of the effect of the surface temperature of Mercury on the spectral characteristics of minerals
DLR Institute: Institute for Planetary Research
Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Job Specification: Hyperspectral remote sensing observations are a key technique for studying the composition of planetary surfaces in our solar system and soon even beyond it. Interpretation of these observations requires laboratory measurements of analog materials obtained under relevant surface conditions. For Mercury and Venus, as well as any rocky extrasolar planets close to their host star, this requires obtaining spectra at temperatures up to 500°C. Over the last 10 years, the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL) at DLR in Berlin, Germany has been constructed to routinely measure emissivity of particulate and solid sample under vacuum conditions at temperature well beyond 500°C for the spectral range from 0.7 to 200 µm.
Studies of a wide range of planetary analog materials have proven the importance of these measurements. The surface of the planet Mercury, for example, exhibits “chameleon-like behavior”. This “thermal space weathering” can mimic traditional space weathering effects, but acts on a much shorter timescale. This is an important consideration in view of the analysis of data from the MERTIS instrument on the upcoming ESAJAXA BepiColombo mission.
We are currently into strengthening the modelling efforts to better
understand this empirically observed effects. The Crystal field theory as well as numerical modelling of lattice effect have been used so far 2 successfully. We are planning to further explore the use of ab-initio calculations to complement spectroscopic results. Simulations of thermal IR spectra of crystals, performed at high and low temperatures using first principles, provide important support to data interpretations of the main mineral analogues studied. For this work we are searching for a candidate with a background in ab-initio calculations especially with regards to temperature effects. Basic familiarity with planetary science applications would be beneficial.
Required Qualification: PhD in physics or comparable field, experience with ab-initio calculations
Advantageous Skills: Background in planetary science, petrology and mineralogy would be
English competence: The working language of the group is English, therefore a good working
knowledge of the language is required (see requirements on
Earliest Start Date: 1. August 2018
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