Space Research & Planetary Sciences (WP)


Master Thesis in Space Instrumentation and Experimental Planetology

Laser ablation mass spectrometer is considered to be an important and novel analytical instrument for investigation of chemical composition of planets and their moons. The instrument will be used in planetary missions with a lander to study surfaces in situ. From the measurements of molecular and elemental/isotopic composition one can learn about the history of the planet/moon, how it was formed, what was the climate on the planet in the past and also if these body could have been habitable. We have designed and currently perform tests on performance of a miniaturized laser ablation mass spectrometer. The laser is used for removing the material from solid surface into the gas phase where a plasma plume is formed containing neutral and charged elements/molecules. These species are subsequently analysed by the mass spectrometer. The goal of Master thesis is to perform studies of common minerals, minerals similar to lunar samples and the study of the composition of meteorites. The study will be conducted with ns- and/or fs lasers. Thus the Master thesis combines laser, plasma physics, with the mass spectrometric analysis.

We are looking for a talented and motivated person who enjoys experimental physics. Knowledge of electronics, vacuum instrumentation, lasers and mass spectrometry would be of advantage but is not required. The analysis of the mass spectra requires a basic knowledge of numerical methods and programming skills would be advantageous. Proficiency in spoken and written German/English is required.

Applicants should contact:

Prof. Dr. Peter Wurz
+41 31 631 44 26

Prof. Dr. Marek Tulej
+41 31 631 44 19