PhD candidate (f_m_x) Research on Properties of carbonate glasses at high pressure

The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,500 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.
For section Chemistry and Physics of Earth Materials (department “Geochemistry”), we are looking for a:

PhD candidate (f_m_x) Research on Properties of carbonate glasses at high pressure

Reference Number 7788

The project "Densities, structures and refractive indices of carbonate glasses at high pressure" is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The dissertation will be submitted at the University of Potsdam.

Within the research group CLEAR we endeavor to understand large scale geological processes that operate deep inside planets. Our approach is to recreate high pressure-temperature conditions in the laboratory and examine various physical properties of geomaterials (minerals, rocks, glasses, and melts) in situ using state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques. We then use these properties in collaboration with geodynamicists to create numerical models of planets.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual who wants to earn a PhD in geosciences and is interested in developing an expertise in spectroscopic measurements in a high-pressure device known as the diamond anvil cell. The primary research focus will be on the refractive index and density of carbonate glasses at high pressure with implications to the properties of carbonate melts in the Earth’s mantle. The successful candidate will also take active part in the ongoing research collaboration with the group of Prof. Björn Winkler (Goethe University Frankfurt/Main) to gain insights into the structure-property relation in carbonate glasses/melts at high pressure. 

Your responsibilities:

  • Synthesis of carbonate glasses in the K2CO3-MgCO3 system
  • All-optical measurements of refractive index and density of carbonate glasses at high-pressure/temperature conditions
  • Proactive scientific interaction within the research group and with other groups at the GFZ
  • Report progress regularly at group meetings, domestic, and international conferences
  • Publication of the results in peer-reviewed journals
  • Develop competencies in teaching and supervision (as an assistant) of undergraduate students

Your qualifications:

  • Master's degree (or equivalent) in Geosciences, Physics, Chemistry, or a related discipline
  • Strong interest in geophysics and challenging experimental work
  • Basic knowledge of optical, infrared, and Raman spectroscopies 
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English 
  • Experience in diamond anvil cell or a related high-pressure technique is desirable 
  • Basic programming skills would be beneficial

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus 

Start date: 1st October 2023
Fixed-term: 3 years
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 30th  July 2023. Please use our online application form only.
Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv[at], who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba[at]

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Dr. Sergey Lobanov either via email at or phone +49 (0)331-6264-28607. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.

If you have any questions regarding equal opportunities, please contact the GFZ's Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr. Weckmann, at +49 331 288-2824 or by email.

The representative of the severely disabled at the GFZ, Ms. Thiel, will be happy to answer questions about the work participation of severely disabled persons at +49 331 288-1648 or by email.



Franca Buge

Abteilung Personal

0331 288-28787


Carolin Büsser

Abteilung Personal

0331 288-28787 

GFZ - Helmholtz / Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum

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Deadline: 2023-07-30
Location: Germany, Potsdam
Categories: Experimental Physics, Chemistry, Experimental skills, geophysical sciences , Geosciences, PhD, Physics, spectroscopy,


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