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Accueil du site > Jobs - PostDoc - These > Two postdoc positions available in Molecular Physics at the Institut de Physique, Université de Rennes 1 (France)

Two postdoc positions available in Molecular Physics at the Institut de Physique, Université de Rennes 1 (France)

par Nord & Ile de France - 5 janvier

Two postdoctoral positions are available at the Institut de Physique, Université de Rennes 1 (France).

The research project consists of a joint experimental and theoretical study of water-containing complexes. Such complexes are of key interest from a fundamental point of view and are present in many planetary atmospheres and astrophysical environments. They play a crucial role In Earth’s atmosphere chemistry, as they can be involved in the first steps of atmospheric aerosol formation and growth and can also act as a catalyst for some chemical reactions. Furthermore, water-containing complexes directly influence the destruction of the ozone layer by capturing atmospheric pollutants and their absorption of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth contributes to the Greenhouse effect. Such complexes are also present in comae of comets and in protoplanetary disks where (potentially habitable) planets are formed.

Detailed knowledge of these complexes and their formation process are therefore of great importance for a proper modeling the physical conditions characterizing atmospherical and astrophysical media.

The successful candidates will participate to a funded research project aiming at studying the formation process and the spectroscopy of such complexes as well as characterizing internal energy transfer. This project will focus on water bearing complexes containing organic molecules such as formic acid, methanol, or small hydrocarbons.

The work will be performed in the Molecular Physics department of the Institut de Physique de Rennes (IPR) ( and is co-funded by a research chair of Rennes Metropole (PI. F. Lique) and by Université de Rennes 1.


The first position is for a theoretician, whose work will consist in unraveling the electronic structure and interactions in the complexes, in order to understand the dynamics of the formation process. Once relevant potential energy surfaces have been determined, collision dynamics will be investigated using various quantum scattering approaches such as Close-Coupling, MCTDH, and statistical approaches developed locally.

The successful candidate will join the Theory and Simulation team of the Molecular Physics department, where he/she will have the benefit of other team members’ long experience in various aspects of quantum dynamics and state-of-the-art computational techniques.

Applicants should have a PhD in theoretical chemistry/physics. Experience with electronic structure calculations of gas phase molecular systems aimed at the determination of accurate potential energy surfaces and/or reaction-dynamics calculations is required. Programming experience with Fortran is also highly desirable.

For more information about this position, please send an e-mail to François Lique ( and Alexandra Viel (


The second position is open for an experimentalist. She/he will join the Laboratory Astrophysics team of the Molecular Physics Department. The host group develops original experiments, often unique in the world, to provide data useful for determining the presence and abundance of molecules in various cold atmospheric and astrophysical environments.

The objective of this aspect of the project is to quantitatively investigate the kinetics of formation of water complexes. State-of-the-art laboratory experiments will be carried out using the CRESUSOL instrument. CRESUSOL combines a supersonic flow reactor and a time-of-flight mass spectrometer with VUV photoionization and photoelectron-photoion coincidence detection. This device, although very large (> 3 m in height), is transportable, which allows it to be associated with SOLEIL synchrotron radiation (DESIRS VUV beamline) for annual measurement campaigns. First efforts will be focused on the study of low-temperature formation (down to 20 K) of complexes of water with small organics bearing a strong dipole moment.

The successful candidate will perform kinetics experiments and will also contribute to the upgrade of the detection capabilities of the instrument. He/she will also be associated to the development of a pulsed version of the supersonic flow. The postdoc will finally be given the opportunity to participate to other measurement campaigns at large-scale synchrotron facilities at SOLEIL and at the Advanced Light Source at Berkeley.

The work will be performed closely with the CRESUSOL team at IPR as well as with a number of internationally renowned external experts. The successful candidate will benefit from support from the International Research Network QUADMARTS (QUAntitative Detection of Molecular And Radical Trace Species) led by Prof. S. Le Picard (Rennes) and Prof. M. Okumura (Caltech). The host experimental team (8 researchers, 4 technical staff, 4 postdocs, 8 PhD students) offers an excellent working environment.

The applicant must have a solid background in experimental physical chemistry or in chemical physics. Specific skills in mass spectrometry and ion optics are required. Experience in rarefied flows and/or data acquisition would be advantageous.

For more information about this position, please send an e-mail to Ludovic Biennier ( and Sebastien Le Picard (


There will be a strong synergy between the experimental and theoretical work. The two successful candidates will have to closely work together as well as with PhD students also involved in the project.

Starting date : Early 2021 for a period up to 2 years.

Salary : ca. 2200 euros/month ; health insurance included.

Restrictions imposed by the funding source means that candidates currently working in France may not be eligible for these positions.

Applications, including a CV, a statement of research interests, and the names and addresses of two references should be addressed to François Lique (


[1] Molecular excitation in the interstellar medium : recent advances in collisional, radiative and chemical processes, E. Roueff and F. Lique, Chem. Rev. 113, 8906 (2013)

[2] A new ab initio potential energy surface for the CO-H2O molecular complex, Y. N. Kalugina, A. Faure, A. van der Avoird, K. M. Walker and F. Lique, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 20, 5469 (2018)

[3] Scattering of CO with H2O : statistical and classical alternatives to close-coupling calculations, J. Loreau, A. Faure and F. Lique, J. Chem. Phys. 148, 244308 (2018)

[4] Application of the spectral element method to the solution of the multichannel Schrödinger equation, A. Simoni, A. Viel and J.-M. Launay, J. Chem. Phys. 146, 244106 (2017)

[5] A new instrument for kinetics and branching ratio studies of gas phase collisional processes at very low temperatures, O. Durif, M. Capron, J.P. Messinger, A. Benidar, L. Biennier, J. Bourgalais, A. Canosa, J. Courbe, G. A. Garcia, J.-F. Gil, L. Nahon, M. Okumura, L. Rutkowski, I.R. Sims, J. Thiévin, S.D. Le Picard, (2020)