Post-doctoral position (M/F) on astrochemistry/geochemistry

The postdoctoral position is part of a project that concerns the origin and chemical evolution of the extraterrestrial organic matter in past or present aqueous environments of solar system bodies.

This subject is in line with the sample return from asteroids (Hayabusa 2, Osirix-Rex), the actual mission on Mars (Curiosity) and for the preparation of future space missions that will explore the solar system bodies and especially icy satellites (such as JUICE and Europa Lander missions). Primitive bodies of our solar system, such as comet and asteroids are organic-rich and their studies can give significant information on the nature of organic matter delivered to planets and satellites of the solar system. But, while comets are believed to remain unmodified since their formation 4.5 billion years ago, carbon-rich asteroids are known to have been altered by secondary processes, typically aqueous alteration. The recovery of meteorites on Earth and their analysis give precious information on the final composition of the organic matter after this alteration. Besides these interplanetary objects, planetary surfaces, such as Mars or Ceres have also known aqueous alteration, with episodes of liquid water at the surface. In these objects organic matter are highly quested. Actual aqueous alteration still occur in icy satellites such as Europe, Enceladus, which seem be reservoirs of large quantity of organic matter. This project intends to question the impact of aqueous alteration on the organic matter for its evolution, complexification or destruction in such environments. Especially, the project intends to particularly emphasize on the interaction between the organic and the inorganic parts (minerals, salts) that are coexisting on such objects.
Knowing the evolution of the organic matter in these aqueous conditions is essential if we want to search for it and to understand what kind of molecules can be available for the emergence of complex systems.

The post-doctoral researcher (M/F) will have to perform experiments to constrain the behavior of organic and mineral phases, representative of the one accreted in primitive object at the dawn of the solar system, during aqueous alteration. She/he will have to develop the analytical strategy in order to characterize most of fractions after reactions (organic and mineral phases). The analogues will be also measured with spare instruments (in collaboration) in order to have data directly compared with data space missions. The post-doctoral researcher will interpret and lead the writing of publications. Budgets are available for travels between labs and presentation of the researches in conferences. The candidate will join a vibrant astrochemistry research group within the PIIM laboratory (ASTRO team) in Marseille, Université Aix-Marseille.

The preferred candidate (M/F) will have a PhD in astrochemistry or geochemistry, planetary sciences, chemistry or a closely related field, with knowledge and familiarity of analytical techniques (chromatography, spectroscopy, microscopy) and experimental works. The candidate should have demonstrated skills for experiments and/or analytics that during the phD or past postdoctoral positions.

He will be hired by Aix-Marseille University with a one year working contract possibly extendable to a second year. The salary will be dependent on the level of experience to date : 2550 € gross monthly up to 3 year professional experience in research, 2990 € gross monthly above 3 year experience.

The position will be filled according to the availability of the successful candidate (M/F), between 01/06/2023 and 01/10/2023.

Please send a CV, a description of research interests, a publication list, and email
addresses of 2-3 referees as a single PDF file-to vassilissa.vinogradoff (at)