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RWTH Aachen - Chair of Technical Thermodynamics

The Chair of Technical Thermodynamics at RWTH Aachen University covers all relevant scales for the description of a process starting from the molecules up to the full process scale. The chair presently hosts 4 professors and more than 40 PhD students. It is tightly engaged in cooperation projects on biofuel production and utilisation as well as on CO2 utilisation with industrial and academic partners. We study the production and utilization of bio hybrid fuels within the cluster of excellence „The Fuel Science Centre“. The open PhD position is located in the Molecular Systems Engineering group led by Prof. Leonhard. 

Research Assistant/Associate - Ab initio reaction kinetics for soot formation and fuel mixtures

Work­ing field:

The FSC char­ac­ter­izes novel fuels with respect to their com­bus­tion prop­er­ties. You will con­trib­ute to the devel­op­ment of reac­tion mod­els and to the optim­iz­a­tion of the com­bus­tion pro­cess in engines. Spe­cific­ally, you will identify import­ant reac­tion path­ways and their rate con­stants. You will use react­ive molecu­lar dynam­ics sim­u­la­tions, a soft­ware called "Chem­TraYzer", and quantum chem­istry. You will invest­ig­ate igni­tion prop­er­ties of fuel mix­tures and pol­lut­ant-form­ing reac­tions, e.g. those of soot pre­curs­ors to char­ac­ter­ize poten­tial fuels at inhomo­gen­eous com­bus­tion con­di­tions. The res­ults will be val­id­ated exper­i­ment­ally together with cooper­a­tion part­ners and will be used for engine sim­u­la­tions by fur­ther part­ners.


  • Uni­versity degree (Mas­ter or equi­val­ent) in Chem­istry, Phys­ics, (Chem­ical) Engin­eer­ing or Engin­eer­ing Phys­ics.
  • Good writ­ten and verbal com­mu­nic­a­tion skills in Ger­man and Eng­lish.

Desir­able addi­tional know­ledge and exper­i­ence:
  • Acquaint­ance with com­pu­ta­tional chem­istry, ideally with react­ive force field meth­ods and quantum mech­an­ical meth­ods and soft­ware.
  • Gen­eral pro­gram­ming skills (UNIX, script­ing lan­guages, python, debug­ging, etc.).
  • Team player, with good two-way com­mu­nic­a­tion skills, highly self-motiv­ated and able to work inde­pend­ently with excel­lent time man­age­ment skills.

What we of­fer:

  • The suc­cess­ful can­did­ate will be employed as a reg­u­lar employee.
  • The pos­i­tion is to be filled as soon as pos­sible and ini­tially for 15 month. An exten­sion to a total of at least 3 years is planned.
  • This is a full-time pos­i­tion. It is also avail­able as part-time employ­ment per request.
  • The suc­cess­ful can­did­ate has the oppor­tun­ity to pur­sue a doc­toral degree in this pos­i­tion.
  • The salary cor­res­ponds to level EG 13 TV-L.

RWTH Aachen Uni­versity is cer­ti­fied as a Fam­ily-Friendly Uni­versity.
We par­tic­u­larly wel­come and encour­age applic­a­tions from women, dis­abled per­sons and eth­nic minor­ity groups, recog­niz­ing they are under­rep­res­en­ted across RWTH Aachen Uni­versity.
The prin­ciples of fair and open com­pet­i­tion apply and appoint­ments will be made on merit.

How to ap­ply:

For further details, please contact
Prof. Dr. Leonhard
Tel.: +49 (0) 2418098174
Fax: +49 (0) 241809255

For further information, please visit our website at:

Please send your application by February 28, 2019 to
Prof. Dr. Leonhard
Schinkelstr. 8
52062 Aachen

You can also send your application via email to Please note, however, that communication via unencrypted e-mail poses a threat to confidentiality as it is potentially vulnerable to unauthorized access by third parties.