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PhD position - Lunar application regolith study

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Ref: InnovaXN_24_ILL


Places of work :
- Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France

Contract type: Contract, start on 2020-09-07.

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

You will join a new research project between ILL (neutron scattering), ESRF (synchrotron radiation), TU Braunschweig (moon regolith simulants) and the company OHB (space technology), close to Munich. The principle investigator and industrial supervisor is from OHB, the academic supervisor from TU Braunschweig (TUBS) and the local supervisors are from ILL and ESRF.

The objective of the project is the characterization of moon regolith in view of a use as construction material for future infrastructures (shelters) on the moon. As access to original lunar regolith is difficult, most work will be done on simulants as developed at TUBS, although a benchmarking with Apollo samples shall be attempted. The characterization methods are those available at ILL and ESRF. Starting with raw material characterization, the change of properties during heating, sintering and melting shall be investigated by in situ diffraction methods. In a final stage, 3D structures shall be created by additive manufacturing and followed by in situ diffraction and radiography.

These experiments shall result in predictive models for regolith of different composition. Most of the time, you will stay at ILL, planning, performing, being involved in and exploiting diffraction experiments at ILL (mostly at the high intensity powder diffractometer D20) and ESRF (mostly at ID22 for microstructure investigation and ID13 for spatially resolved diffraction, ID19 for radiography). About a quarter of the time will be spent at TUBS (sample preparation and additive manufacturing) and, finally, some time will be spent at OHB (transfer of identified ILL/ESRF techniques as tools fullfilling requirements and verification methods of space agencies).

Further information may be obtained from Thomas Hansen (tel.: +33 (0)4 76 20 70 44, email: ).

- Degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in physics, materials science, chemistry, mineralogy or closely related science
- A background in experimentation is desirable, and knowledge of diffraction would be an advantage
- Manual skills and rigorous attention to detail are essential in this work environment
- English is required as working and exchange language, German notions, though not required, would be useful for collaboration among the partners, knowledge of French language favors social integration, thus, an opportunity to follow French lessons will be given if needed.
- Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
- At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
- Candidates must satisfy eligibility criteria according to the partner university requirements for PhD enrollment.

More details about the application procedure on

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of TUBS and based full-time at ILL (Grenoble, France), other than two about 2-month secondments at OHB. Additional visits totaling no more than 6 months may be made to TUBS when needed. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

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