PhD position « Deciphering the origin of micrometeorites »

PhD position « Deciphering the origin of micrometeorites »

France 01 May 2021


In 2011, Lyon Institute of Origins (LIO) LabEx was selected following the first Laboratory of Excellence call for projects, part of the Investissement dAvenir program for forward-looking research.
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State University
Host Country
01 May 2021
Study level
Opportunity type
Eligible Countries
This opportunity is destined for all countries
Eligible Region
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Short descriptionThe PhD position is proposed for a 3-year period (36 months). The legal net salary is €1768 per month (plus social benefits). An annual €2 000 package for travels and equipment will be allotted. The candidate is expected to submit a thesis manuscript to the university of Lyon for a formal presentation in front of a jury before the end of the 3-yr period.

Starting date of the contract: October the 1st, 2021

Research project

The extra-terrestrial matter that is deposited on Earth consists of large bodies (meteorites with a size ranging from a few cm to a few km) and small bodies (<1mm) called micrometeorites. There is a consensus about the fact that meteorites that represent less than 0.1% of the mass accreted by Earth every year come from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. The origin of small grains, however, has been a topic of debate over the past decades with essentially two possible proposed origins, with various arguments either in favor of an asteroidal origin or cometary.

The goal of this PhD project is to get a better understanding of the origin of these grains by measuring the abundance of cosmogenic nuclides for a group of micrometeorites or individual micrometeorites (collected in Greenland, Antarctica or on the seafloor), together with modelling cosmogenic nuclides production rates.

Research field(s)

Isotope cosmochemistry

Thesis supervisor and contact

Name: Caroline Fitoussi

Laboratory: Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon (LGLTPE)


Working environment

Job location and description

The PhD will be primarily located at LGLTPE at the ENS de Lyon site. This PhD subject is at the heart of a collaboration with several partners so that various aspects will be covered over the course of the PhD (sampling, isotope work, modelling, simulations).


The new PhD student (100% supervised by Caroline Fitoussi at LGLTPE) will be joining a team of 4 other PhD students, 2 will be in their last year (50% supervision), 2 others will be starting as well (100% supervision by C.F.). The collaborations (IP2I, MNHN, CSNSM) associated with this project have already been initiated with several key people (2 research directors, 2 junior research scientists, 1 lecturer).

Allocated resources (technical facilites, computing…)

Full access to the facilities of the analytical platform at the LGLTPE (MC-ICPMS, TIMS, ICAP Q, TQ).

Recent publications of the teamFitoussi, C., Raisbeck, G., Duprat, J., Engrand, C., Wallner, A., Wang, X., Froehlich, M. 60Fe Abundance in Micrometeorites, Goldschmidt Abstracts, 1008, 2019.

Fields, B. et al., Near-Earth Supernova Explosions: Evidence, Implications, and Opportunities White Paper (2020 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics), arXiv:1903.04589 [astro-ph.SR], 2019. 11p.

Fitoussi, C., Raisbeck, G. M., Knie, K., Korschinek, Faestermann, T., Goriely, S., Lunney, D., Poutivtsev, M., Rugel, G., Waelbroeck, C. & Wallner, A. (2008) Search for supernova-produced 60Fe in a marine sediment, Phys. Rev. Lett., 101, 121101.

Description of LabEx LIO

In 2011, The Lyon Institute of Origins LabEx was selected following the first “Laboratory of Excellence” call for projects, part of the “Investissement d’Avenir” program for forward-looking research. It is one of 12 LabExes supported by the University of Lyon community of universities and establishments (COMUE). LIO brings together more than 200 elite researchers recruited throughout the word and forming 18 research teams from four laboratories in the Rhône-Alps region, all leaders in their fields, under the auspices of the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, and the CNRS. LIO’s goal is to explore questions about our origins, operating in a broad field of study that ranges from particle physics to geophysics, and includes cosmology, astrophysics, planetology and life.

Selection process

The successful candidate will be selected in partnership with the Doctoral School « Physics and Astrophysics » of the University of Lyon.

Condition for admission to doctoral studies

The candidates must hold a national master degree or equivalent.

Application deadline

May the 1st, 2021

Requested documents for application

The candidates must submit their application with (i) their academic curriculum of the last three years, (ii) a letter of motivation, (iii) a CV and (iv) a letter of recommendation, to before May the 1st, 2021.

Candidates on the short list will be informed by the end of May. They will be interviewed in June.

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