PhD Position: ATLAS A03a - Characterisation of Materials under Hyperthermal Conditions (experiment.)


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Publication date:  May 4, 2024
Position-ID: 1425
Faculty/ Facility: Aerospace Engineering and Geodesy 
Institute/ Facility: Aerospace Engineering and Geodesy : IRS - Institute of Space Systems 
Research Association: CRC 1667: Advancing Technologies of Very Low-Altitude Satellites (ATLAS) 
Teaching Obligation: No 
Application deadline: 06/02/2024
Anticipated Start Date:  04/01/2024   
About Us

The DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1667 “Advancing Technologies of Very Low-Altitude Satellites” (ATLAS) at the University of Stuttgart (Germany) addresses the fundamental scientific and engineering challenges of rendering Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO, about 200 km to 450 km altitude) accessible. These orbits are particularly beneficial for satellite services that have become indispensable to our modern knowledge, information, and communication society and enable the operation of satellites without exposing them or contributing to the increasing contamination of traditional orbits with space debris. The research programme encompasses 17 distinct scientific subprojects that are organised into three project areas, focusing on exploring the Gas-Surface Interactions, Enabling Subsystems, and Mission-related Challenges that are respectively critical towards ultimately achieving sustained VLEO operations. Striving towards this common goal, the CRC ATLAS encompasses an especially broad range of research disciplines as well as experimental, numerical, and analytical methods.


The ATLAS Project A03: Characterisation of Materials under Hyperthermal Conditions is conducted under the joint leadership of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefanos Fasoulas and apl. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Georg Herdrich at the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) located on the Vaihingen Campus of the University of Stuttgart.


Please refer to for further information on the CRC 1667 ATLAS and its individual research projects.

Your Tasks

A novel, experimentally well characterised ground test facility will be realised in this project based on a plasma wind tunnel adapted with a skimmer. The development will be accompanied by detailed simulations with the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) code PICLas. The associated methodology for combined experimental and numerical investigations of gas-surface interactions will be established and evaluated. This will particularly allow for an experimental validation of physical models developed and used in the numerical tools in this and other projects.


Two doctoral researchers will be collaborating in this project, with a respective focus on experimental and computational work. As doctoral researcher with an experimental focus, you will

  • Participate in the design and implementation of the new experimental setup,
  • Select and implement suitable probe diagnostics for a VLEO-relevant ground test environment,
  • Assess operational envelopes, calibrate test conditions and define ground-to-flight scaling procedures for the newly implemented methodology,
  • Define Derive and characterize reference test conditionsa test matrix, conduct and evaluate experiments on VLEO-relevant material degradation and other gas-surface interaction phenomena.
Your Profile

Suitable candidates possess a M.Sc. in engineering, physics, or an equivalent field of science relevant to the research program of the CRC ATLAS. Previous experience in the field of experimental and/or computational (rarefied) aerothermodynamics is advantageous. Additionally, candidates should have excellent writing skills. Fluency in English is required; command of German is appreciated. Active support of and participation in the CRC program is expected.

Your Benefits

All vacancies for Ph.D. positions include a full- or part-time position for a period of 3.75 years. Remuneration is based on the TV-L statutory scale and its associated public sector benefits. The earliest possible starting date is April 1st, 2024.


For its doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, the CRC ATLAS offers an ambitious structured interdisciplinary training programme with joint supervision by experienced researchers from different disciplines. The program includes also opportunities for research stays abroad to foster international cooperation and for participation in international conferences for the dissemination of the respective findings. Selected candidates will likely find themselves in an exceptionally good starting position for their continued future career in academia or industry.


A complete application includes a letter of application, a detailed CV, relevant certificates, and a list of publications (if applicable). Applications are accepted until the respective position is filled; a first application deadline is set to February 15th, 2024.

Employment and compensation information
Maximal Funding Period or Duration of Employment: 45 Monate  
Type of Funding: Position as Employee at the University of Stuttgart 
Compensation: EG TV-L 13 
Percentage of weekly working hours (usually 39.5h = 100%): 75 
Employment at the cooperation partner:  
Location: Stuttgart, Campus Vaihingen 
If Location other than Stuttgart or additional location(s):
Contact Details
Contact person: Adam Pagan 
Phone: +49 711 685 62135 

At the University of Stuttgart, we actively promote diversity among our employees. We have set ourselves the goal of recruiting more female scientists and employing more people with an international background, as well as people with disabilities. We are therefore particularly pleased to receive applications from such people. Regardless, we welcome any good application. 

Women who apply will be given preferential consideration in areas in which they are underrepresented, provided they have the same aptitude, qualifications and professional performance. Severely disabled applicants with equal qualifications will be given priority.

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