WACL hosts a team of academics, research and technical staff as well as a number of PhDs and MScs by research.

Job vacancies

All job vacancies are advertised through the University of York jobs website.


Summer placements

Four paid studentships will be available in Summer 2020 for an eight week period from July with the Wolfson Atmosheric Chemistry Laboratories (WACL).

  • Aerosol from trees and cars
  • Investigating the impact of consumer choices on indoor air chemistry
  • Measuring aerosol pollution: Does particle shape matter?
  • Photochemical Ozone Production in Delhi

The student will be integrated into the atmospheric chemistry group housed in WACL. The student will attend the atmospheric group meetings and will be expected to present their work. Further information on each studentship can be found below.

Payment is at minimum wage for 8 weeks, 4 days a week (29.6 hours). Placement period is 6th July - 28th August 2020. 

Students should be studying for a degree in Chemistry, Mathematics, Computing, Engineering, Electronics or Physics, have completed their second year of first degree or intergrated Masters and expect to obtain a first or upper second UK Honours degree.

Applications should include a two page CV and covering letter (one page) explaining what about the project and atmosheric science appeals to you to wacl@york.ac.uk by 5pm on 21st February 2020.

Aerosol in the city

Dr Sari Budisulistiorini: Aerosol measurements from trees and cars

Secondary organic aerosols (SOA) from biogenic and anthropogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) oxidation contribute to urban atmospheric particle enhancement. Identifying the SOA composition at the molecular level is important to determine their impacts. Oxidized organic molecules with hydroxyl, acid, and/or aldehyde functional groups are soluble in water, hence they can affect cloud droplets composition. One way to characterize SOA is by generating them in an atmospheric smog chamber or reactor followed by chemical analysis of the collected particles. Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories Continuous Flow Reactor (WACL-CFR) was developed to generate a large quantity of SOA by controlling the mixing ratios of VOC and oxidant as well as residence time (Pereira et al., 2019). The study assumed the pristine environment condition by keeping a clean background prior to photooxidation. This condition does not reflect the urban atmosphere with its background particles from human activities. Hence for the undergraduate summer project, we will investigate the chemical composition of SOA formed in the presence of seed aerosol. The student will conduct photooxidation of selected anthropogenic and biogenic VOCs without and in the presence of seed aerosols. The student will then analyse the SOA by using an online PM2.5 sensor (Dekati DePS-Go) and offline methods (Dekati PM2.5 Impactor and Thermo Scientific UPLC-ESI/DAD-QExactive Orbitrap analyses). Through the project, the student will learn about designing a smog chamber experiment, the atmospheric particle type and formation mechanism, the analytical methods, interpreting data, and writing a discussion report. The results of this project will be included in the Complex-OA project.


Ozone in Delhi

Dr Andrew Rickard: Photochemical Ozone Production in Delhi

The factors controlling Delhi’s air quality are complex; they include local and regional emissions, changes in synoptic meteorology as well as the detailed atmospheric chemistry controlling the composition of the urban atmosphere. Primary urban pollution emissions are dominated by particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and an extensive reactive mix of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many of these species can react photochemically in the atmosphere to create secondary pollutants, such as ozone (O3), and condensed material in the form of secondary organic aerosol (SOA), which add to the overall PM load and contribute to photochemical “smog”.  Numerical models of atmospheric chemistry are therefore essential to understanding this complex chemical composition and are key to our ability to understand, predict and hence mitigate urban air quality problems.  

At York, we have developed a campaign specific photochemical box model, constrained to a unique set of chemical observations from the Indian Megacity of Delhi, in both the pre and post monsoon periods.  This project will focus on performing a range sensitivity analyses using this model in order to look at the effects of targeted NOx and VOC reductions (by class/source) on photochemical ozone production (P(O3)).  We will also investigated the effect of reducing PM size, number and composition on the uptake of radicals on P(O3).

Indoor air

Dr Terry Dillon: Investigating the impact of consumer choices on indoor air chemistry

In developed countries, we spend > 90% of our time indoors, where we are exposed to high concentration of pollutants both from intrusion of outdoor air and from human activities such as cooking, cleaning and use of personal care products. In this summer project you will:

  • Probe emissions from a selection of fragranced cleaning products such as household cleaners and bleaches.
  • Compare these emissions to those from so-called “eco-friendly” alternative brand.
  • Test the usefulness of a range of analytic tools (mass-spec., GC, low-cost VOC sensors) for this type of work.

You will have a keen interest in environmental issues. The WACL team is well supported with experienced scientists and technical support; all training will be provided, and no previous experience with specific techniques, instruments or models is necessary.

Aerosol pollution

Dr Katherine Manfred: Measuring aerosol pollution: Does particle shape matter?

Volatile consumer products (VCPs) such as shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants and moisturisers represent a major source of human exposure to Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and indoor air pollutants. Fragranced products, for instance, emit terpenes such as limonene and alpha- pinene, which dominate VOC concentrations found indoors. Terpenes react with ozone to generate a range of secondary pollutants including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, secondary organic aerosols, and ultrafine particles potentially harmful to human health. Consumer product VOCs from indoor sources can also migrate outdoors, affecting ambient air quality.

The placement will involve a series of experiments which will provide insight into potential key reaction pathways and end products of VOCs emitted from VCPs during their intended use. This is with a view to evaluate atmospheric and human respiratory exposure to these compounds. The core measurement technology to be used to determine VOC concentrations in air during this study is based on the Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry approach (SIFT-MS) approach. This real-time detection technique injects up to three different reagent ions sequentially for reaction with ambient VOCs and semi-volatile VOCs (SVOCs), providing high sensitivities and low analyte limits of detection (ppt).




Contact us

Jenny Hudson-Bell
WACL Research Administrator

+44 (0)1904 322609
Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, Heslington, York  YO10 5DD, United Kingdom.