PD Dr. Andreas Kürten

Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences
Goethe-University Frankfurt
Altenhöferallee 1
60438 Frankfurt am Main

Room: 3.318
Phone: +49 (69) 798-40256
Fax: +49 (69) 798-40262


 Scientific Interests

My main scientific interest relates to studying the formation of new aerosol particles from the gas-phase (nucleation). These newly-formed particles are initially tiny agglomerates of several molecules (diameter of ~1 nm) but they can grow and become efficient cloud condensation nuclei (diameter > 50 nm). Therefore, new particle formation is highly relevant because it affects cloud formation (aerosol-cloud-climate interaction) as well as the atmospheric particle burden, which can lead to adverse health effects.

Measurement of the gas-phase compounds relevant for nucleation (e.g. sulfuric acid, amines, ammonia, and highly oxygenated organic molecules) is challenging due to their minuscule concentrations (1 molecule in 10^12 to 10^14 other molecules). For the measurement of these substances, I apply chemical ionization mass spectrometry, which can also be used to detect neutral nucleating clusters (agglomerates of several molecules). This technique is applied to study new particle formation in a controlled chamber experiment (CLOUD, Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets experiment at CERN), other laboratory measurements and field experiments. I am also interested in improving the existing instrumental techniques, which includes the application of various primary ions suitable for selective detection of different trace gases. Additionally, my research activities include the development of instrumentation suitable for the chemical analysis of freshly-nucleated particles with sizes between ~5 and 50 nm.   

Curriculum Vitae  
12/2015 Habilitation in Meteorology at the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Germany (postdoctoral thesis title: „Entstehung von Aerosolteilchen durch Nukleation: Partikel-Bildungsraten und Messung von Schwefelsäure und Clustern“, English title: „Formation of aerosol particles through nucleation: formation rates and measurement of sulfuric acid and clusters“)
Since 11/2008 Senior scientist and habilitation candidate at the Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Germany

5/2007 – 10/2008

Postdoc at the California Institute of Technology, Division of Engineering and Applied Science and Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Pasadena, USA.
1/2007 – 3/2007 Postdoc at the Institute of Ecological Chemistry, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany.
7/2003 – 6/2007 PhD student at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz and at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, title of the dissertation: „Entwicklung, Aufbau und Charakterisierung eines neuartigen Ionenfallen-Massenspektrometers für Aerosolpartikel (AIMS)“ („Development, Set-up and Characterization of a novel Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer for Aerosol Particles (AIMS)“), grade: summa cum laude.
10/1997 – 6/2003 Study of Meteorology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany, title of the diploma thesis: „Entwicklung und Charakterisierung eines Expansions-Kernzählers für ultrafeine Aerosolpartikel“ („Development and Characterization of an Expansion-Type Particle Counter for Ultrafine Aerosol Particles“).

"Smoluchowski Award", awarded in 2015 by the Association for Aerosol Research (Gesellschaft für Aerosolforschung, GAeF)

“Wolfgang-Paul-Studienpreis”, awarded in 2008 by the German Society for Mass Spectrometry (DGMS)

“Forschungsförderpreis der Universität Mainz e.V.”,awarded in 2008 by the Friends of the University of Mainz(Forschungsförderpreis der Freunde der Universität Mainz e.V.)

Memberships Association for Aerosol Research (GAeF)
German Meteorological Society (DMG)

Research Interests

  •  Atmospheric new particle formation mechanisms
  •  Measurement of nucleation precursor gases and clusters
  •  Instrument development
  •  Chemical characterization of nano-particles