Postdoctoral position LAMMPS

Postdoc position to explore the supercritical state of silicate systems with adaptive potentials in LAMMPS or similar software


One postdoc position is available in the IMPACT ERC project based in Lyon, France, starting with autumn 2019.

The position is to explore the supercritical state and the liquid – vapor equilibria of a variety of multicomponent silicate and oxide systems from large-scale atomistic simulations. We envisage exploiting a wide database of existent results from ab initio molecular dynamics simulations on various silicate compositions at a wide range of conditions. The successful candidate will develop machine-learning techniques to describe the interatomic interactions or will construct adaptive interatomic potentials or force fields, which he/she will use in further multi-million atom scale simulations to study extended chemical systems, volatility, and chemical and isotope partitioning between melts and gases.

IMPACT aims to retrace the thermodynamic path of the condensation of the protolunar disk, to bring physical and chemical constraints on the impact model, and to characterize the formation of the Moon and of the Earth. Immediately after the Giant Impact, the largest parts of both the proto-Earth and the impactor melted and vaporized. They accumulated into a large protolunar disk. Everything inside the Roche radius fell down and condensed to form the early Earth. The outer mass partly fell onto the Earth, partly condensed to form the moon and partly was lost to space.

We are working on a variety of chemical systems: iron and iron alloys, simple oxides and silicates, volatile-bearing complex silicate melts, etc. We are investigating typical temperatures in the 3000 – 15000K range and densities in the 1 – 7 g/cm3 range. For comparison, average rocks at the surface of the Earth are found between 250 and 1300 K, and in the 2-3 g/cm3 density range.

Specific requirements for the successful candidate:

– PhD degree in computational mineral physics, solid-state physics, chemistry or materials science;

– experience with machine learning techniques, knowledge of LAMMPS or similar simulation package software;

– extensive experience with fitting interatomic potentials or with tight-binding techniques, and performing large-scale molecular-dynamics simulations;

– computing skills (preferably python);

– strong publication record.

– proficiency in written and spoken English;

The postdoctoral position is for one year renewable once.

He/she will be financed and be part of the Impact group funded by the European Research Council (a bit of information is at: The group is hosted in the brand new offices of the Centre Blaise Pascal, the broad numerical and computing center at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, which is a small but elite institution.

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Razvan Caracas, but the application needs to be submitted using the CNRS recruitment portal, at The package will include CV, names of references, motivation letter, including specific interests and prior experience in areas related to computational mineral physics or material science. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.


MoonImpact is supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement n°681818). PI: Razvan Caracas @ CNRS, ENS de Lyon
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