Physical Chemistry of Atmospheric Processes

Head : Denis PETITPREZ
Co-Head : Christa FITTSCHEN

Atmospheric chemistry and air quality are the main concerns of the team "Physical Chemistry of Atmospheric Processes". Our research projects focuses on :

  • chemical and photochemical reaction taking place in the atmosphere,
  • oxydation reaction occuring during treatment of polluted air by photo-catalysis,
  • sources and sinks of pollutants in indoor air quality, including complementary experimental and modelling approaches,
  • modification of pollen grains by air pollutants.

Those projects are part of two work packages:

Theme 1: Homogeneous and heterogeneous atmospheric reactivity
Theme 2: Air quality: measurements and modeling

Staff members

Researchers CNRS: Fittschen Christa, Hanoune Benjamin, Pillier Laure, Schoemaecker Coralie
Researchers and teachers University of Lille: Fèvre-Nollet Valérie, Lebègue Patrick, Petitprez Denis, Visez Nicolas

Technicians and engineers: Batut Sébastien, Demaux Pascal, Germain Sébastien, Gosselin Sylvie, Hombert Olivier,  Hecquet Christophe, Béatrice Lecrenier
Post doc: Assaf Emmanuel
PhD Students: Deguine Alexandre (CaPPA 2018*) Wu Junteng (CaPPA 2018*), Jinane FARAH (co-tutelle Liban, 2018*), Al Ajami Mohamad (2018*), Florent Kravtchenko (2019*)

(* expected year of PhD defense)

Contracts and collaboration

PhD in progress

Chemical modification of pollen by air pollutants

mots clés : Pollen, Allergy, Climibio, Labex Cappa

Funding : 50% Lille1, 50% Univ. Tripoli

Doctorant : Jinane Farah

PhD directors: Denis Petitprez, Moomem Baroudi (Univ. Tripoli, Liban), Nicolas Visez

Investigation of the atmospheric reactivity through experimental measurement of the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere

mots clés :

Programmes de recherche en lien avec le sujet :

Financement : 

Doctorant : Mohamad Al Ajami

Direction de la thèse :

Reactivity of peroxy radicals studied using a fast flow reactor coupled to LIF, cw-CRDS and mass spectroscopy

mots clés :

Programmes de recherche en lien avec le sujet :

Financement : 

Doctorant : Florent Kravtchenko

Direction de la thèse :

Indoor Air Quality Investigations with Miniature Sensors

PhD student: Eliane Assy

Funding: 50% U. Lille and 50% Rincent Air

Director: Benjamin Hanoune

Key words: Indoor air  - Pollution -  Sensor networks


The aim of the PhD work is to understand the phenomena driving indoor air quality (IAQ), with a focus on low energy buildings. All recent buildings must comply with the regulations about energy consumption, which is achieved through an increased airtightness, a controlled ventilation system, and the use of new materials and techniques. The impact of these energy considerations on the indoor air quality is far from being well characterized. It is therefore necessary to document the air quality inside this kind of buildings.

Classically, indoor air studies are carried out with samplers left in rooms for several days, and eventually analyzed in the laboratory. This provides only a delayed measure, integrated during the sampling period. We propose in this work to use commercial miniature pollutants sensors (gas and particles), recently developed. These sensors are small, efficient and promising instruments. Their low cost allows to equip simultaneously many rooms. With their high response time, we will be able to monitor IAQ in near real-time, and to link the pollution status to the activities taking place in the room, to the ventilation status, to indoor or outdoor sources… These sensors have already been validated during a previous PhD work at PC2A and Mines-Douai.

In the present work, the sensors will be used in existing buildings, old (rehabilitated or not), new or in construction, mainly on the Scientific Campus of the University. Additional measurements with classical instruments (online analyzers, particle counters, chromatographs, PTR-MS, spectrometers…) will also be performed. IAQ inside the buildings will be analyzed in relation with the ventilation system and the energy performance of the buildings. The protocols for the analysis of the data from the sensors, and the automation of these protocols, will need to be implemented during this project. With the data acquired during the campaigns, we expect to validate and implement a new index of indoor air quality.

Post doctoral position in progress

Study of the fate of peroxy radicals

Peroxy radicals are key intermediates in the oxidation of hydrocarbons under both, combustion and atmospheric conditions. Their subsequent chemistry in low NOx environments is poorly understood. In the frame of this postdoctoral fellowship the chemistry of several peroxy radicals will be studied using an experimental set-up of laser photolysis coupled to a dectection of several radicals by cw-Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy (cw-CRDS) and Laser Induced Fluorescence (FIL). 

Programmes de recherche en lien avec le sujet : Climibio / Cappa

Financement : Climibio

Post-doctorant : Emmanuel Assaf

Direction : Christa Fitschen