Master theses projects

Below are topics available for Master’s thesis projects and shorter student projects at IRF. Completed projects can be found in the right menu.

Simulation of scattering characteristics of Polar Stratospheric Clouds

Simulating lidar signals is important for various kind of sensitivity studies In order to simulate realistic signals from PSCs scattering characteristics for various types of PSCs are required.

It is possible to calculate such characteristics based on measured size distributions and assumptions about particle shape.


  • Find information about measured size distributions and particle shapes from available literature.
  • Implement a loop over a given size distribution in an available programme to calculate Mueller matrix and phase function for a single particle using the T-matrix approach.
  • Calculate scattering characteristics for various size distributions and particle shape approximations.
  • Evaluate the sensitivity of scattering characteristics to various parameters of the size distribution.


  • Basic knowledge of a programming language; the code will be mostly in Fortran.
  • Some knowledge of physical processes in the atmosphere.

Contact person: Peter Voelger,

(Solar terrestrial and atmospheric research programme)

Published in March 2020

How does the proton temperature anisotropy in Venus plasma environment depend on upstream conditions?

Ion data from Venus Express have revealed proton temperature anisotropies at the dayside of the planet. The ratio between the perpendicular (to the magnetic field) and the parallel temperature is largest close to the subsolar point at the dayside.

Temperature anisotropies can give rise to different types of plasma waves and energy transfer from particles to waves. From Earth we know that the strength of such a temperature anisotropy may depend on the type of bow shock present and the Mach number.

The anisotropy may also change depending on other upstream (solar wind) parameters. In this project we use Venus Express data to study how the temperature anisotropy is affected by different parameters and what that could lead to.

Skills needed:
A genuine interest in basic science. Basic/moderate programming experience in Matlab, IDL or Python. All programs needed for the project should be written in Python.

Contact person: Gabriella Stenberg Wieser,

Starting time: Spring 2020 (earliest in December 2019)

(Solar system physics and space technology)

Published in October 2019