Ion assisted cloud formation




Greater Copenhagen area

The nucleation of molecular clusters is estimated to contribute about half of all cloud condensation nuclei. A central molecule in nucleation is sulfuric acid H2SO4. Because of their interaction with sulfuric acid dipoles and their relative higher stability, clusters with a central hydrogen sulfate ion HSO4^{-} hereby play an important role in the process of nucleation.

The purpose of this project is to understand the microscopic properties of sulphuric acid-water (H2SO4-H2O) clusters and hydrogen sulfate ion-water (HSO4^{-}-H2O) clusters and their interaction with each other. We are seeking to understand the spatial, energy and size distribution of such clusters and especially the formation rate of large clusters, i.e. per volume and time, as a precursor for the formation of cloud condensation nuclei.

A current version of our Monte Carlo particle code is written in Python and one part of the project will be to transfer the code to a high-end programming language like Fortran or C++ in order to speed up simulations. Additionally, the numerical stability of electromagnetic forces needs to be reevaluated. Once, this is done, simulations will be performed in order to understand the influence of hydrogen sulfate ions on the formation of large clusters.

We at DTU Space, located in Lyngby, study phenomena related to various stages of cloud formation. Recently, we have started to develop a particle Monte Carlo code tracing individual H2SO4-H2O clusters and monitor their spatial and size distribution leading to the early stages of cloud formation.

If we have caught your attention, please contact or to obtain more information.

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Company / Organization

DTU Space


Christoph Köhn




Supervisor info

Msc in Earth and Space Physics and Engineering


Christoph Köhn


Martin Andreas Bødker Enghoff


MSc thesis

Technical University of Denmark

For almost two centuries DTU, Technical University of Denmark, has been dedicated to fulfilling the vision of H.C. Ørsted – the father of electromagnetism – who founded the university in 1829 to develop and create value using the natural sciences and the technical sciences to benefit society.

Today, DTU is ranked as one of the foremost technical universities in Europe, continues to set new records in the number of publications, and persistently increases and develops our partnerships with industry, and assignments accomplished by DTU’s public sector consultancy.

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Anker Engelunds Vej 1
Bygning 101A
2800 Kgs. Lyngby


Tlf. (+45) 45 25 25 25

CVR-nr. 30 06 09 46

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