Roberto Grilli

Roberto Grilli

About me


About Me


Roberto Grilli


Amelia, Italy




Grenoble, France


PhD in Chemistry


Music, Hiking, Ski, Photography, Yoga

curriculum vitae

At the interface between physics and environmental sciences, I am promoting innovative experiments, employing optical techniques, for investigating climate-geochemistry coupling at different time scales and in different media: atmosphere, ice and water.

Research Fields

Laser Spectroscopy
Optical Techniques
Trace Gas Analysis
Atmospheric Chemistry
Ice Core Sciences
Isotope Geochemistry
Dissolved Gas Analysis


PhD in Chemistry

University Of Bristol, UK

3 Years

September 2006 - August 2009

« Develop and deploy of diode laser based Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy detectors for specific VOCs. »

Chemistry Degree

University Of Perugia, Italy

5 Years

September 2000 - February 2006

Work Experience

CNRS Research Scientist

(Chargé de Recherche)
IGE, Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble - France
Since October 2015

Research Engineer

LIPhy, Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble - France

3 Year

June 2012 - September 2015

« SUBGLACIOR: in-SitU proBing of GLACier Ice for a better understanding of the Orbital Response of climate »


IGE/LIPhy, Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble - France

2 Year

February 2010 – May 2012

« Mode-locked Laser Cavity-enhanced Near UV Spectrometer for Sensitive and Quantitative Local Measurement of Atmospheric Reactive Molecules »

My Publications

ORCID Number: 0000-0001-5636-264X


R. Grilli, Birot, D., Schumacher, M., Paris, J.-D., Blouzon, C., Donval, J. P., Guyader, V., Leau, H., Giunta, T., Delmotte, M., Radulescu, V., Balan, S., Greinert, J. and Ruffine, L. « Inter-comparison of the spatial distribution of methane in the water column from seafloor emissions at two sites in the Western Black Sea, using a multi-technique approach», Front. Earth Sci., 9(July), 1–15, doi: 10.3389/feart.2021.626372 (2021).

Barbero, A., Savarino, J., Grilli, R., Blouzon, C., Picard, G., Frey, M. M., Huang, Y. and Caillon, N.: New estimation of the snow‐source on the Antarctic Plateau, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., (x), 1–38, doi:10.1029/2021JD035062 (2021).

H. Fleurbaey, R. Grilli, D. Mondelain, S. Kassi, A. Yachmenev, S. N. Yurchenko, A. Campargue « Electric-quadrupole and magnetic-dipole contributions to the ν2+ν3 band of carbon dioxide near 3.3 µm » J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf., 266, 107558, doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2021.107558 (2021).


C. Nehrbass-Ahles, J. Shin, J. Schmitt, B. Bereiter, F. Joos, A. Schilt, L. Schmidely, L. Silva, G. Teste, R. Grilli, J. Chappellaz, D. Hodell, H. Fischer, T. F. Stocker « Abrupt CO2 release to the atmosphere under glacial and early interglacial climate conditions ». Science 365(6506), 1000-1005 doi: 10.1126/science.aay8178 (2020).

A. Barbero, C. Blouzon, J. Savarino, N. Caillon, A. Dommergue, R. Grilli « A compact incoherent broadband cavity-enhanced absorption spectrometer for trace detection of nitrogen oxides, iodine oxide and glyoxal at levels below parts per billion for field applications ». Under revision in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 13(8), 4317–4331 doi: 10.5194/amt-13-4317-2020 (2020).

J. Shin, C. Nehrbass-Ahles, R. Grilli, J. Chowdhry Beeman, F. Parrenin, G. Teste, A. Landais, L. Schmidely, Silva, L., J. Schmitt, H. Fischer, T. F. Stocker, J. Chappellaz, « Millennial-scale atmospheric CO2 variations during the Marine Isotope Stage 6 period (190─135 kyr BP) ». Climate of the past doi: 10.5194/cp-16-2203-2020 (2020).

F. Bärenbold, B. Boehrer, R. Grilli, A. Mugisha, W. von Tümpling, A. Umutoni, M. Schmid, « No increasing risk of a limnic eruption at Lake Kivu: Intercomparison study reveals gas concentrations close to steady state ». PLOS ONE, 15(8), e0237836. 10.1371/journal.pone.0237836 (2020).

R. Grilli, F. Darchambeau, J. Chappellaz, A. Mugisha, J. Triest, A. Umutoni, « Continuous in situ measurement of dissolved methane in Lake Kivu using a membrane inlet laser spectrometer ». Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems, 9(1), 141–151 doi: 10.5194/gi-9-141-2020 (2020).


P. Jansson, J. Triest, R. Grilli, B. Ferré, A. Silyakova, J. Mienert, J. Chappellaz, « High-resolution under-water laser spectrometer sensing provides new insights to methane distribution at an Arctic seepage site ». Ocean Sci., 15, 1055–1069, doi: 10.5194/os-15-1055-2019 (2019).

M. Schmid, F. Bärenbold, B. Boehrer, F. Darchambeau, R. Grilli, J. Triest, W. Von Tümpling, « Intercalibration Campaign Measurements in Lake Kivu for Gas Concentration. Report prepared for the Lake Kivu Monitoring Programme (LKMP) of the Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL), Kigali, Rwanda ». [online] Available here (2019).

L. Lechevallier, R. Grilli, E. Kerstel, D. Romanini, J. Chappellaz, « Simultaneous Detection of C2H6, CH4 and d13C-CH4 Using Optical Feedback Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy in the Mid-Infrared Region: Towards Application for Dissolved Gas Measurements ». Atmos. Meas. Tech., 12, 3101–3109, doi: 10.5194/amt-12-3101-2019 (2019).


R. Grilli,J. Triest, J. Chappellaz, M. Calzas, T. Desbois, P. Jansson, C. Guillerm, B. Ferré, L. Lechevallier, V. Ledoux, D. Romanini, « Sub-Ocean: subsea dissolved methane measurements using an embedded laser spectrometer technology ». Environ. Sci. Technol. 52, 10543–10551. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06171 (2018).

L. Lechevallier, S. Vasilchenko, R. Grilli, D. Mondelain, D. Romanini, A. Campargue, « The water vapor self-continuum absorption in the infrared atmospheric windows: New laser measurements near 3.3 µm and 2.0 µm ». Atmos. Meas. Tech. 2018, 11, 2159–2171. doi: 10.5194/amt-11-2159-2018 (2018).


R. Grilli, N. Marrocco, T. Desbois, C. Guillerm, J. Triest, E. Kerstel, D. Romanini, Invited Article: « SUBGLACIOR: An optical analyzer embedded in an Antarctic ice probe for exploring the past climate », Review of Scientific Instruments, 85 (111301), 1–7. doi: 10.1063/1.4901018 (2014).

O Alemany, J. Chappellaz, J. Triest, M. Calzas, O. Cattani, J.F. Chemin, Q. Desbois, T. Desbois, R. Duphil, S. Falourd, R. Grilli, C. Guillerme, E. Kerstel, B. Laurent, E. Lefebvre, N. Marocco, O. Pascual, L. Piard, P. Possenti, D. Romanini, V. Thiebaut, R. Yamani, « The SUBGLACIOR drilling probe : concept and design », Annals of Glaciology, 55(68), 233–242. doi: 10.3189/2014AoG68A026 (2014).


A. Chadi, G. Méjean, R. Grilli, D. Romanini, « Piezoelectric mirror actuator with more than 100 kHz bandwidth using standard components », Review of Scientific Instruments, 84, 056112 doi: 10.1063/1.4807859 (2013).

R. Grilli, M. Legrand, A. Kukui, G. Méjean, S. Preunkert, D. Romanini, « First investigations of IO, BrO, and NO2 summer atmospheric levels at a coastal East Antarctic site using mode-locked cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy ». Geophysical Research Letters 40, 1-6. doi: 10.1002/grl.50154 (2013).


R. Grilli, G. Méjean, S. Kassi, I. Ventrillard, C. Abd-Alrahman, D. Romanini, « Frequency Comb Based Spectrometer for in Situ and Real Time Measurements of IO, BrO, NO2, and H2CO at pptv and ppqv Levels ». Environmental Science & Technology, 46(19), 10704–10. doi: 10.1021/es301785h(2012).

G. Méjean, R. Grilli, C. Abd-Alrahman, I. Ventrillard, S. Kassi, D. Romanini, « A transportable spectrometer for in situ and local measurements of iodine monoxide at mixing ratios in the 10−14 range ». Applied Physics Letters, 100(25), 251110. doi: 10.1063/1.4726190 (2012).

R. Grilli, G. Méjean, C. Abd-Alrahman, I. Ventrillard, S. Kassi, D. Romanini, « Cavity-enhanced multiplexed comb spectroscopy down to the photon shot noise ». Physical Review A, 85(5), 1-5 doi: 10.1103/PhysRevA.85.0518040 (2012).


R. Grilli, G. Méjean, S. Kassi, I. Ventrillard, C. Abd-Alrahman, E. Fasci , D. Romanini, « Trace measurement of BrO at the ppt level by a transportable mode-locked frequency-doubled cavity-enhanced spectrometer », Applied Physics B, doi:10.1007/s00340-011-4812-9 (2011).


P. Di Profio, R. Germani, L. Goracci, R. Grilli, M. Tiecco, G. Savelli, « Interaction between DNA and Cationic Amphiphiles: A Multi-Technique Study », Langmuir, 26 (11), 7885–7892. doi:10.1021/la9047825 (2010).

R. Grilli, L. Ciaffoni and A.J. Orr-Ewing, « Phase-shift cavity ring-down spectroscopy using mid-IR light from a difference frequency generation PPLN waveguide », Optics Letters, 35, 1383-1385. doi: 10.1364/OL.35.001383 (2010).


R. Grilli, L. Ciaffoni, G. Hancock, R. Peverall, G.A.D. Ritchie and A.J. Orr-Ewing, « Mid-IR ethane detection using difference frequency generation in a quasi-phase matched LiNbO3 waveguide », Applied Optics, 48, 5696-5703. doi: 10.1364/AO.48.005696(2009).
L. Ciaffoni, R. Grilli, G. Hancock, A.J. Orr-Ewing, R. Peverall and G.A.D. Ritchie, « 3.5 μm high-resolution gas sensing employing a LiNbO3 QPM-DFG waveguide module », Applied Physics B, 94, 517-525. doi: 10.1007/s00340-008-3291-0 (2009).


M. Pradhan, M.S.I. Aziz, R. Grilli, A.J. Orr-Ewing, « Automated system for monitoring trace C2H2 in ambient air by cavity ring-down spectroscopy combined with sample pre-concentration », Environmental Science & Technology, 42, 7354 - 7359. 18939570 (2008).

M. Pradhan, R.E. Lindley, R. Grilli, I.R. White, D. Martin, A.J. Orr-Ewing, « Trace detection of C2H2 in ambient air using continuous wave cavity ring-down spectroscopy combined with sample pre-concentration », Applied Physics B, 90, 1-9. doi: 10.1007/s00340-007-2833-1 (2008).


S. Gold, J. Eastoe, R. Grilli, D. C. Steytler, « Branched trichain sulfosuccinates as novel water in CO2 dispersants », Colloid and Polymer Science, 284, 1333–1337. doi:10.1007/s00396-006-1519-2 (2006).


J. Triest, J. Chappellaz, R. Grilli, Patent 08276-01 « System for fast and in-situ sampling of dissolved gases in the ocean » CNRS, Grenoble FRANCE 2017.

Other Publications

R. Grilli, G. Méjean, M. Legrand, S. Preunkert, D. Romanini, « First investigations of IO, BrO, and NO2 summer atmospheric levels at a coastal East Antarctic site using mode-locked cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy ». Mineralogical Magazine, 77(5) 1217 (2013).

R. Grilli, D. Mellon, J. Kim, M.S.I. Aziz, D. Hamilton, A.J. Orr-Ewing, « Applications of cw Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy to the Study of Trace Atmospheric Constituents». Lasers, Sources and Related Photonic Devices, OSA Technical Digest Series (CD), 1–3 (2010).

News Letters and White Papers

CAGE (Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate) News Letter: Jessica Green, « Sophisticated new technology successful in measuring underwater methane distribution in unprecedented detail » (OCtober 2019).

IGE News Letter: R. Grilli, « SUBOCEAN : The first attempt for continuous methane profile of the meromictic Lake Kivu in Rwanda » (April 2018).

CAGE (Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate) News Letter: Maja Sojtaric, « Arctic Ocean preparations in the hunt for the oldest ice in Antarctica » (November 2016).

Innovation Letter CNRS: J. Chappelaz, J. Triest, R. Grilli, « Subglacior : un transfert technologique réussi pour l'analyse haute résolution de gaz dissous » (March 2016).

INSU-CNRS, OSUG, INP and UJF News Letter: J. Chappelaz, J. Triest, R. Grilli, D. Romanini, « Premier déploiement réussi d'un spectromètre à amplification résonnante d'absorption pour analyser les gaz dissous dans l'océan » (July 2014).

Inspect Journal, Authors: D. McCoy and M. Arrigoni (Coherent Inc.), G. Méjean, R. Grilli, S. Kassi, D. Romanini (LIPhy) « Femtosecond laser enables ultrasensitive atmospheric sampling monitoring at a very challenging location », (November 2012).

Laser Focus Word, « SPECTROSCOPY: Femtosecond laser measures atmospheric-radical traces in Antarctica »,, (October 2012).

Coherent Inc. News Letter, « A Chameleon makes it all the way (and works) down to Antarctica », (August 2012).

Coherent Inc. White Paper, « One-Box Ultrafast Lasers: Superior Performance and Reliability», (August 2012).

INSU-CNRS News Letter: « Le surprenant pouvoir oxydant de l'atmosphère en Antarctique de l'Est », (June 2012). Contacts: S. Preunkert, M. legrand , A. Kukui, S. Bekki, and G. Ancellet.

My Research Projects

Here, my current research activities developed in the ICE3 (Carottes, Climat, Chimie) research group at the IGE in Grenoble.

Since my PhD I am developing high sensitive optical absorption techniques for measuring concentrations of key atmospheric molecules in gas phase.

The objective of my research is to employ those novel techniques for measuring atmospheric composition of the past (in the ice cores) and present (atmosphere and oceans) for better understanding climate evolution.

2012-2019 : Subglacior « The OLDEST Ice Challenge! »
Portfolio 1

The aim of the SUBGLACIOR project is to design, construct and implement a revolutionary ice drilling system able to measure geochemical signals in-situ inside icesheet. The drilling system (only 10 cm diameter) it will have an embedded optical-feedback cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OFCEAS) laser spectrometer that will measure continuously and with high resolution the concentrations of methane and the isotope ratio of water, directly during the drilling.
This unique tool will be able to drill down to 3000 m of depth within a single Antarctic field season (less than 90 days) and it will allow to identify important sites where ice older than 1 Million years can be found.
A first test campaign is scheduled for the Austral Summer of 2016/17, while "The Oldest Ice Challenge" mission will take place the following year.
This work has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC, ICE&LASERS Project), French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) funding, and BNP Paribas Foundation (SUBGLACIOR Project).

Oxidative Capacity at Polar Regions
Portfolio 2

This project started in 2009 with the development of a femtosecond instrument based of mode-lock cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (ML-CEAS) for detecting high reactive halogen oxide radicals (IO and BrO). Thanks to the broadband feature, the instrument can also measure NO2 and formaldehyde, and it has been employed in the Austral Summer 2011/12 for study the oxidative capacity of the atmosphere at Dumont D'Urville station, in the East coast of Antarctica and in winter/springtime in 2013 in the Weddell Sea to understand the role of halogenated species on the West coast at this time of the year.
In the following years, we are planning to further employ the instrument together with other transportable optical instruments, for a more complete characterization of the oxidative capacity in Antarctica on the coast as well as in the continent.
Two Incoherent Braodband instrument (IBB-CEAS) at 445 nm have been developed by the Engineer C. Blouzon for sub-ppb detection of NO2, NO (indirectly) and also IO, CHOCHO. The instruments have sucefully being deployed by the PhD student A. Barbero in Concordia station during the Austral Summer of 2018/19. The NOx level as well as the NO2/NO ratio have been measured. The analysis of the data is underprocess!

Studying Climate/Carbon Cycle Coupling
Portfolio 4

The Millennial variability of atmospheric CO2 during the MIS6 period was retrieved with unprecedent resolution and precision during the PhD Thesis of J. Shin (2015-2019). Abrupt changes in atmospheric CO2 were also identified during glacial and early interglacial in the MIS10 and MIS11 periods from the work in collaboration with the University of Bern (Nehrbass-Ahles et al. Science, 2020).

This work will now move towards the measurement of the δ13CO2 in ice-core, which would allow to study the coupling between climate and carbon cycle by looking at the isotopic variability during rapid past CO2 changes.
This will be done in the frame of the LABEX OSUG "IsoCarb" Project. The crushing system for ice core samples will be improved and automatized and fast and high precision δ13CO2 measurements on small-size air samples will be performed using a novel mid-IR optical spectrometre developped in collaboration with our collegues at the LIPhy laboratory in Grenoble.

SubOcean « Measuring dissolved gases in the ocean »
Portfolio 5

After the first test campaign in the mediterranean sea (2014), the SubOcean probe was successfully deployed in 2015 the Arctic and in 2018 at the Lake Kivu in Rwanda for measuring dissolved methane in the water.
In the frame of the ERC PoC projet OCEAN-IDs(OCEAN in-situ Isotope and Dissolved gas sensing, 2016-2017) a novel optical spectrometers for measuring methane, ethane and the 13C of CH4 was developed. The probe will be deployed for the firt time in April 2019 in the Black Sea in the frame of the project ENVRI+.

A new ANR project "SWIS" (Subsea Water Isotope Sensors: A novel tool for continuous and in-situ analysis) Started in February 2019. In SWIS project a new instrument for in-situ continuous measurement of water isotopes in the water will be developped.

My Activities

Conferences & Workshops

I am in the organization of the Atelier Spectroscopique de l'OSUG, where short daily workshops on applied spectroscopy are regularly organized.

Art & Science

In the austral summer of 2011/12, while I was on the way to Antarctical, on the french Ice Breaker "L'Astrolab" I met the lecture Christophe Brun, from the LEGI lab in Grenoble. He is also a musician, and we played music on the boath as well as at the Dumont D'Urville station, event though he was at Cap Proud d'Homme (5km away and separated by the sea ice). When we came back from the trip we decided to build a musical band that became the Bayilma Noc'. This is how this musical adventure begins. In this artistic project we wanted to keep the link with Antarctica, and with the sciences we carry on there.
In 2016 we recorded an album highly inspired to Antarctica, that we called "Stuck in the Pack". In 2019 we had the idea of creating an original Art&Science project were the paleaoclimatology meet the music. This is how the project "The Sound of the Ice" was born!
On the 13th of October 2019, we proposed for the first time this show, coupling togheter a conference on the memory of the ice (project Ice Memory), an exposition of photos (by Bruno Jourdain, IGE) from recents drilling expeditions, and the concert, during which synthetic ice cores are huged on the stage. Here, the drops of water from the melting of the ice cores falled on various objects. The vibration induced by the droplets is then amplified by piezos and microphones, and used as sound material during the show.
The project "The sound of the ice" aims to highlight the fragile and ephemeral nature of life in the face of the current climate change.

Job Opportunities

Sorry, there are not new job opportunites available at the moment. But feel free to contact me if you are interested in my research activities. I will be happy to consider your application for new upcoming job opportunities.

April 2020

Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement (IGE)
54 rue Molière, 38400 St Martin d'Hères - FRANCE
Phone: +33 (0) 4 76 82 42 66