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Actions funded in progress

Projects 2021


Nanopores are present in the biological world where they achieve many critical functions (control of the cellular osmotic pressure, sorting and reshaping of proteins, signal transduction through the membrane). They can also be generated from ultrathin membranes of different synthetic materials . This project intends follow the translocation through nanopores of synthetic polymers in order to develop an original experimental platform for their characterization at single molecule level.


Enabling fast quantum chemical methods for biomass conversion at metal/water interfaces
Molecular simulations provide detailed insight in the reactivity at solid/liquid interfaces. These interfaces are of particular importance for biomass conversion. In Fabio, we will develop density functional tight-binding (DFTB) for describing the platinum/water/organic molecule interfaces. DFTB should provide a good compromise between computational expense and accuracy when compared to density functional theory and force fields, respectively.


The main goal of the hexalight project is to understand the properties of an original and quite unknown semiconductor material: (Si)Ge in the hexagonal crystallographic phase. We want to demonstrate that its light emission efficiency makes it a serious competitor in the field of silicon photonics. To do this, we will epitaxy hexagonal (Si)Ge using wurtzite GaAs nanowires as a template, study the fundamental properties of this material and achieve lasing in a single GaAs/(Si)Ge nanowire in the telecom band.

Projects 2020


The goal of the GELLY project is to understand and control the microscopic mechanisms that govern the transition from a gel to a liquid under the effect of a mechanical or chemical stimulus. We will build a device to subject gels to light irradiation, electrochemical signal, power ultrasound or mechanical shear. We will simultaneously visualize the microscopic structure of these gels by confocal microscopy and collect information at the molecular level by spectroscopy.


The EN-CAS project aims to use the concept of redox exsolution to design innovative catalyst nanostructures. Redox exsolution consists in making metallic nanoparticles emerge from the volume of a perovskite oxide to its surface under the effect of a chemical or electrochemical reduction. Our research will focus on the emergence of Ni nanoparticles with a view to substituting noble metals in catalytic processes.


The selective functionalization of inert carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds represents a major challenge in the field of catalysis. This interdisciplinary project aims to explore a new approach for the selective activation of C-H bonds by transition metals. We propose to study the influence of a selective vibrational excitation of a C-H bond, by irradiation at a specific wavelength with an infrared laser, on the selectivity of C-H activation processes by transition metals.


The OPTO-PYRO project seeks to use nonlinear optics to trigger explosions. Through the unique collaboration of chemists and physicists, we will introduce and examine a new detonation mechanism, whereby a secondary explosive is destabilized by photo-triggered electron transfer. The mechanistic understanding of the MPA by energetic materials and decomposition is our fundamental research objective. The use of MPA for optical triggering (potentially also in the presence of nanoparticles for plasmon enhancement) would enable the replacement of primary detonating devices, using instead less sensitive materials devoid of highly toxic heavy metals.


A new Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) capable to acquire real-time multi-parametrical nanoscale measurements via a specific operating mode called “data cube*” will join the CLYM** facilities. The ultimate objective of POCOYO project is to develop and share unique knowledge in AFM operando experiments, to correlate multidimensional (mechanical, electrical, magnetic properties and chemical-structure relationships) data cubes to external stimuli.

*Functional Imaging with Higher-Dimensional Electrical Data Sets, P. De Wolf et al., Microscopy Today 26, 18 (2018)
**Consortium Lyon Saint-Etienne de Microscopie (FED 4092),

All this will be possible thanks to the support of the LABEX iMUST and the POCOYO consortium partners (INL UMR 5270, MATEIS UMR 5510, iLM UMR 5306, IMP UMR 5223, LaMCoS UMR 5259, LGEF EA 682, and the CLYM federation).

Figure. Topography (bottom), adhesion (center) and stiffness (top) simultaneously determined from a poly(ethylene) oxide thin film using PFQNM® mode from a loaned Icon Bruker microscope for tests (INL, unpublished results). Image size: (1µmx1µm)


The MASCARA project aims to acquire a modern and automated small-angle X-ray scattering experiment for the characterization at colloidal scales (1-500 nm) of nanoparticles and their assemblies. This equipment will allow the study of a wide variety of systems ranging from nanoparticle-polymer composites to catalysts and semiconductor nanoplatelets with great flexibility and ease of use.

Doctoral contracts awarded in 2020


Magnetic resonance spectroscopy can be used to detect and identify paramagnetic species and usually relies on detecting the absorption or emission of microwaves by their spins. As these spins are weakly coupled to the microwave field, its use is restricted to sufficiently concentrated samples. Using quantum circuits techniques developed in the Quantum Circuits group of the Laboratoire de Physique à l’ENS de Lyon, the detection sensitivity can be considerably improved. This allows to measure samples available only in small volumes, such as the diamagnetic molecular probes conceived by the group Chimie-BioOrganique of Laboratoire de Chimie à l’ENS de Lyon, which might lead to precious new insights in their structures and internal processes.

Pauline Bregigeon - AMPERE/ILM

The subject of the thesis consists in developing a solution enabling culture and monitoring of spheroids of controlled size and shape, easy introduction of fresh medium and reagents and subsequent electroporation inside a unique device. This involves the study of fluid transport within microstructured hydrogels and of the effects of pulsed electric fields on spheroids. These effects will be characterized by impedance spectroscopy and by confocal microscopy and the results will guide the design and fabrication of an integrated bioreactor using 3D plastronics. This device will enable the manipulation of hundreds of spheroids in parallel, thereby providing a unique tool for evaluating in vitro the efficacy of treatments based on electroporation, such as electrochemotherapy or electro-gene therapy.

Louis Combe - ILM/MATEIS

We are experimentally studying the slow shear of a compressed granular medium, where energy continually accumulates in the structure of the medium and is released by sudden and intermittent reorganizations, called avalanches. A combined approach of fracture mechanics, statistical physics and artificial intelligence will allow a better understanding of the dynamics of catastrophic avalanches.

Camille Zoude - MATEIS/CETHIL

Thermochemical energy storage in hygroscopic salts - ceramics architectured composites
Thermochemical energy storage is a promising technique for storing intermittent thermal energy (of solar origin for example). It is based on the hydration and dehydration of hygroscopic salts. However, during the cycles of use, the efficiency of the storage devices decreases, in particular because of an uncontrolled agglomeration of the salts.
This thesis project aims to propose porous ceramic matrices, able to trap very large quantities of salts while avoiding their aggolmeration, and therefore to increase the efficiency and lifespan of thermochemical energy storage systems.


Laura Vanessa Reyes Villamizar - LGPC/IRCELYON

In the framework of Biorefinery and the long-term production of raw materials from renewable resources, this project aims to design and implement a reactive distillation process for the recovery of carboxylic acids from black liquor. For this purpose, solid acid catalysts based on mixed oxides materials will be prepared, characterized and implemented in stirred tank reactors and in a lab-scale distillation column.

Innovation internships 2020-2021

LAMCOS - Master 2 of Mechanics or applied Mathematics - Towards real time topology optimization of architectured materials

Architectured materials are artificial composites possessing specific properties obtained thanks to adequate topology or morphology designs. They are given high attention in many industrial applications (aeronautic, biomedical, building, vehicles, …) thanks to their enhanced performances. Topology optimization gives a practical way to distribute the material within a design domain and thus achieve the optimized performances. Such materials can be easily manufactured using 3D printer. The high power resolution of the recent 3D printers allows to achieve billion voxels design of architectured materials opening so the possibility to develop materials with original microstructures. However, the algorithms usually used for topology optimization reach their limits when scaling with small microstructures sizes. Moreover, running many computations for parametric studies (e.g. specific case optimization) still remains a challenging issue for many engineering applications. To handle this issue, real time original strategies are combined with multiscale topology optimization. At the offline step, a database of optimized architectured materials is built, it is then called at the online step for real time and rapid topology optimization without any need to rerun the topology optimization process.

IMP - Master 2 Matériaux Innovants pour la Santé, le Transport et l'Energie - Bio Based ionic membrane

Single-ion electrolyte membranes are materials having numerous applications for energy (fuel cells, flow battery, metal-ion batteries and (super) capacitor) and environmental technologies (wastewater treatment). The most common membranes are based on perfluorosulfonated or aromatic ionomers (polymers bearing a small fraction of ionic groups), resulting into a solid material able to transport counter-ions through a complex nanostructure. Yet such materials are expensive, are not environmentally friendly due to the chemical and solvents employed for their synthesis, and their mechanical and functional properties can hardly be adjusted which strongly constrain the design of technological devices.We recently developed a new methodology to obtain ionic membranes by processing biobased materials in water. The goal of this internship is to investigate the technological potential of such approach.

LMFA - Master 1 ou Master 2 with a strong component in fluid mechanics - Stenay spreading of surfactant - covered particles on a liquid - liquid interface

The behaviour of particles trapped at a liquid-liquid interface is a complex problem, as it involves different mechanisms of grain repulsion and attraction.This exploratory project aims at studying experimentally the dynamics of spreading of grains « soiled » by various amount of surfactant at an oil-water interface. The intern will focus on measuring the radial velocity field at the surface.