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CALLS 2020 - 2022

Projects 2022


The PHOTONIL project aims to develop novel concepts using advanced micro and nanostructured media enabling incoherent light confinement dedicated to photocatalysis, and compatible with wide area patterning. Its two objectives will be (1) to elaborate high accuracy and specifically designed nanopatterns made of TiO2 sol gel layers over wide areas and (2) to investigate the properties of the optically functionalized photocatalysts using a dedicated high precision optical characterization in relation with photocatalytic H2 production.


The TriCOPE (Temperature Resolved Imaging from Coordination Polymers PhotoEmission) project is a collaboration between physicists from iLM and LP ENSL, and chemists from IRCELYON. Its aim is to develop a new method of temperature mapping, based on the emission spectrum of coordination polymers (Metal Organic Chalcogenolates), and to apply it to the measurement of the temperature field around crack propagation in polymer materials.


Development of a multi-pinhole cell for in situ XPS characterization (PinCell)
Today, the design and synthesis of catalysts is a major challenge to address societal and environmental issues. For this purpose, it is necessary to understand the fundamental properties of catalysts at the atomic and electronic level. Methodologies for surface characterization and analysis of electronic properties of catalysts have been developed but always far away from the real working conditions, often limited to post-mortem/ante-mortem characterization. PinCell proposes the identification of catalytically active phases under the operating conditions of the catalysts. The whole from a multi-pinhole membrane cell intended for a standard XPS setup in an approach inspired by environmental electron microscopy (ETEM-high pressure cell).


The Z-project aims to build heterostructures based on the Z-scheme working principle for water splitting applications by combining experiment and theory in different fields of chemistry, physics and engineering. Herein, the target compounds are known as van der Waals 2D layered compounds belonging to the oxy(chalcogenides) family. The electronic structures of different compositions will be explored by DFT calculations and then the promising systems will be synthesized and fully characterized in order to be used as efficient photocatalysts for sustainable and affordable hydrogen production.


Soft Glassy Materials (SGMs) are ubiquitous in major industries, i.e., foodstuff, personal care, and oil. These soft solids are made of a disordered assembly of subunits such as particles or polymers, whose interaction and volume fraction control their viscoelastic properties. An additional control parameter is provided by processing, i.e., the route followed in manufacturing or synthesizing SGMs. Indeed, there is multiple evidence in the literature that SGMs are highly sensitive to flow history, which is usually perceived as a limitation for applications and raises crucial fundamental issues about the physics at play during flow-microstructure interactions. In this project, we will experimentally determine the physical principles that govern the shear-assisted assembly of SGMs and their impact on SGMs’ viscoelastic properties. To this aim, we will use a combination of techniques, including light scattering, nanoindentation, and state-of-the-art rheometry techniques, including Orthogonal Superposition Rheology (OSR). The SGMs under study will consist of two types of gels of industrial relevance, i.e., (i) self-aggregating gels that form spontaneously due to attractive interactions between their constituents and (ii) shear-induced gels formed by irreversible flocculation of colloids via polymer bridging. The ultimate goal will be to design time-dependent flows to use shear history as a way to tune the mechanical properties of SGMs.

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.


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.

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)

Doctoral contracts awarded in 2021

Okba Mostefaoui - LMFA/IMP

Experimental study of model plastic micro-particles motion in urban hydrosystems
In the context of urban micro-plastic wastes management in sewer networks and combined storms overflows, this PhD project studies plastic micro-particles dynamics in flows typical of urban hydrosystems. In this study, model particles will be manufactured with varying properties (shape, size, density…) and placed in open channel flows in order to study their dynamic (transport, entrapment…) in different flow configurations.

Sabrina Grenda - LMI/ILM

The objective of the thesis is to develop multifunctional metal-organic molecular materials with magnetic and transport properties (electrical conductivity). The thesis project involves the synthesis of ligands of borazine type substituted by nitroxide radicals to be complexed with magnetic metal ions (3-5d or 4f). We expect these architectures to have ferri- or ferromagnetic and conduction properties by delocalization of the radical electrons on the borazine core. The compounds will be structurally characterized by X-ray diffraction and their magnetic and electrical properties will be studied with a focus on understanding the relationships with the structure of these systems.

Morgane Zimmer - INL/IMP

The objective of the thesis is to develop new eco-responsible processes adapted to industrial production for the fabrication of microfluidic systems allowing the study of spheroids. The first phase of the project involves the use of biopolymers, such as chitosan, functionalized or not, in association with other biopolymers or natural molecules, to form microstructured and sealed structures. The second phase of the project consists of providing permanent magnetisation properties to these structures by incorporating magnetic nanoparticles organised under a magnetic field. Finally, the last phase of the project will be the realisation of a microfluidic system comprising a magnetic channel allowing the selective separation of cells, and a perfused micro-culture chamber allowing the study of spheroids in a controlled environment. 

Mathias Desseaux - LMI/ILM

The objective of the thesis is to propose new experimental investigations and thermodynamic modelling for the phase equilibrium diagrams of different Magnesium - Transition Metal (Mg-X; X = Fe, Mn ...) binary systems.
First, the thesis will focus on the High Temperature (HT) study of these binary systems. In particular, the Liq-Liq miscibility gaps, which have been little studied experimentally until now.
Then, a study under High Pressure (HP) will be carried out in collaboration with the ILM through the use of the experimental park proposed by the PLECE.
Finally, the acquired experimental data will be used for a thermodynamic modelling (CALPHAD) with pressure and temperature variables.

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 2021-2022

IRCELYON - M2 Synthesis Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry (SCSC)/Master Chimie Lyon - New class of hybrid halides for optoelectronic applications

The present project supported by IMUST intend to develop new class of hybrid perovskites for photovoltaic applications. The target compounds are Halides based compounds using hallow atoms with general formula of [M(L)]3+[M’2X9]3-. Original synthesis techniques and a multi scale characterization will be performed at IRCELYON with the goal to propose new class of solar absorbers.

INL - M2 Nanoscale Engineering/3rd year (equivalent M2) Engineering School, Ecole Centrale de Lyon -What happens at the nanometrical scale at the Liquid/Solid Interface ?

The objective of the internship is to implement an Atomic Force Microscope AFM to get access to a new mode : the 3D-AFM Mode.
In this mode, the AFM tip is scanned in Z direction as well as in XY directions to image the whole 3D interfacial space in the few nanometers into the liquid. This original technique is the only one which allows to follow directly the organization of water molecules around adsorbed biological molecules or at the surface of organic layers. Somme applications in tribology and for conception of biosensors are being considered.
The candidate should have knowledges in Physics or Physico-chemistry and a strong taste fore multidisciplinary studies , instrumentation and experimenatl work . No special skills in Biology are necessary.

INL - Master 2 in Chemistry or in Nanoscale engineering 3rd year students from Ecole Centrale de Lyon (Bio-Engineering and Nanotechnoly option) - Gold-based nanoparticles for photo-induced hyperthermia on pancreatic tumor environment to facilitate the penetration of anti-cancer agents

Pancreatic cancer is a challenge for oncologists due to unfavorable prognosis and limited treatment options. Chemotherapy efficacy is weak because of the limited diffusion of cytotoxic molecules to the target cells, due to the particularly dense tumor microenvironment. In collaboration with the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), we propose to study the influence of various physical stimuli to locally alter the properties of tumor tissue and thus facilitate the penetration of anti-cancer agents. Gold-based nanoparticles (NPs) are able to produce photothermia which allows to improve for instance the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs on cancer cells, which are more sensitive to heat than healthy cells.
The Master internship student will work on this project in collaboration with 3 laboratories involved in the iMUST Labex: Institut des Nanotechnologies de Lyon (INL), Institut Lumière Matière (ILM) and Laboratoire Ampère. The student will synthesize different gold nanostructures (nanorods, core-shell) exhibiting near infrared absorption properties at INL, a spectral region in which the absorption and scattering of biological tissues is minimized. They will be studied in vitro on 2D and then 3D cell cultures (spheroids) and exposed to infrared. A device currently developed by Ampère and ILM for spheroid electroporation will be used for this purpose. It allows culture of hundreds of spheroids of similar size and shape in a microstructured hydrogel and easy medium exchange/reagent injection while avoiding spheroid handling steps. The NPs penetration and distribution in cells will be quantified by optical microscopy and correlated to the therapeutic efficiency. In particular, gold NPs will be detected through their two-photon excited photoluminescence properties using the multiphoton microscope on the Lyon NanOpTec platform.

ILM - Master 2 Nanoscale Lyon, Phelma Grenoble - Pulsed Laser Deposited microstructures for integrated optics

In this project, we want to develop new integrated micro-structure on Si substrate made by Pulsed Laser Deposition and liftoff processing. PLD is a high quality growth technique commonly used for many applications in photonics [1,2]. In PLD, an intense pulsed laser beam is focused through an optical window on a target under vacuum. If the target absorbs enough energy, the laser-material interaction leads to the formation of a plasma which can deposit on the substrate facing the target. It has the advantage that the molecules reaching the surface have an energy which can exceed the thermal energy which allows to envision lift-off processing for a fast micro-structuration. Recently, we have shown that Y2O3:Eu3+ waveguides can be made by combining PLD and liftoff processing [4]. Based on such results, we want now to develop rare earth down convertor directly integrated on top of SiN waveguides. For this internship, the candidate will be in charge of the lithography step in the NanoLyon clean room managed by the Institute of Nanoscience in Lyon (INL) and the PLD growth at the Institute Light Matter (ILM). The different growth, design and lithography parameters will be studied in order to developed the wavelength convertors in integrated circuit. The fabricated devices will be studied mainly by secondary electron-microscopies, photoluminescence and absorption measurement. This internship could be continued with a phD work.

[1] Abdellaoui N, et al.. Nanotechnology. 2015.
[2] M. Jelínek et al. Laser Phys. 2009
[4] Gassenq A, et al. Optics Express 2021.

IMP - Master 2 Chimie et Sciences des Matériaux - Nanostructuration of epoxyde networks by H-bonding block copolymers

Thanks to their outstanding properties, thermosetting polymers such as epoxy-based systems find applications in numerous industrial sectors (aeronautics, electronics…). The scope of this category of polymer materials is however hampered by their brittle character when highly crosslinked. To improve damage tolerance of thermosets with limited loss in thermomechanical properties (stiffness, Tg), polymerization-induced phase separation techniques involving rubbery materials have become popular strategies. To favor energy dissipation and restrain crack propagation in the material, the control of the morphology and the design of well-ordered nanostructures have been shown to be of paramount importance. In this context, amphiphilic block copolymers (BCP) made of one block with rubbery characteristics and a second one which remains miscible with the epoxy system in the course of the network formation (to prevent macrophase separation) constitute excellent candidates as rubber-toughening agents in epoxy-based networks. Whereas many BCP systems have been reported in epoxy-based systems¹, toughening strategies involving BCP promoting both i/ generation of phase-segregated rubbery nanodomains and ii/ (in these domains) the reversible formation of supramolecular assemblies (i.e. H-bonding groups) remain unexplored.
In this context, the main objectives of this internship will be i) to synthesize a series of well-defined BCPs with a H-bonding rubbery block and an epoxy-miscible block by RAFT polymerization, ii) to employ these BCPs to generate nanostructured epoxy thermosets with different morphologies and iii) to evaluate how (macro)molecular parameters (block copolymer composition, block copolymer content, nature and number of H-bonding motifs, morphology) impact mechanical properties (especially toughness) of the resulting polymer networks in order to optimize the properties of the thermosets.

¹a) M. A. Hillmyer, P. M. Lipic, D. A. Hajduk, K. Almdal, F. S. Bates J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1997, 119, 2749-2750. b) Rebizant, V.; Venet, A.-S.; Tournilhac, F.; Girard-Reydet, E.; Navarro, C.; Pascault, J.-P.; Leibler, L. Macromolecules 2004, 37, 8017−8027.c) S. Chen, P. Alcouffe, A. Rousseau, J-F. Gérard, F. Lortie, J. Zhu, J. Bernard. Macromolecules 2021, 37, 8017−8027.

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 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.