You are here : IMUST VERSION EN > Calls for proposal > Projects in progress

Actions funded in progress PROJETS

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)


Work completed - 2017 and 2020 Projects