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1 PhD position (ANR)

Spontaneous organization of mineral nanoparticles

The recent expansion of the field of “chimie douce” (soft chemistry) has led to a wide variety of anisotropic nanoparticles of all kinds of nature and shape (nanotubes, nanosheets, nanorods, etc.). These nanoparticles can often be dispersed in water or in organic solvents as colloidal suspensions. Quite often, these suspensions spontaneously organize in liquid-crystalline phases of different types (nematic, lamellar, columnar …).1,2 Moreover, these suspensions can also be destabilized to produce aggregates with well-defined structures.3-5 These two kinds of phenomena are very useful to manipulate and organize nanoparticles in order to obtain original physical properties. For example, by applying electric or magnetic fields, we can align anisotropic nanoparticles and even sometimes order them on a lattice.

At this moment, we have suspensions of various nanoparticles (clay and H3Sb3P2O14 nanosheets, imogolite nanotubes, CdSe and CeF3 nanoplatelets …) whose phase diagrams and original physical properties still need to be fully explored. This thesis will take place at the LPS which is a joint research unit of CNRS and University Paris-Saclay, specialized in condensed-matter physics. This PhD topic belongs to a more general project, funded by ANR, which aims at using the properties of these nanoparticles to elaborate sensors to monitor water quality.

[1] E.Paineau et al, Liquid Crystals Reviews, 1, 110 (2013).

[2] E.Paineau et al, Nature Communications, 7, 10271 (2016).

[3] B.Abécassis et al, Nanoletters, 14, 710 (2014).

[4] S.Jana et al, Angewandte Chemie, 55, 9371 (2016).

[5] S.Jana et al, Science Advances, 3, e1701483 (2017). 


Techniques: X-ray scattering in-house and at large synchrotron radiation facilities (SOLEIL, ESRF), optical and electron microscopies, UV-vis spectroscopies, classical laboratories techniques of sample elaboration.


Required profile: Good level physicist or physical chemist. This thesis in experimental physics / physical chemistry will nevertheless involve a strong collaboration with chemists and theorists.


Funding: Project funded by ANR   


Thesis advisors: Patrick Davidson, Jean-Christophe Gabriel