PhD position in ultrafast electron microscopy, Strasbourg University, France

In the framework of the new research project NANOHEATERS, funded by the Agence Nationale de Recherche (ANR), we are searching a highly motivated candidate for a thesis in ultrafast transmission electron microscopy of nanomaterials.

Metallic or oxide nanoparticles are efficient point sources of heat when irradiated with laser pulses.The particles can be used as localized heaters in medicine, solar power systems, photocatalysis or chemical separation. While plasmonic heating effects in metals are well understood, the mechanisms
of non-plasmonic heating, e.g., in oxides, are still unknown. In this project, we will study the heating effects and heat propagation at the nanoscale by applying
ultrafast electron microscopy (see https://www.ipcms.fr/en/equipe/ultrafast-transmission-electron-microscopy-utem-2/). In an in-situ experiment, laser pulses are sent onto the object, and its evolution in time is studied with ultrashort electron pulses in the electron microscope. This is a new and very
versatile technique that is only available in a few laboratories worldwide. The photothermally active particles are embedded in spin-crossover materials by our project partners. Heat release will be detected by the volume expansion of the spin-crossover material, which can be measured with high temporal resolution in the ultrafast electron microscope (see Adv. Materials 33, 2105586). Electron energy-loss spectroscopy will be used to study the electronic excitation mechanisms in
nanoparticles.

The propagation of heat from the photoactive particles will be studied by observation under laser pulses when the particles are
in solid or liquid environments. Local phase transformations can be detected in the electron microscope with high spatial and
temporal resolution.The candidate will develop techniques for specimen preparation, undertake the electron microscopy experiments and analyze the
data by applying and extending image analysis software.

Profile: Master degree in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science or related. Interest in nanoscience, materials characterization and ultrafast phenomena. Teamworking capability.

Duration: 3 years, starting in October 2022

Employer: University of Strasbourg / CNRS

Contact: Prof. Florian Banhart, florian.banhart@ipcms.unistra.fr