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Nanoscience & Nanotechnology

Department or Institution involved



Electron Microscopy (S/TEM) in Quantum Structures embedded in Nanowires and other nonplanar Nanostructures for Energy Applications

Topic description
Study of the structure and chemistry at the atomic scale correlated to the physical properties at the nanoscale by advanced Electron Nanoscopy in low-dimensional semiconductor nano and quantum structures (nanowires, quantum dots and nanoparticles) for energy applications. The candidate will apply his knowledge in S/TEM and related spectroscopies (EELS, EDX,etc.) to improve the methodologies for advanced atomic resolution characterizatiopn. Application of 3D methods as electron tomography as well as in-situ optical characterization based on light spectroscopies such as cathodoluminescence will be also applied.

Project supervisor & hosting group
Prof. Jordi Arbiol, group leader of the Advanced Electron Nanoscopy Group (GAe-N) at
Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia, ICN2 will be the project Supervisor, and his group, the hosting one. As the group has a strong transversal character, the candidate will be expected to collaborate with other groups at the ICN2 and also at the International level.

Planned Secondments
Secondments at EPFL and at ER-C Jülich are planned. At EPFL for
the application of in-situ CL-spectroscopy measurements on the Solar Energy Fuel devices as well as for the use of the advanced electron microscopes placed there. The
secondments at the ER-C in Jülich will promote the advancement in-situ electronic
characterization of the nanostructures at the nanometer scale in their advanced
microscopes, allowing a direct correlation to the physical and chemical properties at the
atomic scale.

Candidate’s profile
The candidate must have experience with high skills in S/TEM and related spectroscopies (EELS, EDX,etc.). Knowledge on electron tomography as well as on light spectroscopies as cathodoluminescence will be a plus.


If you are an eligible candidate interested in applying, please do contact pr.sphere@uab.cat to get you in contact with the Hosting Group.

Department or Institution involved



Spin dynamics in two-dimensional heterostructures

Topic description
The project will be in-line with current research areas of the Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices (PEN) group at ICN2 (nanodevices.icn2.cat). Examples include spin dynamics in hybrid graphene (graphene modified by proximity of metal adatoms, particles or chalcogenides), including the spin Hall effect, proximity effects in heterostructures involving topological insulators (spin-orbit or magnetic proximity phenomena), and spin orbit-torques.

Project supervisor & hosting group
Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela, Group Leader of the PEN group, will supervise the Fellow. The PEN group, which comprises three senior researchers, three postdoctoral fellows and four PhD students, is widely recognized for the first fully electrical detection of the inverse SHE, and for its work on spin ratchets, spin transport in graphene and magnetization fluctuation research. The group currently hosts pioneers on spin pumping, magnetic tunnel magnetoresistance, and scanning probe techniques, and owns state-of-the-art equipment for the growth of two-dimensional materials and heterostructures by MBE and CVD, for device nanofabrication, and for low-noise magneto-transport measurements covering a broad range of temperatures (10 mK - 300 K), frequencies (dc to 50 GHz) and magnetic fields (up to 9 T). Prof. Valenzuela has been awarded the 2009 IUPAP Young Scientist Medal in the field of Magnetism, and currently leads a European Research Council (ERC) grant and an experimental effort within the Graphene Flagship, which is focused on spin transport. Collaborations with the ICN2 groups of A. Mugarza and S. Roche are envisioned. For more information, please refer to http://nanodevices.icn2.cat/

Planned Secondments
Depending on the candidate profile, two possible secondments will be considered:

1- Prof. Laurens Molenkamp and Dr. Charles Gould, the University of Würzburg. Prof. Molenkamp is full professor and head of both the Experimental Physics 3 chair and the MBE unit. He is internationally renowned for his work on spin Hall effect and topological insulators. Dr. Gould is a senior researcher, managing the Spintronics, novel magnetic materials and graphene research activities.

2- Dr. Laurent Vila, Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives Institut Nanosciences et Cryogénie, Grenoble. Dr. Vila has realized pioneering work on the spin Hall effect.

Candidate’s profile  
A PhD in Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics, Physics or a related field is required. The applicants must have experience in electronic-transport techniques and show motivation, independence, excellent disposition towards challenging research problems, and a good level of the English language. Experience with micro/nanofabrication techniques, such as electron-beam lithography, atomic force microscopy, UHV experiments, RF and synchrotron techniques (e.g. FMR, XMCD measurements), or electronic transport in graphene will be valued.


If you are an eligible candidate interested in applying, please do contact pr.sphere@uab.cat to get you in contact with the Hosting Group.

Department or Institution involved



Micro- and Nano-scale thermal transport

Topic description
The quest to understand how energy is generated, transformed, propagated, stored and converted in the sub-micrometre to atomic scales is motivated by the concerns of using increasingly less and less power in nanodevices, and to explore the possibility of using heat as a state variable for information processing, among others. One challenge is posed by the far-and-few-in-between traceable experimental methods to measure temperature, thermal conductivity, thermal conductance, radiative heat and convective heat. A second challenge is the operational, and therefore experimental, way to measure temperature, in the Nano scale and simultaneously highly non-linear regime, where it is probably better to refer to energy rather than temperature. A third challenge is the link at the experimental level between the description of low frequency phonon modes transporting heat and a statistical description in terms of fluctuations or entropy. Facing these challenges will help expand our ability to engineer effectively the phonon spectrum. The project aim is to assess the feasibility of using Surface Phonon Polaritons (SPPs) to transport thermal energy over distances well over 10 micrometers in solids, in particular on the surface or at an interface.
The Fellow could, for example, start by selecting semiconductor materials expected to support SPPs, compatible with the parameter values accessible with the host laboratory tools and design patterns to launch SSPs at the surface. Experimental tests would follow to compare with predictions and contrast with possible thermal management device strategies. Moreover, depending in the success of the research an extension towards metasurfaces would be an option currently open.
The prospective host group has pioneered experimental methods in thermal conductivity measurement and its research in phonons in silicon-membranes enjoys international recognition. By addressing the challenges mentioned above the P-SPHERE postdoctoral researcher will contribute to the field with cutting-edge research questions and novel, as well as state-of-the-art, experimental methods. The topic, which fall under the general name of “phononics”, is one in which citations are increasing all the time and one already recognised by the American Institute of Physics.

Project supervisor & hosting group
Prof. Dr. C M Sotomayor Torres (www.icrea.cat/Web/ScientificStaff/clivia-marfa-sotomayor-torres-422)  has successfully supervised over 20 PhD students and over 40 postdoctoral researchers, including Royal Society, Leverhulme Trust, Nuffield Foundation, Alexander Von Humboldt, Marie Curie, Juan de la Cierva, Beatriu de Pinos, CNRS and DFG postdoctoral research fellows. She will directly supervise the P-SPHERE postdoctoral Fellow with the support of the senior staff in the P2N group. Her main research field is nanophononics, focusing on phonons in confined systems, thermal transport and the interactions of photons, phonons and electrons.
The hosting group is internationally recognised as a reference group in phononics, encompassing thermal energy transport in the Nano scale, opto-mechanics, and phononic crystals. It has excellent experimental facilities and a dynamic group life, enriched by national and international collaborations. It also excels in nanofabrication methods and their dimensional and defectivity metrology. 
The research in the hosting group has been recognised recently by two awards: the Best Paper Award of the thermoelectric symposium at the E-MRS (Lille 2015) given to Ms S. Bhansali, with the Pioneer Award in Nanoimprint Lithography (2015) given to C M Sotomayor Torres, several poster awards to the students in the group and a string of key note, plenary and invited conference talks.
The group is involved in several projects, examples of which are: the Spanish CONSOLIDE project “nanoTHERM”, coordinated by C M Sotomayor Torres, the recently awarded EU FET Open project on phononic circuits (PHENOMEN), in a call with 1.4% success rate, to start in Sept 2016 coordinated by C M Sotomayor Torres. The P2N is partner in the EU NANO-RF, NEREID, QUANTIHEAT projects

Planned Secondments
The Fellow will undertake research stays totalling about 12 weeks as follows:
1) Approx. 2-month visit to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Espoo) to learn advanced electrical and magneto-transport characterisation methods of device-like nanomembranes and nanowires supporting SSPs (Nanoelectronics group, Prof Jouni Ahopelto).
2) Approx. a 2-months visit to KTH The Royal Institute of Technology to carry out complementary near and far-field radiative heat measurements of nanodevices, eg, quantum cascade lasers and high power transistors (Materials and Nanophysics Dept, Prof Sebastian Lourdudoss).
3) Approx. a 1-month visit to the Group of Prof Asegun Henry, Georgia Tech, USA, to learn the use of codes to simulate thermal transport in the Nano scale.

Candidate’s profile  
The candidate should be a solid-state physicist with a PhD degree in thermal transport and experience in at least two thermal measurement techniques. S/he should have refereed publications in the field, presentation skills demonstrated at international conferences, initiative and self-motivation. The candidate must be willing to travel and to participate in international-level research.
Abilities, skills: While the candidate must be able to work independently, team work will be an essential feature of the research at hand. The applicant must have an excellent command of written and spoken English, presentation and organisational skills, be strict in documenting the research and ability to write research papers of a quality suitable for publication in suitably high impact journals.


If you are an eligible candidate interested in applying, please do contact pr.sphere@uab.cat to get you in contact with the Hosting Group.