A phd position is open at the Institut Lumière Matière (ILM), close to Lyon, in the field of modeling of the properties of nanoparticles in water.
Nanoparticles immersed in water can be optically heated by hundredths of Kelvins on a picosecond time scale. This unique property opens the path to locally release heat in an aqueous environment, offering a host of opportunities for applications in nanomedecine [1]. Several physical phenomena play a major role in the biomedical applications of plasmonic nanoparticles, among which local overheating, generation of vapor nanobubbles [2] and emission of strong photoacoustic waves by the hot nanoparticles [2]. The photothermal properties of gold nanoparticles in water are now well characterized [3]. However, less is known regarding heterogeneous nanoparticles, although recent investigations point out the possibility to enhance heat transfer by coating gold nanoparticles with a silica layer [4].

The aim of the PhD thesis is to explore the possibility to locally enhance heat release to the environment, as well as the photoacoustic response of the nanoparticles, by considering heterogeneous nanoparticles. The recruited student will perform molecular dynamics and phase field simulations of a heterogeneous core-shell nanoparticle immersed in water, in collaboration with researchers at the INSA Lyon. He/she will quantify the local heating of the environment and the photoacoustic response of the core-shell nanoparticles . According to the student's wishes, combined analytical and simulation work may be envisaged. Overall, this PhD proposal should fit to a student interested in nanosciences, nanoscale thermal transfer, fluid dynamics at the nanoscale and statistical mechanics modeling. No prior deep knowledge of molecular dynamics neither phase field simulations is required, but motivation to run and analyze atomistic simulations using High Performance Computing Centers is compulsory. The project involves also collaborations with experts in electromagnetism at the INSA Lyon and with experimentalists at the ILM. Good communicating skills in English are therefore necessary.
To apply, please send a CV (including references) and a letter of motivation to samy.merabia@univ-lyon1.fr and thierry.biben@univ-lyon1.fr.

[1] Z. Qin and J.C. Bischof, « Thermophysical and biological responses of gold nanoparticle laser heating », Chem. Soc. Rev. 41 (2012) 1191
[2] J. Lombard, T. Biben and S. Merabia, «Threshold for vapor nanobubble generation around plasmonic nanoparticles», J. Phys. Chem. C,121 (2017) 15402; J. Lombard, J. Lam, F. Detcheverry, T. Biben and S. Merabia, “Strong and fast rising pressure waves generated by plasmonic vapor nanobubbles”, Phys. Rev. Res. 3 (2021) 023231
[3] G. Baffou, “Thermoplasmonics”, Cambridge University Press
[4] A. Alkurdi, J. Lombard, F. Detcheverry, S. Merabia, “Enhanced Heat Transfer with Metal-Dielectric Core-Shell Nanoparticles”, Phys. Rev. Appl. 13 (2020) 034036