Post-doc position: Fast electron and photon interaction with single molecules

Term and Location A 2 years post-doc position is available in the STEM group at the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides of Université Paris-Saclay (Orsay, France) beginning September 2022. The position is funded in the context of the european project EBEAM.

Scientific Context The coupling of relativistic electrons to matter and optical fields has opened a vast field of investigation. Indeed thanks to cutting edge electron microscopes and the development of remarkable spectroscopy concepts and tools (electron energy loss and gain spectroscopy, cathodoluminescence …), nanooptical investigations with resolutions down to the atomic and μeV resolutions are now possible. Besides remarkable achievements in the visible-UV range, including the routine nanometer scale measurement of plasmons or quantum emitters, and more recently high finesse cavities, the mid-to far IR regime has got new traction. Indeed, novel technologies allow single atom vibrational spectroscopy [Hage et al., Science 2020], strong plasmon-phonon coupling investigation at the nanoscale [Tizei et al., Nano Letters, 20, 2973 (2020)] or three-dimensional and vector mapping of phonon modes on nanoparticles surfaces [Li et al., Science 371 1364 (2021)]. Nevertheless, exploring molecular vibrational modes of individual molecules with high spatial resolution has never been done. However, we believe that this a possibility sitting around the corner thanks to the possibility of performing EEGS in a ultra-high energy resolution electron microscope.

Project description

In this 2 year post-doc project, the successful candidate will explore electron spectroscopies of molecules confined in space using a combination of EELS and EEGS in the mid to far IR. Specialized samples will be created in house, using techniques already developed at our laboratory. The project will first focus on large molecular volumes, but will aim at the individual level from the start. The stability of molecules in the tens of seconds range under electron irradiation [Tizei et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 113 185502 (2014)] shows that single molecule vibrational-spectroscopy should be feasible. Also, the development of new detection schemes using event driven detectors will undoubtedly benefit beamsensitive materials, such as molecules [Y. Auad, et al., Ultramicroscopy (2021)].

Working environment We are seeking candidate with a curious mind, a taste for experimental work, and a will to tackle a totally new field of nanospectrosopy in the competitive domain of electron-based spectroscopies. Electron microscopy and spectroscopy skills are required, and a knowledge of optical techniques will be a plus.

Profile candidate The project will be mainly experimental, and upon the applicant tastes and skills, may include instrumentation and/or theoretical development. This project is aimed at a student who is curious, likes experimentation but is also very attracted by new concepts in physics within a booming research field.

How to apply Qualified candidates should send a CV, a motivation letter, contact details of at least two references, and an estimated availability date to Mathieu Kociak and Luiz Tizei. The preferred format is a single PDF-document