Institute of Materials, Nantes


With around 200 researchers and support staff, the IMN is one of the larger public materials research centres in France. The Institute aims to develop a fundamental understanding of the science of materials and their properties from the atomic scale upwards. This allows the design, characterisation and optimisation of new materials for a diverse range of high technology applications, including next generation solar cells, fuel cells, electric car batteries, nanotechnology, smart materials, materials for microelectronics, photonic and optical materials.

Within the Institute, the Physics of Materials and Nanostructures group (PMN) brings together physicists and solid state and materials chemists to explore nanoobjects and nanocomposites via optical and vibrational spectroscopy, AFM microscopy, atomic scale modelling of physical properties, transport and magnetotransport, physical chemistry of confined environments and interfaces and exploratory synthesis – nanostructure assembly.

Nantes is a lively, growing city in West France, located just south of Brittany on the Loire River, 50 km from the Atlantic coast and 2 hours from Paris by train. The city is the sixth largest in France, and is regularly voted the most liveable place in France. In 2013 it was the European Green capital.

2 PhD positions are based at the Institute of Materials

ESR2. “Design of conjugated polymer/graphene/metal nanowires for exploring new optoelectronic behaviors”

ESR2. Daniel FunesDaniel Funes-Hernando was born in Zaragoza (Spain) where he spent most of his career (Bachelors in Chemistry, Masters in Nanomaterials). During his Masters he did an internship in Durham University carrying out a project on molecular wires. He loves science in general and considers he was born at the same time as the “Digital Era”. Although he likes practising high-intensity sports, one of his secret passions is sleeping. Another one is travelling and trying every meal he finds on his way. In spite of that he always misses the “lovely Spanish food”.
ESR3. “Atomic scale DFT simulations of pristine and functionalised graphene”

ESR3. Yuman Sayed-Ahdmad BarazaYuman Sayed-Ahmad Baraza was born in Spain, where he obtained his BSc degree (“Licenciatura”) in Chemistry from the University of Granada and Master’s Degree in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology from the University of Barcelona. He completed his master’s thesis at the Physical Chemistry Department of the University of Barcelona within the Self-Organized Complexity and Self-Assembling Materials group (SOC&SAM), which consisted in the experimental study and functionalization of interfaces formed between liquid crystals and aqueous phases for sensing applications. Apart from science, he develops activities related with visual and plastic arts and enjoys live music.

Project Supervisors at the IMN Ewels is the coordinator of “Enabling Excellence”, and a former Marie Curie laureate himself (an individual fellow and recipient of the Marie Curie Excellence Award in 2006). He is a senior researcher at the French CNRS.  His work concerns DFT atomic-scale simulations of new carbon-based nanostructures and composite nanomaterials, understanding the role of structural defects, their diffusion and aggregation, chemical functionalisation, and new nanomaterials design. Originally from the UK and now nearly 15 years in France, he never really knows who to support when the Rugby Six Nations comes round. Humbert is Professor at the University of Nantes and the head of the PMN Group.  He is specialised in Raman spectroscopy of surfaces, interfaces and nanomaterials based on carbon and TiO2. His scientific interests include improving fundamental understanding of Raman enhancement processes (SERS, TERS, …), plasmonic coupling between nanoobjects, new techniques in statistical signal analysis. Duvail is also a Professor at the University of Nantes. He develops original 1D-like nanomaterials for enhancing and/or reaching new physical behaviors and functionalities at the nanoscale. Optical, electrical and optoelectronic properties of nanowires, both individual and in arrays, are targeted. This is achieved by developing methods for controlling on a 1-100 nm scale the architecture of molecules and hybrid materials within nanowires and nanotubes (based mainly on conjugated polymers, metals and plasmonic nanostructures, carbon nanotubes, graphene and nanocomposites).

Project Manager

EPMElodie Babu is in charge of the management of the Marie Curie ITN “Enabling Excellence” and is also working for the administrative services at the IMN. Her task in Enabling Excellence is to ensure a smooth implementation of the project activities, facilitate communication between partnership and with the larger public. And, also follow the administrative and financial part of the project. By education she was a foreign languages student who specialised in European Project Management. She also spent some time abroad in the UK, Poland or the Balkans, studying or volunteering in NGOs.