Laboratoire Charles Coulomb UMR 5221 CNRS/UM2 (L2C)


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Research Internship 2023-2024 - Nanofluidics and nanomechanics with a carbon nanotube

by Christelle EVE - published on , updated on

Being the primordial solvent of life, water is essential to living organisms and to human societies. Because it is
abundant on earth, it is at the core of essential emerging technological developments, including green chemistry, blue energy harvesting and so on. The primordial role of water can be related to its structural properties that are unique in nature (hydrogen bond network and dipolar moment). Any modification of the water structure, either in the liquid or solid states, has a huge impact on its properties.
In extreme confinement situation, water can still fit into narrow channels such as carbon nanotubes (which diameter is lower than 1 nm) but at the cost of a modification of its structure. This yields structures of solid, but also structures of liquid water, that are different from the bulk [1,2], a rich phase diagram [3,4] and anomalous transport properties [5], i.e. when the laws of continuum fluid dynamics (Navier Stokes) do not hold anymore [6]. It is currently a very active research field thanks to the rapid development of new methodologies focused on the investigation of single/isolated nano-object.
Up today, most experimental studies are struggling with the problem of sensitivity. Indeed, investigating individual carbon nanotubes is a challenge, owing to their small dimensions. To tackle this issue, we propose to use nanomechanics as an ultimate tool to investigate the properties of water confined inside a suspended, individual, carbon nanotube.

[1] T. A. Pascal, W. A. Goddard and Y. Jung, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 108 (2011)
[2] E. Paineau, P.-A. Albouy, S. Rouzière, A. Orecchini, S. Rols and P. Launois, Nano Lett. 13 (2013)
[3] D. Takaiwa, I. Hatano, K. Koga and H. Tanaka, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 105 (2008)
[4] K. V. Agrawal, S. Shimizu, L. W. Drahushuk, D. Kilcoyne and M. S. Strano, Nat. Nanotechnol. 12 (2017)
[5] K. Falk, F. Sedlmeier, L. Joly, R. R. Netz and L. Bocquet, Nano Lett. 10 (2010)
[6] L. Bocquet and E. Charlaix, Chem. Soc. Rev. 39 (2010)

Scientific and technical work:
The internship aims at experimentally probing the mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes, as well as the use of such properties to investigate the physics of confined water: unique water structures under confinement, phase diagram and anomalous flow.
The project will involve the following experimental techniques: I-V pre-characterization (probe station), mechanical spectra (low-noise electronics), time-resolved frequency tracking (PID/PLL), and computer analysis tools (Python/Origin).

In this project, the student will:
  Learn and use a probe station with SMU (Source-Measure Unit)
  Learn and use a custom mechanical measurement set-up, including time resolved frequency tracking
  Analyze the experimental data by mean of software or computer language
  Synthetize the obtained results for discussing them with the consortium of researchers involved

If needed, the student may:
  Prepare new catalyst for the growth of nanotubes (chemistry steps, basic level)
  Learn and use Raman scattering to probe the properties of carbon nanotubes

This project is adapted for a student with a background in physics, applied physics, nanosciences, electrical engineering. Prior knowledge of carbon nanotube science is not necessary. The internship involves substantial experimental work, so the taste for experimental work is mandatory. Strong taste for interdisciplinary research and learning is also essential. This internship will ideally be extended into a PhD thesis

Additional information:
Length of the internship: 4 to 6 months
Starting date: flexible, to be defined with the candidate
The student will receive a grant of 500€/month
The internship can be followed by a PhD thesis (funding already secured through an ANR grant)

Advisor: Adrien Noury