PhD Fellowhip – Phononic Engineering Converters

Project title

“Phononic Engineering Converters”

We seek a candidate to be employed as a PhD student within the SMART department at ISEN. The candidate will be hired in the frame of the project “UPTEG” (ERC Starting Grant). His activities will take place in the IEMN Lab in the “Silicon Microelectronics Group”. The PhD research project involves the study of silicon nano-membranes with artificially induced thermal properties. The primary goal is to fabricate, characterize and report on the performance of nano-patterned membranes in the context of thermoelectric generation. A secondary objective is to study the impact of the membrane structure on thermal phonons propagation.

Candidate’s profile

The candidate should have a BSc´s and Master’s degree in Physics, Material Science, Engineering or relevant studies. Excellent communication skills are essential while proficiency in spoken and written English is compulsory.

We offer

  • Kind of contract: Full time Predoctoral contract (3 years)
  • Salary: 23650 € Annual gross
  • Innovative work environment and scientific excellence

Starting date

October 2016

Contact – Application

Jean-François ROBILLARD –


Societal, environmental and technological concerns raised by energy production stimulate research efforts toward reliable, safe and abundant energy sources. Thermoelectricity, the conversion of a heat flux into electric power, fulfils these criteria. However, its poor efficiency restrain its use to small markets. Improving these performances requires obtaining materials properties such as: a large Seebeck coefficient which is the basic conversion phenomenon, good electrical conductivity for charge transport and a large thermal resistivity in order to achieve a thermal gradient. It has recently been proved that an artificial nanoscale periodic patterning, also known as phononic crystal, is able to dramatically decrease the lattice thermal conductivity in silicon membranes. Such artificial silicon structures are envisioned as alternative, efficient, thermoelectric materials. Though, numerous fundamental and technological challenges are still to be tackled such as: i) What is the role of the native oxide layer on thermal conduction ? ii) In what extent phononic crystals degrade electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient ? iii) What are the mechanical properties of the artificial material ? This PhD aims at modeling, designing and characterizing micro-integrated platforms using silicon phononic membranes to answer these questions.

Post navigation