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AMplified Optical Response in the infrared region for biodetection using MXenes (AMOR)

ABG-105497 Thesis topic
2022-05-11 Public funding alone (i.e. government, region, European, international organization research grant)
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Jeremy Mallet
Reims - Grand Est - France
AMplified Optical Response in the infrared region for biodetection using MXenes (AMOR)
  • Materials science
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Topic description

The AMOR project aims to study the potential of MXenes (a-few-atoms-thick layers of transition metal carbides, nitrides, or carbonitrides) to modify the physical properties of substrates and in particular to obtain an AMplified Optical Response in the infrared region for biodetection.

The demonstration of the original physical properties of the developed substrates will be obtained by a spectrally resolved infrared analysis. Surface-enhanced spectroscopies are optical methods that are particularly relevant today for biomedical and environmental analysis. The SEIRA technology (surface enhanced infrared absorption) has aroused growing interest for 10 years because it immediately offers significant cross sections absorption by working on the vibrational frequencies of the targets of interest. This advantage allows the SEIRA technology to have the ambition to solve some of the major challenges of trace detection requiring thresholds below the pM concentration. This growing and recent interest is closely correlated with the ability to design materials and nanomaterials offering significant tunability and signal amplification. This is at the heart of the AMOR project with a new family of 2D materials, the MXenes.

MXenes were discovered in 2011 by selective chemical attack of ternary MAX alloys in the team of Pr. Gogotsi Yury (Drexel University, Philadelphia USA). Since then, their application interests have been demonstrated in many fields, such as electrochemical energy storage (supercapacitors, batteries), resistive sensors, conductive coatings for materials under high mechanical stress. Although studies of the optical properties of MXenes are still in their infancy, early studies have shown a promising future for multiple photonic, optoelectronic and plasmonic applications. Recently studies by energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) have demonstrated that some of these 2D transition metal carbides have intense surface plasmons ranging from 0.2 to 1 eV and it is these characteristics that will be exploited in the context of this doctoral project. These resonance modes impact the physical properties of MXenes and make them promising candidates for SEIRA signal amplification. The objectives of the thesis are therefore:

(i) To achieve the synthesis and chemical or electrochemical exfoliation of promising MXenes

(Three MXenes of interest have been initially identified)

(ii) Study the infrared response of MXene surfaces using relevant tools such as a micro-FTIR, an FTIR and an infrared nanoscope unique in France. Infrared analysis must provide information on the plasmonic modes of these surfaces and allow:

- To identify the most relevant MXenes to address the problem of sensitivity in the detection of pollutants or biological analytes.

- To evaluate the physical modifications of the surfaces concerning the surface thermal conductivity and diffusivity of the substrates

In this last step, we will seek to establish the accessible sensitivity of the devices and the biomolecular detection tests will be selected according to the spectral range covered by the resonances (e.g. biotin/streptavidin association for the 1st demonstrations).

Starting date


Funding category

Public funding alone (i.e. government, region, European, international organization research grant)

Funding further details

Presentation of host institution and host laboratory

Jeremy Mallet

LRN is a strong unit with expertise in near-field instrumentation and nanotechnology, which spread out its know-how in various fields of application. The multidisciplinary nature of the team is emphasized with the presence of physicists, biochemists, biophysicists, electronics engineers and biologists. This opens up a wide range of applications, from optoelectronics to sensors and biomedical applications. Our lab’ nurtures a powerful synergy and multiplies collaborative projects with L2N at UTT.

Candidate's profile

The PhD candidate must hold a master of science degree in (engineering) physics, chemistry, chemical engineering or materials science (engineering), and show a strong interest in nanomaterials, optics, physicalchemistry and structural analysis. The degree should be obtained before the prospective starting date of October 1st, 2020. The PhD candidate should have the strong intention to finish a PhD in a 3-year timeframe.

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