Directed deposition of anisotropic quantum dots by Convective Self-Assembly

  • Experimental PhD thesis in the domain of nanotechnology
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Location: Toulouse (France), on the INSA campus

Keywords: Nanoparticles, self-assembly, material science, microscopy, nanoxerography

Scientific context
The ability to assemble nanoparticles into specific patterns is fundamental for any application which requires miniaturization in functional devices, such as sensing, plasmonics, anticounterfeiting, or micro- and nano-electronics. Moreover, in the case of anisotropic nanoparticles, there is the possibility to stack them into ordered assemblies, with advantages in terms of compactness, mechanical stability, oriented mesoscopic properties, and their enhancement provided by the uniform arrangement of these building blocks.

A suitable experimental method for particle deposition is Convective Self-Assembly (CSA). CSA involves the translation of a meniscus of colloidal suspension on a solid substrate. A combination of convective flows induced by evaporation and attractive capillary forces at the triple line between air, substrate and colloidal solution ensures accumulation of particles in this zone and assists deposition [1]. This technique allows to assemble mono- and multi-layers, 1-D and 2-D patterns of colloidal particles within a large range of sizes [2, 3]. While the assembly of particles in aqueous solution is already addressed and understood, the behavior for non-polar solvents remains unclear. In this framework, the main objective of this project will be to study the deposition by CSA of anisotropic quantum dots in non-polar solvents and in liquid crystals onto bare, functionalized and/or patterned substrates. Different kinds of quantum dots will be considered in the experiments in terms of size, shape and material.

The results could be of interest for the development of innovative applications, in collaboration with industrial partners, such as high-efficiency photoemissive devices or micro-displays for AR and VR.

Examples of 1-D (left) and 2-D (right) deposition by Convective Self-Assembly of highly photoluminescent CdSe@CdS anisotropic quantum dots. Size: 5x30x15 nm (left); 4.8x30x12 nm (right).

Job description
The candidate will work in a clean room and will have access to various microfabrication techniques (photolithography, nano-imprint lithography, laser lithography…) to create chemically, electrically and topographically functionalized surfaces and/or patterns. He/she will deposit quantum dots by CSA technique; analyze the assemblies by fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM); predict their behavior by numerical simulation (as a part of ongoing collaborations with LGC – Toulouse). All the experimental set-ups are available on site.

Required skills
The successful candidate must hold (or close to completing) a MSc in physics, physical chemistry, nanoscience, nanotechnology and/or material science. Having experience in SEM or AFM techniques is a plus; in any case, training on experimental techniques will be carried out during the project. Moreover, he/she should be dynamic, autonomous, and taking initiative. Good level of written and verbal English is required.

Interested? Please send CV, cover letter and contact for a reference letter to:
Giuseppe BONIELLO (Assistant Professor at INSA Toulouse),
Laurence RESSIER (Full Professor at INSA Toulouse),

[1] Malaquin, L., Kraus, T., Schmid, H., Delamarche, E. and Wolf, H., 2007. Controlled particle placement through convective and capillary assembly. Langmuir, 23(23), pp.11513-11521.
[2] Farcau, C., Sangeetha, N.M., Moreira, H., Viallet, B., Grisolia, J., Ciuculescu-Pradines, D. and Ressier, L., 2011. High-sensitivity strain gauge based on a single wire of gold nanoparticles fabricated by stop-and-go convective self-assembly. Acs Nano, 5(9), pp.7137-7143.
[3] Teulon, L., Hallez, Y., Raffy, S., Guerin, F., Palleau, E. and Ressier, L., 2018. Electrostatic directed assembly of colloidal microparticles assisted by convective flow. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 123(1), pp.783-790. 10.1021/acs.jpcc.8b08981