Job Offers / Offres d'emploi

Last update: Apr 2019



CARBODERM : Carbon nanotubes for electro-stimulated transdermal-delivery of therapeutic molecules

Co-supervisors: Dr E. Flahaut (CIRIMAT), Dr M. Golzio (IPBS)

Drug-delivery through the skin is very promising and possible by passive diffusion for very small molecules but limited by the low permeability of the skin toward most active substances and transfer delays which can be very important. Electropermeabilisation is a non-invasive and reversible technique which could solve most of these problems and allow transdermal delivery. We have very recently evidenced that the incorporation of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in a polymer matrix allows to make a device which can be used simultaneously as a reservoir and an electrode for intradermal delivery while probably also limiting the risks of damage to the skin generally observed for long-term repeated delivery. CNTs are both improving electrical and mechanical properties of the nanocomposite material. The goal of the thesis is to explore the possible applications of such a device, including insulin delivery of DNA vaccination. The microstructure and surface chemical properties will need to be optimised in each case, as well as the electrostimulation conditions. The absence of accidental release of CNTs in conditions of use (electrostimulation) will also need to be demonstrated (CIRIMAT already has numerous toxicological data regarding the CNTs which will be used).

CNTs will be synthesised at the CIRIMAT (Nanocomposites and Carbon Nanotubes team), where the preparation and characterisation of the nanocomposites (polymer matrix) will also be performed, taking advantage of the know-how of the team. Electrical characterisation will be performed in collaboration with the LAPLACE in Toulouse. Finally, the optimisation of the electrostimulation parameters as well as the characterisation of the penetration depth of molecules through the skin will be performed at IPBS (Cellular Biophysics team).

The project will be organised in 3 main tasks:
(1) Preparation and characterisation of CNT-containing nanocomposites (raw or functionalised), to be used both as reservoir and electrode for electrostimulated transdermal delivery.
(2) Characterisation of both electrical and mechanical properties of the devices;
(3) Optimisation of the devices for the transdermal delivery of molecules using an ex vivo animal skin model (mouse), and even an in vivo model (mouse) if preliminary results justify it.

This interdisciplinary work will be performed in very close collaboration between our two laboratories, CIRIMAT and IPBS. The PhD grant is co-funded by the University of Toulouse and the Région Midi-Pyrénées, and will start on the 1st of October, 2018.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a strong background in materials science. Some experience of nanocomposites with CNTs would be considered very positively. No training in biology is required, but some interest for biology is required because this research topic is truly at the interface between these 2 disciplines. Interdisciplinary work between 2 laboratories belonging to different disciplines is very rewarding, but requires a strong autonomy and capacity of adaptation to rather different environments.

In order to apply, please contact Dr Emmanuel Flahaut ( and Dr Muriel Golzio ( Applications files must include a motivation letter, a detailed CV, and 2 recommendation letters.

Incomplete files will not be examined.


Download the pdf version here.



Co-supervisors: Dr M. Beaudhuin (ICGM), Dr E. Flahaut (CIRIMAT)

Keywords: Energy, Thermoelectricity, Nanocomposite, Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS), Synthesis, Characterization

Summary: This PhD project is part of an environmental and economic concern. Fossil and fissile resources for energy production being not sustainable, it is necessary to find new ways of producing and / or recovering energy. Thermoelectric materials could participate to this effort, especially in transport, by converting lost heat to electricity (Seebeck effect). Thermoelectric modules were observed to show large durability (ex: Voyager I and II probes which are still working after more than 30 years). However, the main parameters that limit their large-scale application in the temperature range 500 -900 K are their low efficiency and the use of highly toxic elements such as tellurium, lead or selenium. The aim of this project is to develop thermoelectric materials that are both efficient and environmentally friendly in the perspective of a large-scale production. To succeed, we selected silicides using abundant elements with low environmental impact and high optimization potential. Thermoelectric silicides could overcome such limitations but further efforts are needed in order to improve the efficiency of the modules.

A way to increase the thermoelectric conversion efficiency is to improve the electronic properties by decreasing the dimensionality of the system, by adding dopants or by modifying the interfaces. A decrease of the dimensionality also makes it possible to increase the phonon scattering (at the interfaces), which is favorable to a decrease of the thermal conductivity. The addition of carbon-based nano-objects could make it possible to multiply the interfaces and thus to limit the thermal conductivity, while contributing to nanostructuration during sintering.

The objectives of this project follow these guidelines and will be:
- to synthesize transition metal silicides (bulk and nano-objects); conventional or original synthesis techniques will be used (crystal growth, mechanical milling/alloying…).
- to prepare nanocomposites with different mixing methods,
- to sinter the nanocomposites and to control the nanostructure (Spark Plasma Sintering),
- to characterize the alloys chemically, structurally (XRD), microstructurally (SEM, TEM…), to characterize their electronic properties (Hall, Van der Paw, Seebeck coefficient…), their thermal properties (3 omega, laser Flash, DSC) and their lattice dynamics (Raman, IR, Neutron…).
- to build a prototype and to characterize its performances.

Candidate profile: The candidate should have a background in materials science, chemistry, physics or solid-state chemistry and a strong motivation for experiments. French language is not required and will be improved in the laboratory. However, fluent English (spoken, read, written) is mandatory for foreign candidates.
Location: The work is part of a cooperation between Montpellier and Toulouse and is funded by the Institute Carnot Chimie Balard Cirimat. It will be held at the Institute Charles Gerhardt Montpellier (ICGM) with chemists, physicists and metallurgists and at the Centre Inter-universitaire de Recherche et d'Ingénierie des Matériaux (CIRIMAT) in Toulouse.

Dr. Mickael Beaudhuin:, +33 467 144 129
Dr. Emmanuel Flahaut:, +33 561 556 970
To apply: Send your resume, cover and recommendation letter (or references) to before 2018, May 30th



Download the pdf version here.