Development of a plasmonic chemical sensor


The detection of pollutants and allergen in liquid at sub-ppm level is a crucial issue to monitor the water quality. However, the detection limit of standard techniques is too high to detect traces of highly toxic pollutants. To overcome this problem, we propose the development of a new chemical sensor architecture which consists in the combination of a plasmonic substrate based on Au-Ag alloy nanoisland film and ellipsometric measurements. The interaction of these nanoislands with molecules or ions induces a significant change in the plasmon resonance which is optically detectable. Ag-Au alloys are used to take the advantage of the stability of gold and the large quality factor of the plasmon resonance of silver nanoislands. This sensor also exploits the high sensitivity of ellipsometry to detect sub-ppm of heavy metals or organic pollutants in water. This project meets the L.U.E. socioeconomic challenges control of the entire value chain of materials for the synthesis of Ag-Au nanoislands and sustainable management of natural resources and environment for the development of the associated chemical sensor.



This project is focused on the development of a chemical sensor based on the combination of ellipsometric measurements and a plasmonic sensor. The main objectives of the project will be: -Deposition by PVD of nanoisland films composed of Ag-Au alloys with a controlled size and shape by using the TUBE IJL set up to serve for in-situ and ex-situ study of the stability of nanoislands.- The functionalization of nanoislands to improve the selectivity to the target molecules. – Ellipsometric characterization of the nanoisland NPs films and development of models to determine their plasmonic properties. – Development of a cell to perform ellipsometric measurement on liquid medium.- Development and optimization of the plasmonic sensors to detect the main pollutants of water.


Scientific environment

This project fits perfectly with the themes of the impact project “Nanomaterials for sensors.” The IJL team has an expertise in the areas of synthesis by PVD, the physicochemical characterization of nanoislands while the LCP-A2MC group of IJB has a strong expertise in the modeling of optical responses of nanomaterials and ellipsometry (see Concerning technology transfer, a strong partnership with the Horiba Scientific Company exists since several years. The ellipsometric liquid cell will be developed in cooperation with Horiba Scientific. In addition, the plasmonic sensor will be proposed to the plasmonic division of Horiba Scientific. Both teams are involved in university education in setting up and management of the POM Master (Photonique et Optique pour le matériaux), and the International Erasmus Mundus Master AMASE (Advanced Materials Science and Engineering). The project will strengthen the collaboration between IJL and IJB and also our cooperation with Horiba Scientific with technology transfer opportunities. Finally, strong impact publications will be produced during this study.



PhD advisors : A. En Naciri (30% LCP-A2MC, IJB) /Y. Battie (50% LCP-A2MC, IJB), D. Horwat (20%, IJL)

Laboratory: Institut Jean Bariol and Insitut Jean Lamour (CNRS UL)

Doctoral school: SESAMES (ED 412)


How to apply

In order to prepare a PhD thesis within the Lorraine Université d’Excellence Program, the interested candidate should consult the PhD topics offered in each social and economic challenges.
These PhD thesis topics are proposed by faculty members or researchers accredited to supervise research.

Candidate application period: according to graduate school schedule

Each candidate may submit an application on up to three separate research topics.


Application analysis period by each graduate school
The graduate school reviews the applicants for a doctoral contract in the relevant disciplines. They check the level of supervision for each supervisor and the situation of trained doctors.

Each candidate will meet the laboratory director, a supervisor or a representative from the graduate school. This interview is to identify the candidate’s motivations and suitability as a candidate for the PhD project proposed by the supervisor. A recommendation will be made to the graduate school. This will summarize the strengths and/or weaknesses of the application.

PhD grants will include monthly income for the PhD student (roughly 1700 € for research only, complement can be provided for teaching missions) and environment for research in the research unit.

Please be aware that in order to offer a variety of subjects, more positions are posted here than available funding. The LUE executive committee will make the final choice on the granted funding (up to 12 positions), based on the recommendations by the doctoral schools.