Master 2 Nanophysics and Nanostructures

Resp. David Ferrand,

See here for the 1st year program of Nanophysics.

The second year specialization "Nanophysics, Nanostructures" offers fundamental and applied courses on the physical properties of nanostructures and on their applications. The main motivation is to give to the students a solid background on the growth, characterization and physical studies of nanostructures. The program combines high level courses and pluridiciplinary experimental trainings in research laboratories and in clean rooms. The program consists of fundamental courses in physics completed by a large choice of elective courses covering all the different aspects of nanoscience. This academic program is completed by a full time internship in a research laboratory during 2 months in the first year and during 4 or 5 months in the second year.

Fall semester: 30 ECTS courses from september to january

Common program in nanosciences: 6 ECTS
                       Micro- Nanofabrication  (3 ECTS, see course description here)
                       Research Training (3 ETCS)

Core courses in Nanophysics: 9 ECTS
                       Physics and elaboration of nano-structures (3 ECTS)
                       Quantum nano-electronics   (3 ECTS)
                       Adhesion, friction and molecular bonding (3 ECTS)

Broadening courses: 15 ECTS to be chosen in the list below or in the general list of broadening courses
                       Quantum engineering quantum information (3 ECTS)
                       Nanophotonics and plasmonics (3 ECTS)
                       Nano-magnetism and spintronics (3 ECTS)
                       Nanostructures and energy   (3 ECTS)
                       Modelling in nanosciences (3 ECTS)
                       Complex liquids from nano to macro (3 ECTS)
                       Nano-pores and membranes technologies (3 ECTS)

Spring semester: 30 ECTS from february to june

General interest courses: 6 ETCS
            Foreign language (french for non-french speaking students):  3 ECTS
              3 ECTS among
                       Intellectual Property and Valorization  (3 ECTS)
                       Capita Selecta Lectures Series in Nanosciences (3 ECTS)
                       Other courses offered by the Service of Transverse Teachings (SET)

Master thesis: 24 ECTS.
Research project performed during a research internship of 5 months minimum.
A large choice of interships proposals are offered in Grenoble research institutes and elsewhere: INSTITUT NEEL, INAC, SPINTEC, LIPHY, LETI, LTM, LMGPESRFILL…  Examples of recent master thesis:
CEA/LETI : Near field microscopy and measure of work functions, statistical study of the electrical properties of Ox-RAM memory, optimisation and development of contacts on InP for applications in photonics and CMOS…
CEA/INAC : GaN single nanowire photodetectors, control of the spontaneous emission dynamics, atomic probe tomography…
CEA/Spintec : Quantum nanoelectronics, electric, control of magnetism for spintronics applications, study of magnetic nanoparticles…
Néel Institut: STM study of topological insulators, growth of graphene for nanoelectronics, optical spectroscopy of quantum dots inserted in nanowires, influence of the surface on the transport properties of ZnO nanowires, artificial network of nano-magnets….
LIPHY : Micro-manipulation using acoustic waves, microswimmers…

See here how to choose your master thesis.

Physics and elaboration of nano-structures - 3 ECTS


Goal: The goal of this course is to introduce the crystal growth techniques and the physics of nanostructures. Both aspects will be mostly illustrated by examples taken in field of semiconductor nanostructures. The first part will present the usual semiconductors and their alloys used as elementary building blocks of semiconductor nanostructures. The second part will be devoted on the epitaxial growth techniques. After an introduction of the basics of the epitaxial growth modes, the elastic strain will be discussed in the case of planar heteroepitaxy leading to elastic or plastic deformations. A description of the common epitaxial growth techniques will be presented. The third part will address specifically the case of nanostructures in term of growth, electronic and optical properties. The different ways to growth nanostructure from quantum wells to quantum dots will be presented, as well as the specific case of nanowire growth and selective growth. Different structural characterization techniques (transmission electron microscopy, X ray diffraction, in situ analyses, atomic probe tomography) will be introduced in this part. Concerning electronic properties, the fundamental aspects will be discussed using the envelop function formalism: calculation of 2D, 1D, 0D quantum confinement, light-matter interactions, confined excitons, selection rules, interband and inter-subband optical transitions).

Part I: Introduction to semiconductor nanostructures
Chap. 1 : Usual semiconductors used as elementary building blocks for nanostructures
Crystallographic and band structures of binary compounds and alloys
Chap. 2 : Physical properties of electron and holes closed to band extrema
Conduction band: direct and indirect band gap
Valence band: spin orbit coupling, light hole and heavy holes
Electron and hole effective masses, density of states
Part II : Epitaxial growth
Chap. 3 : Basics and growth modes.
Homoepitaxy, Vicinal surfaces, Physisorption/chemisorption
Frank-Van der Merwe growth
Ehrlich Schwöbel barrier and surface morphology
Chap. 4 : Heteroepitaxy and strain in epitaxial nanostructure
Elastic biaxial strain and critical thickness
Elastic relaxation, Stranski-Krastanow growth mode
Plastic relaxation, Misfit dislocation
Chap. 5 : Growth techniques
Molecular beam epitaxy techniques
Chemical vapor deposition techniques
Other techniques
Part. III : Growth and physical properties of semiconductor nanostructures
Chap. 6 : Growth and structural characterization of nanostructures
From epitaxial growth of quantum wells (2D) to quantum dots (0D)
Epitaxy of quantum nanowires (1D) : catalyst and catalyst-free growths
Selective growth of nanostructures
Chap. 7 : Electronic properties
Envelop function formalism, application to quantum confinement problems
Electron and hole confined levels, density of states
2D Nanostructures: quantum wells, superlattices
1D nanostructures: quantum nanowires
0D nanostructures: self assembled quantum dots, nanocrystals
Chap 8 : Optical properties
Interaction with light, light-matter Hamiltonian
Confined excitons, optical selection rules
Optical spectroscopy of nanostructures
Carriers and excitons dynamics
Interband and inter-subband transitions

Quantum nano-electronics - 3 ECTS

Goal: Introducing all the basic requirement top understand the quantum electron transport and quantum manipulation of electrons in nanostructures

2DEG, nanofabrication, how to measure a current through a mesoscopic device, Experimental conditions.
Flying electrons

  • From classical transport to mesoscopic transport
  • Quantized conductance : the effect of the confinement
  • Scattering theory : how to calculate a current flowing through a mesoscopic , general framework
  • Toy model : the quantum hall effect
  • Application of the scattering matrix theory in different examples
  • Interference in mesoscopic physics for flying electrons
  • Introduction to topological matter

Confined electrons

  • Coulomb blockade phenomena
  • Application to charge detection and NEMS detection
  • Charge manipulation, level crossing, interference experiment with artificial atoms
  • What about spin of the electron?
  • Introduction to quantum computing

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge in Quantum mechanics and in Solid state physics


Adhesion, friction, direct bonding - 3 ECTS

Goal: Nanomechanics is an important part of applied nanotechnology, This course will provide a working knowledge of nano-mechanics and nano-tribology emphasizing the role of surfaces,  interfaces, defects, roughness, and quantum effects. Nano-mechanical measurements techniques and applications in micro-electronic technologies and nano-manufactoring will be developped.

1. Overview and preliminaries.
     Surface topography ; roughness models and parameters ; measurements and characterization. 
     Surface interactions ; Van der Waals long range forces ; surface energy of solids ; adhesion work.
2. Mechanics of solid contacts
     Herz contact ; multi-asperity contacts: Greenwood-Williamson model ; elasto-plastic contact.
     Mechanics of adhesive contacts: JKR and DMT models ; capillary forces ; Derjaguin approximation
     Measuring surface and contact forces, AFM and surface force apparatus
3. Friction, lubrification, nano-tribology
     Amonton's law and Coulomb friction ;  Tabor 's model of friction.
     Static and dynamic friction , stick-slip ; Rice and Ruina law's of friction. 
     Lubrication: Stribeck curve, lubrication regimes, Reynolds equation, squeeze film lubrication
4. Mechanics of wafer direct bonding

Prerequisites: Basics in continuous medium mechanics,  thermodynamics, and elasticity

Quantum engineering quantum information - 3 ECTS

Goal: Quantum communication and information processing (QIPC) is a rapidly growing field that takes advantage of the most counter-intuitive aspects of quantum mechanics to develop new technologies. In this framework, no-cloning theorem is exploited to communicate more securely, while coherence and entanglement become resources to compute in a more efficient way than in the classical world. Moreover, approaching the quantum limits paves the road to ultra-sensitive measurements in various fields of physics such as photonics, mechanics or electrical engineering. In these various fields, the ability to beat decoherence, namely, to isolate and control quantum systems, was crucial. Technological progresses have allowed fulfilling these challenging objectives, such that quantum protocols are now investigated in various experimental setups.

This course will present an introduction to quantum information and more generally to quantum engineering, with examples taken from photonics and superconducting circuits. It will expose the mains tools and concepts of quantum technologies, for students curious about this intriguing topic, whether they envisage embarking on a PhD, or they just want to acquire a scientific background in this domain.

Content: Basics of quantum optics and light-matter interaction will be presented. General concepts relevant for quantum information, e.g. quantum bits, Bloch sphere or decoherence, will be introduced and illustrated using superconducting circuits and photonics based physical systems:
Theory : Quantum measurement theory, entanglement, decoherence, exemples of elementary quantum information protocols and quantum gates
Experimental aspects illustrated with superconducting qubits :
         Two-level systems, Bloch sphere, Rabi oscillations, Ramsey fringes, quantum limits of amplification
Experimental aspects illustrated with photonics :
         Coherent states, single photons, quantum cryptography, quantum teleportation

Prerequisites: Basic quantum mechanics

Nano-photonics and plasmonics - 3 ECTS

Goal: This lecture introduces the light-matter interaction in semiconductor microstructures and metallic nanostructures. These objects allow tailoring and localizing the field distribution and polarization even at a subwavelength scale and can be used to boost the light-matter interaction with quantum emitters (including absorption, spontaneous and stimulated emission). Amazing effects such as enhancement or inhibition of spontaneous emission, nonlinear effects down to the single photon level have been demonstated. This paves the way to new generation of optoelectronic devices like single photon sources, quantum optical gates, nanoscale optical modulators, ultrasensitive sensors, etc.

1. Basics of quantum light-matter interaction

  • Spontaneous emission (SpE) CANNOT be understood if light is described classically
  • Quantum theory of light : main results
  • SpE rate of a two-level atom in free space
  • Photon storage and confinement in a 0D cavity (definitions of Q and V for a discrete mode)
  • Introduction to basic CQED effects : strong-coupling regime, SpE rate enhancement and inhibition 

2. Dielectric optical microcavities

  • How to confine photons with dielectrics : Bragg reflectors, total internal reflection
  • Low-dimensionality photonic structures: planar cavities, wires, micropillars, WGM cavities, photonic crystals
  • Optical characterization
  • Short introduction to modelling tools
  • State-of-the-art values for (Q,V)

3. CQED with artificial atoms

  • Introduction to semiconductor quantum dots
  • Weak coupling regime : Purcell effect, SpE inhibition in photonic crystals & thin wires
  • Strong coupling regime for a single QD in a cavity

4. CQED-based opto-electronics

  • Single-mode single-photon sources
  • Microcavity lasers
  • Single-photon optical gates

5. Micro-cavity polaritons

  • Quantum well excitons 
  • Strong coupling of QW excitons and photons in planar cavities
  • Dynamics of polariton relaxation / polariton lasers
  • Bose-Einstein condensation of polaritons

6. Electrodynamics of metals: Application of Maxwell's equation in matter to the case of metals; relation between the conductivity and optical dielectric constant. Drude model of the conductivity and metals in real life.

7. Surface plasmon polaritons. Propagation at a metal/dielectric interface: dispersion relation and mode description. Extension to multilayer systems

8. Nanostructure for coupling and guiding SPPs. Review of the possible strategies for launching and guiding surface plasmon-polaritons.

9. Localized surface plasmons. Using the spherical particles, the main properties of plasmonics resonances in nanostructures will be introduced (enhancement, near-field, scattering and absorption cross sections…)

10. Optical process exaltation by plasmons. This chapter will be devoted to applications of plasmonics in sensing thank to nanoscale field localization and enhancement (SERS, PL, SHG…)

Prerequisites: Basic courses of quantum mechanics (up to time-dependent perturbation theory and Fermi’s golden rule), Maxwell’s equations, dielectric materials, wave optics

Nano-magnetism and spintronics - 3 ECTS

Goal: This lecture is an introduction to the field of nanomagnetism, also providing basic ideas in spin electronics. The continuous progress in patterning, instrumentation and simulation over the past decades has made possible the investigation of low-dimensional magnetic elements such as thin films and nanostructures. New properties arise in these due to the reduction of dimensionality and the ability to built artificial stackings. Beyond the development of fundamental knowledge, these bring new functionalities of interest for technology. Such is the case for Giant Magneto-Resistance, an effect combining together electronics and magnetism, as the resistance of a stacked device may strongly depend on the arrangement of magnetization in the sub-stacks. It was discovered in the mid 80's and led to the Nobel prize in Physics in 2007, and enters many applications such as magnetic sensors and encoders, data storage and processing, bio- and heath devices. Grenoble has played an active role in the development and magnetism from fundamentals to permanent magnets and currently spin electronics. Several large laboratories and research teams are devoted to these, with links to companies in Information/Communication technology or Health / Biology

I Setting the ground for nanomagnetism
   1 Magnetic fields and magnetic materials
   2 Units in Magnetism
   3 The various types of magnetic energy
   4 Handling dipolar interactions
   5 The Bloch domain wall
   6 Magnetometry and magnetic imaging techniques

II Magnetism and magnetic domains in low dimensions
   1 Magnetic ordering in low dimensions
   2 Magnetic anisotropy in low dimensions
   3 Domains and domain walls in thin films
   4 Domains and domain walls in nanostructures
   5 An overview of characteristic quantities

III Magnetization reversal
   1 Macrospins – The case of uniform magnetization
   2 Magnetization reversal in nanostructures
   3 Magnetization reversal in extended systems

IV Precessional dynamics of magnetization
   1 Ferromagnetic resonance and Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert equation
   2 Spin waves
   3 Precessional switching of macrospins driven by magnetic field
   4 Precessional motion of domain walls and vortices driven by a magnetic field

V Spintronics and beyond
   1 Simple views on charge transport and electronic band structures
   2 RKKY coupling
   3 Anisotropic Magneto-Resistance (AMR)
   4 Giant Magneto-Resistance (GMR)
   5 Tunneling Magneto-Resistance (TMR)
   6 Spin torque effects
   7 Coupling of magnetism with other degrees of freedom

Prerequisites: Knowledge in Electrodynamics, Statistical physics, basic mathematical skills.

Nano-structures for energy applications - 3 ECTS

Goal: This course is at the crossroad between two scientific and technological domains: energy and nanomaterials. Both domains are rich in innovations, challenges and opportunities. For instance, among other sustainable green energy technologies, solar energy is still developed to offer an alternative to fossil fuel energy, with efforts devoted to cost reduction, efficiency improvement and use of abundant materials. We will see how nanomaterials can help improving performance of devices related to energy, in very different domains (solar energy, building, energy storage…). The course will first deal with the contexts linked with energies and nano-materials. The synthesis, characterization and main properties of nanomaterials will be presented. Applications will deal with solar energy and nanomaterials, other energy production and nanomaterials, energy storage and finally nanomaterials and energy in buildings.
This course will be presented by different scientists aiming at presenting physical and chemical aspects of nanomaterials, as well as with complementary approaches such as fundamental, experimental and applied ones. In addition to basic concepts many illustrations and challenges still persisting will be briefly presented during the whole course. 

Chapter 1 : Energies and nanomaterials: generalities (3 hours)
Introduction; context and challenges dealing with energy; energy and power; production, storage, distribution (smart grids) and use of energy; some illustrations.

Chapter 2 : Nanomaterials & nanotechnologies : an introduction (6 hours)
2.1- Description of nanomaterial families; functional nanomaterials.
2.2- Introduction to synthesis, characterization, functionalization of nanomaterials; some applications and challenges.
2.3- Main physical properties of nanomaterials; some applications and challenges. 

Chapter 3 – Solar energy and nanomaterials (5 hours)
3.1 Basics of semiconductors, Basics of quantum optics and light-matter interaction, principle of a solar cell, current research (the three generations of solar cells), nanostructured transparent electrodes, inorganic photovoltaics and nanomaterials;
3.2 Emerging thin film photovoltaic: organic solar cells, perovskite solar cells, hybrid solar cells.

Chapter 4 – Other energy conversion technologies and nanomaterials (4 hours)
4.1- Chemical based energies (fossil fuels, biomass, from algae…) and nanostructures (homo- or hetero-geneous catalysers, molecular motors… );
4.2- Physical based energies (piezoelectricity, thermoelectricity, wind power…) and nanostructures (nanowires, nanostacking…).

Chapitre 5 – Energy storage (4 hours)
Why and how storing energy ? Hydroelectricity, hydrogen, electrochemical storage… Storage of energy and nanomaterials; ongoing researches and challenges.

Chapitre 6 – Nano-materials and energy in buildings (2 hours)
Physics and use of nanomaterials in devices used in buildings: lightning (LED, OLED), smart windows, energy harvesting, building insulation (very high insulators) etc…

Prerequisites: general concepts in physics and materials science

Modelling in nano-sciences - 3 ECTS

Goal: The aim of the course is to introduce the concepts, methods and tools required to model the physical properties of nanoscopic systems and their coupling to the environment. The course will be illustrated by examples in optics, transport, mechanics and magnetism and by numerical simulations (Comsol).

Content: The course will be divided into three main parts:

  • Electronic properties of nanoscopic systems: band structures of 2D layered materials, quantum confinement in semiconductors, quantum transport.
  • Finite elements methods at nanoscale: nanomechanics, nanofluidics, nanophotonics (guided modes, plasmons), nanomagnetism.
  • Dynamics of quantum systems: matrix density, master equations, open quantum systems, application to quantum optics, nanomechanics, spins dynamics.

Prerequisites: Knowledge in quantum physics, solid state physics, semiconductor physics

Complex fluids from nano to macro - 3 ECTS

Goal: Complex fluids are mixtures of different materials and fluids. Usually, we consider the coexistence between two phases: solid–liquid (like suspensions or solutions of polymers, proteins or DNA), solid–gas (like granular materials), liquid–gas (like foams) or liquid–liquid (like emulsions). Complex fluids exhibit unusual mechanical responses to applied stress or deformation. The mechanical response includes non-linear behaviors such as shear thinning or shear thickening as well as large fluctuations (elastic turbulence). The mechanical properties of complex fluids can be attributed to characteristics such as polymer unfolding, caging, or clustering on multiple length scales. The course deals mainly with two kinds of complex fluids: polymer fluids and suspensions.

1. Introduction to Complex fluids in nature and in industry
2. Conservation laws. Matter, Momentum and Energy
3. Standard flows (Poiseuille flow, Couette flow).
4. Dissipation
5. Polymer fluids

  • Non-linear fluids and shear dependent viscosity
  • Normal stresses and Weissenberg experiment
  • From nano to macro: starting from a polymer chain to macroscopic properties

6. Suspensions

  • Rheology
  • Homogenization
  • Taylor dispersion
  • Active suspension (natural and artificial nano and micro-swimmers)

Presrequisites: Basis of hydrodynamics and statistical physics

Nano-pores and membranes technologies - 3 ECTS

Goal: From the sequencing and electronic analysis of single molecules, to waste water treatment, desalinisation, or osmotic energy harvesting, , nanopores and membranes technologies are a rapidly growing area of nanosciences with increasing applications in the fields of sustainable energy, environment, and nanobiotechnologies. The aim of the course is to provide the theoretical concepts governing the transport of fluids, ions and molecules in nanochannels and confined spaces.  It will highlight the new properties and functionnalities which arise from the interplay of surface interactions in solutions,  flow and transport.

1. A general overview of nanopores and membrane technologies.
2. The basics of surface transport in fluids
     . Flow and diffusion at a nano-scale
     . Ions and molecule surface interactions in fluids
3. Coupled transport at surfaces and in nano-channels.
      Electro-osmosis, diffusio-osmosis and beyond
      Weak out-of-equilibrium limit and Onsager relations
      From nano properties to macroscopic efficiency
      Example of application: energy harvesting/conversion     
4. Non-linear and rectification effects.
     Nano-fluidic diodes, osmotic diode, and transistor.
5. Nano-pores for single molecules transport and detection
6. Membranes for fuel cells.

Prerequisites: Basics in thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and semi-conductors.