Sensors based on Au@Pd heterostructures for hydrogen leak detection


  • Name of the laboratory: Laboratory of Multimaterials and interfaces
  • Website:
  • Name of the supervisor: Pr. Arnaud BRIOUDE
  • University / Institution: University LYON1
  • Adress: Campus LyonTech La doua, Buld. Chevreul, 2nd floor, 6 rue vcitor Grignard, 69100 villeurbanne


Engineering matter at the nanoscale is crucial for many fields ranging from photonics and photovoltaics to thermo-electricity, or plasmonic. The nanometer is the natural length scale for phenomena that are important for engineering, like heat transport, light propagation, or current conduction. Nanoparticles have emerged as a crucial building block to control light, heat, or electrons at the nanoscale. This PhD thesis subject is related to the development of an innovative optical technique for hydrogen leak detection, so that the monitoring of plasmonic properties of Pd-based nanoparticles in presence of hydrogen is of main importance. Specifically, a metal-insulator-metal system developed for optical detection of hydrogen is taken as reference in the structure design of the selected materials. Therefore, nanoparticles with core@shell architectures will be synthesized for the targeted application.

The approach implemented in this project consisted in the following steps. Initially, the selected nanoparticles will be first synthesized by means of wet chemical routes. The size and shape of the nanoparticles will be controlled and tuned. Their optical and structural properties will be then characterized. Then, to get more insights in the mechanisms involved in the sensing processes, a study intended to better understand the interactions between hydrogen and palladium nanoparticles will be performed on a home-made device. Particularly, thermodynamic features of the palladium-hydrogen system at the nanoscale will be probed. Pressure-composition-temperature diagrams that characterize the studied interactions is our main objective. In addition, an in-situ analysis of palladium nanoparticles hydrogenation and dehydrogenation by electron energy loss spectroscopy will be also realized to evidence the successive steps in the palladium hydride formation and decomposition. Finally, the use of the synthesized nanoparticles for optical detection of hydrogen will be evaluated on optical spectroscopic devices in collaboration with Strasbourg University and others labs of the campus of LyonTech La Doua.


The candidate must be graduated in Chemistry and be motivated by an interdisciplinary work ranging from material/precursor synthesis to chemical-physical characterizations. Strong background in chemistry, and possibly some knowledge in polymers as well as autonomy, organization in work and good English knowledge are sought after. We are looking for someone who is willing to work as a team and wants to develop their scientific curiosity.

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