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Reference : UMR5253-DANLAU-006
Workplace : MONTPELLIER
Date of publication : Monday, August 30, 2021
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 12 months
Expected date of employment : 22 November 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : Between 2600 et 3800 euros gross monthly salary (depending on the number of years of experience after the PhD)
Desired level of education : PhD
Experience required : 1 to 4 years
Oxygen is everywhere: it is found in the vast majority of molecules and materials, whether they are natural or synthetic. Thus, the development of tools allowing the local environment of this element to be analyzed is essential in order to understand the structure and reactivity of many systems. In particular, being able to determine the modes of binding of oxygen atoms located at the surfaces and interfaces of composite (bio)materials and functional nanomaterials remains to date a major target.
Solid state NMR spectroscopy is a potentially powerful technique for analyzing the local viscinity of atoms. However, it is poorly sensitive and still rarely used in the case of oxygen, mainly because of the very poor natural abundance of the NMR-active isotope, oxygen-17 (0.04%). To counter this issue, in Montpellier, we have recently developed new ways of enriching compounds in 17O, using mechanochemistry (https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201702251). The advantage of this approach is that it allows the straightforward labeling of a wide variety of molecules and materials, thereby opening the way to fine structural analyses on a variety of compounds (such as functionalized ZnO nanoparticles - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.0c09383), and to the elucidation of reaction mechanisms (such as those occurring between oxides during mehcanochemical reactions - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c00208 and https://chemistry-europe.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/chem.202101421).
In order to be able to elucidate the structure of complex interfaces, such as those found in calcium-carbonate based biomaterials (present for instance in shells and coral), it now appears necessary to work not only on the selective isotopic labeling of interfaces in 17O, but also on the development of new high-resolution pulse sequences to finely characterize the interfacial bonds, and on the implementation of combined experimntal/computational approaches involving DFT to describe the interfaces in detail. It is in this general context that a 12-months post-doctoral position (potentially renewable) is available at the Institut Charles Gerhardt in Montpellier, which is funded by a European ERC CoG grant.
The research to be performed will involve:
- syntheses and 17O-isotopic labeling using mechanochemistry
- structural analyses by a variety of techniques (including XRD, IR, Raman, SEM, TEM...), and especially by multinuclear solid state NMR (17O NMR in particular)
- implementation of new solid state NMR pulse sequences for 17O...X heteronuclear correlations, in order to characterize interfaces in biomaterials
- computational moleling and ab-initio calculations of NMR parameters (using for example the GIPAW method)
Moreover, the recruited post-doctoral fellow will participate to the supervision and training of the other doctoral and undergraduate students of the group, including for solid state NMR.
Candidates are expected to have received training in physical chemistry or materials chemistry, and a PhD in solid state NMR. The prior knowledge of computational modeling and methods for calculating NMR parameters and/or optimizing pulse sequences will be seen as an important asset.
More generally, the candidate needs to be highly motivated and capable of performing research in an autonomous and rigorous way. Moreover, he (she) will participate to the supervision and training of the undergraduate and graduate students involved in the project. Given the multidisciplinarity and international-context of the project, the candidate is expected to have excellent team working skills and a very good level in English. He (she) will also be involved in the dissemination of the research, through publications, webinars, and (if the context allows it) presentations at national and international conferences.
The research will be performed at the Institut Charles Gerhardt (ICGM, UMR 5253) of the University of Montpellier (https://www.icgm.fr/), within the MISOTOP research group (www.misotoplab.org). The ICGM is internationally recognised for its expertise in materials science, with an excellent research environment for the synthesis and characterization of materials. The laboratory is equipped with 3 solid state NMR instruments (300, 400 and 600 MHz spectrometers, all « wide bore »), and a very large range of MAS NMR probes (with rotor diameters ranging from 1.2 to 9.5 mm), including one probe specifically for 17O NMR experiments.
The selected candidate will interact on a day-to-day basis not only with the team of researchers, engineers, and students directly involved in the project (and notably with Drs Danielle Laurencin and Thomas-Xavier Métro), but also with scientists with whom the team has established collaborations, both nationally and internationally. Moreover, to gain in sensitivity and resolution, measurements at higher magnetic fields or using Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) will be programmed, including on the instruments of the French high-field NMR network (IR-RMN - http://www.ir-rmn.fr/).
Constraints and risks
The project is supported by the European Research Council (ERC consolidator program; MISOTOP project - www.misotoplab.org). Candidacies (including CV, motivation letter, and the names of 3 references) must be deposited using the CNRS portal (https://emploi.cnrs.fr/Offres/CDD).
The expected starting date is between November 2021 and January 2022.
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