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(filled) SiC microelectrode arrays for ex-vivo characterization

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Start date : 01/02/2021

offer n° IMEPLAHC-CMNE-11-20-2020

                           MSc subject
SiC microelectrode arrays for ex-vivo characterization



Thesis background :
Nervous system damage and disorders come in a variety of forms and rarely heal over time. Millions of individuals  worldwide suffer from physical disabilities that are a direct result of damage to their central nervous system (CNS);  thousands more have lost limbs due to wartime violence and have suffered damage to their peripheral nervous system (PNS). In addition, neurodegenerative diseases and conditions, such as Alzheimer, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, depression, and schizophrenia, are affecting a growing number of individuals globally. The brain machine interface (BMI) or neurointerface technology also known as the brain-computer interface (BCI) shows great promise to be able to provide therapeutics for these types of injuries [1].

In the field of BMI devices, researchers are not still able to produce clinically viable solutions that meet the requirements of long-term operation due to biological, material, and mechanical issues. Most of the issues are due to biotic and abiotic sources related to the employed materials for BMI fabrication. Biotic mechanisms of failure are related to the brain inflammatory response to implanted system. Abiotic mechanisms correspond to the stability of the implanted system in the brain environment.

Objective :
Hereby, we propose the use of SiC as the base and single material for the fabrication of the electrodes in BMI systems. Towards this purpose microelectrode arrays (MEAs) will be fabricated for the in-vitro investigation of SiC as electrode material.

Why SiC?
Various in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that this material is suitable for use in biomedical devices [2, 3, 4].
Indeed, SiC is a semiconductor that is completely chemically inert within the physiological environment, resists oxidative corrosion and has demonstrated no appreciable toxicity [5, 6, 7].
In addition, SiC electrode probes are characterized by an excellent neural compatibility. Cubic silicon carbide (3C-SiC) is highly compatible with central nervous system (CNS) tissue in a murine mouse model [8]. In a later study [9], it has been demonstrated a robust all3C-SiC intracortical neural interface (INI) for advanced bionics and brain-machine interfaces (BMI). Similar devices based on 4H-SiC polytype exhibited better performance in terms of electrochemical response [10, 11, 12].

SiC can also address successfully abiotic issues. Silicon carbide (SiC) is extremely suitable for the fabrication of the implantable electrode incorporating all three functions: support, conductors and insulation. Indeed, SiC current technology maturity (many SiC devices are commercially available) offers this possibility. The support can be micromachined using conventional methods available to the Si industry. Doping the semiconductor into the metallic regime can create the conductors. Lastly, the insulation can be achieved by using amorphous insulating SiC.
By reducing the heterogeneity of the materials comprising microelectrode arrays, we can improve the reliability of these devices (abiotic response). Other semiconductors fall short in providing a platform for single material electrodes. In addition to the mechanical limitations of Si, its low bandgap reduces the blocking voltage and limits electrical isolation [13].
Indeed, SiC-based diodes have higher turn-off voltage (well above 1V) than Si (0.6V) warranting a small cross-talk in multi-electrode probes. Many semiconductors are toxic (aka gallium arsenide [14]), experience anodic oxidation and corrosion (diamond [15], gallium nitride[16])), or have extremely large bandgap and resistivity (boron nitride [17]).
In addition to the excellent bio- and hemocompatibility, SiC has a fracture toughness 4-5 times greater than Si as well as better buckling characteristics. Thus, SiC probes can be thinner and more compliant than the current implantable devices, which may lead to a reduced biotic response.

Workplan :
In the frame of the present thesis, the MSc                   
candidate will develop the initial stages for the
development of a new implantable electrode based
on SiC material. More precisely planar
microelectrode arrays will be fabricated and
characterized. A typical configuration for such MEA
is shown in the figure aside. The comprehensive
effort will include SiC electrode fabrication and
electrochemistry characterization.


The work will be principally performed in the IMEPLAHC in Grenoble in collaboration with the lab
MRG-FORTH in Heraklion, Greece.

The main steps of the workplan are:

  • Detailed bibliography.
  • Design of the MEA and the corresponding process steps
  • Design of the photolithography mask set
  • Optimization of technology steps (plasma etching, ohmic contacts)
  • Fabrication of the MEA
  • Electrochemical evaluation of the MEA

For further information contact:
Dr. Konstantinos Zekentes ,

References :
[1] J. P. Donoghue, “Bridging the brain to the world: a perspective on neural interface systems,” Neuron, vol. 60, pp. 511-21, Nov 6 2008.
[2] R. Yakimova, R.M. Petoral, G.R. Yazdi, C. Vahlberg, A. Lloyd Spetz, and K. Uvdal: Surface functionalization and biomedicalapplications based on SiC, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys.40, 6435–6442 (2007)
[3] S.E. Saddow, C.L. Frewin, C. Coletti, N. Schettini, E. Weeber, A. Oliveros, and M. Jarosezski: Single crystal silicon carbide: Abiocompatible and hemocompatible semiconductor for advanced bio-medical applications, Mater. Sci. Forum 679–680, 824–830 (2011).
[4] C. Coletti, M.J. Jaroszeski, A. Pallaoro, M. Hoff, S. Iannotta, andS.E. Saddow: Biocompatibility and wettability of crystalline SiCand Si surfaces. In29th Annual International Conference of theIEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Lyon, France,2007; pp. 5849–5852.17. C.L. Frewin, M. Jarosze
[5] Kordina, O. & Saddow, S. E. 2004. Silicon carbide overview. In: SADDOW, S. E. & AGARWAL, A. (eds.) Advances in
Silicon Carbide Processing and Applications. 1 ed. Boston, MA, U.S.A.: Artech House, Inc.
[6] Saddow, S. E. (ed.) 2011. Silicon Carbide Biotechnology: A Biocompatible Semiconductor for Advanced Biomedical Devices and Applications, Amsterdam: Elsevier.
[7] SiC biotechnology for advanced biomedical applications, 2013. Presentation. Directed by Saddow, S. E. University of Sao Paulo, Sao Carlos, Brasil.
[8] C.L.Frewin, C.Locke, L.Mariusso, E.J.Weeber, and S.E.Saddow, “Silicon Carbide Neural Implants: in vivo Neural Tissue Reaction,” Neural Engineering (NER), 6th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on, pp. 661 – 664, 2013.
[9] M. Gazziro et al., “Transmission of wireless neural signals through a 0.18µm CMOS low-power amplifier,” 2015 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), Milan, 2015, pp. 5094- 5097. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2015.7319537
[10] Bernardin, E., Frewin, C. L., Dey, A., Everly, R., Ul Hassan, J., Janzén, E., Pancrazio, J. & Saddow, S. E. 2016.Development of an all-SiC neuronal interface device. MRS Advances, FirstView, 1-6, and in
[11] Evans K. Bernardin, Christopher L. Frewin, Richard Everly, Joseph J. Pancrazio and Stephen E. Saddow, “3C-Silicon Carbide Intracortical Neural Interfaces”, presented in 21 Annual Meeting of North America Neuromodulation Society (NANS18)
[12] Evans K. Bernardin, Christopher L. Frewin, Richard Everly, Jawad Ul Hassan and Stephen E. Saddow, Demonstration of a Robust All-Silicon-Carbide Intracortical Neural Interface, Micromachines 2018, 9(8): 412.
[13] Park, J., Park, K.-S., Won, J.-I., Kim, K.-H., Koo, S., Kim, S.-G. & Mun, J.-K. 2017. Control of pn-junction turn-on voltage in 4H-SiC merged PiN Schottky diode. Applied Physics Letters, 110, 142103.
[14] Tanaka, A. 2004. Toxicity of indium arsenide, gallium arsenide, and aluminium gallium arsenide. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 198, 405-411.
[15] Kashiwada, T., Watanabe, T., Ootani, Y., Tateyama, Y. & Einaga, Y. 2016. A Study on Electrolytic Corrosion of BoronDoped Diamond Electrodes when Decomposing Organic Compounds. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 8, 28299-28305.
[16] Pakes, A., Skeldon, P., Thompson, G. E., Fraser, J. W., Moisa, S., Sproule, G. I., Graham, M. J. & Newcomb, S. B. 2003. Anodic oxidation of gallium nitride. Journal of Materials Science, 38, 343-349.
[17] Minghu, P., Liangbo, L., Wenzhi, L., Soo Min, K., Qing, L., Jing, K., Mildred, S. D. & Vincent, M. 2016. Modification of the electronic properties of hexagonal boron-nitride in BN/graphene vertical heterostructures. 2D Materials, 3, 045002.

  • Keywords : Engineering science, Engineering sciences, Electronics and microelectronics - Optoelectronics, FMNT, IMEP-LaHc
  • Laboratory : FMNT / IMEP-LaHc
  • CEA code : IMEPLAHC-CMNE-11-20-2020
  • Contact :
  • This Internship position has been filled. Thank you for your interest

(filled) Silicon on insulator sensor with metal deposited contacts for detection of charged nanoparticles: proof of concept of two original electrical methods: fluctuation-enhanced sensing and out-of-equilibrium body potential

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Start date : 01/02/2021

offer n° IMEPLAHC-CMNE-10-20-2020

Silicon on insulator sensor with metal deposited contacts for detection of charged nanoparticles:
 proof of concept of two original electrical methods: fluctuation-enhanced sensing and out-ofequilibrium
body potential


FMNT laboratories involved/Advisors:
IMEP-LAHC: C. Theodorou,; I. Ionica,
LMGP: Marianne Weidenhaupt,

In the wide family of bio-chemical sensors, the ISFETs (Ion Sensing Field Effect Transistors) occupy a place of honor thanks to their multiple advantages, e.g. in terms of miniaturization, sensitivity, cointegration with reading circuitry etc.1. The working principle of such a device is based on the shift of the threshold voltage of a transistor, due to the intentional addition of charges-to-be-detected in the proximity of its channel. The resulting conductivity/ drain-current modulation is then measured in (quasi)-static conditions, in which externally applied voltages are slow enough and the device is assumed at equilibrium at every measurement point.
In this context, the objective of the internship is to prove the feasibility of detection based on two original dynamic methods, exploited in a simple FET-like sensor made of silicon-on-insulator:

  1. Monitoring the evolution of out-of-equilibrium potential VB of the top semiconductor in presence of the molecules to-be-detected. The interest of measuring VB instead of drain current/conductance resides in the fact that the potential signature is very strong in the region were the drain current level is very small 2; this simplifies the measurement and can reduce the power
    consumption of the sensor.
  2. Monitoring the drain current fluctuations in time by noise measurements. This principle is based on the effects of dynamic interaction between surface traps and electrons of deposited molecules, leading to a unique characteristic noise spectrum for each sensing target3. An increased sensitivity, as well as a better selectivity, can be expected with this approach.During the internship, validation of the proposed methods will be performed thanks to simple “model” charges such as carboxylate-functionalized polystyrene latex beads deposited on the Si film surface. The interest in starting with such particles resides in the simplicity of the deposition from colloidal solutions, without any need of surface functionalization. The amount of charges can also be simply tuned by derail dilutions of the beads or mixtures of charges and uncharged beads.Requested competences:

    The internship is dealing with an interdisciplinary topic, covering a wide panel of know-hows, from the semiconductor device physics at equilibrium, in out-of-equilibrium/dynamic conditions, to electrical characterization and modeling (C. Theodorou, M. Bawedin, I. Ionica from IMEP-LAHC), to the chemistry of the particles and, later-on, bio-sensing (M. Weidenhaupt from LMGP). The candidate must have a very good background in semiconductor physics, characterization of semiconductor devices. Knowledge of concepts in bio-chemical sensing will be a plus.The candidate is expected to enjoy experimental work and development of adapted protocols. Scientific curiosity and motivation are mandatory qualities in order to take full advantage of the multidisciplinary scientific environment of this internship and to gain expertise for his/her future career.To apply send your CV to: and
    1 Bergveld, P. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 2003, 88, (1), p.1; Moser, N., IEEE Sensors Journal 2016, 16, (17), p. 6496.
    2 Benea, L., Solid-State Electronics 2018, 143, p. 69.
    3 Kish, L. B.,IEEE Trans. on Nanotechnology 2011, 10, (6), p. 1238; Rumyantsev, S., IEEE Sensors Journal 2013, 13, (8), p. 2818

  • Keywords : Engineering sciences, Electronics and microelectronics - Optoelectronics, FMNT, IMEP-LaHc, LMGP
  • Laboratory : FMNT / IMEP-LaHc / LMGP
  • CEA code : IMEPLAHC-CMNE-10-20-2020
  • Contact :
  • This Internship position has been filled. Thank you for your interest

Light Emission by Group Four Semiconductors in Vertical Optical Resonators

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Start date : 01/02/2021

offer n° 202011019

Group Four (GF) semiconductors such as silicon, germanium and their alloys are the key materials of modern technologies for the electronic data processing. However, use of this class of materials for optoelectronic applications is hindered by the indirect nature of its band gap. The recent rise of direct band gap, group four alloys of the (Si, Ge, Sn) family has considerably renewed research around GF photonics since monolithic integration of an optical gain material on full Si wafers is now achievable in the frame of CMOS compatible processes. Our group has a strong expertise in the realization of infrared GeSn laser sources made from relatively thick GeSn layers in different cavities, including microdisks, photonic crystals, or corner cube cavities, with the demonstration for instance of a significant wavelength tunability and lasing close to room temperature [1], [2].

The work proposed here is experimental and has a twofold objective.

First, the choice of the optical cavity configuration can have a deep impact on the light-matter interaction and the lasing properties, can dictate the gain medium characteristics and directly affects the light out coupling efficiency. Turning from in plane to vertical cavities, in a configuration where horizontal top and bottom dielectric mirrors ensure optical feedback on the gain medium, opens new perspectives for the integration and the type of GeSn photon sources. The candidate will first design the optical stack and fabricate the overall cavity in clean rooms (Plateforme Technologique Amont), starting from our GeSn stacks on Si wafers and using conventional techniques of physical deposition, chip bonding and etching. Optical characterization by infra red reflectivity and photoluminescence will follow. Depending on the experiments progress, integration of our current pn junction stacks into the newly designed optical cavities could lead by the end of the internship to electrically driven vertical cavity light sources.

The second objective constitutes an exploratory groundwork aiming at modifying the dimensionality of the gain medium, switching from bulk GeSn layers on Ge to GeSn quantum dots on Si. Interest in reducing the dimensionality is in particular driven by the ability to grow GeSn on high electronic barrier materials, which is not easily achievable with the traditional bulk SiGeSn/GeSn system. Combined with the discretization of the electronic states in GeSn quantum dots, doing so could lead to optical emission in the telecom range, whereas bulk GeSn is known to emit in the 2-5 μm spectral interval, thereby greatly opening the application field of GF sources. The candidate will use our molecular beam epitaxy equipment for the growth and microscopy techniques to characterize the epilayers.

Merging the two above axes could be extended in a more in depth PhD work, with, among other possibilities, the first exploratory studies on the light emission properties of Group Four quantum dots inserted or not in a cavity. The candidate will have to work in close cooperation with the members of the SiNaPS laboratory (growth, optics, clean rooms). Skills in condensed matter physics together with appreciating the experimental work are expected.
[1] Q. M. Thai et al, Appl. Phys. Lett. 113, 051104 (2018)
[2] J. Chrétien et al, ACS Photonics, 2019, 6, 10, 2462–2469


Master 2

Duration: 6 mounths

From 2021 Febuary 1st



Pheliqs –Quantum Physics and Engineering (CEA/IRIG/SPINTEC)

17 avenue  des martyrs

38054 GRENOBLE cedex 9

  • Keywords : Condensed matter physics, chemistry & nanosciences, Optics - Laser optics - Applied optics, IRIG, PHELIQS
  • Laboratory : IRIG / PHELIQS
  • CEA code : 202011019
  • Contact :

(filled) Integrated optical circuits and dielectrophoresis: Towards bacterial sensing applications

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Start date : 01/02/2021

offer n° IMEPLAHC-PHOTO-10-16-2020

Master thesis
Master Recherche / PFE
(5 to 6 month)
Integrated optical circuits and dielectrophoresis: Towards bacterial sensing applications


IMEP-LaHC is one of the leading laboratories in the field of integrated optics, and more specifically of photonics on glass. Striving for innovation, one of our goals is to fabricate integrated devices dedicated to sensing applications such as bacteria detection. Indeed, monitoring of bacterial concentration is critical in various fields such as agri-food industry or environmental monitoring.
For this aim, IMEP-LaHC develops collaborations with the Institut des Géosciences et de l’Environnement (IGE) and the Laboratoire des Microbiologies Signaux et Microenvironnement (LMSM). For these partners, the design and fabrication of a compact, reusable and portable optical sensor would be a major step for efficient and continuous in-situ measurements. Our objective is to develop an innovative solution that does not require a functionalization layer to trap the bacteria in the sensing area. We thus aim at co-integrating optical waveguides with electrodes designed for dielectrophoresis (DEP) applications1,2.
An alternative voltage is applied on metallic electrodes in order to create a non-uniform electric field. It can trap polarizable particles such as bacteria close to an optical waveguide, leading to a change of the refractive index of its superstrate.

This Master’s thesis is the continuation of a previous Master’s subject that has delt with the DEP electrode’s design and fabrication. This one is focused on the co-integration of the electrodes with a Mach-Zehnder optical interferometer and a microfluidic cavity. The aim is to provide a proof of concept of a first sensor’s design by detecting bacteria-sized latex beads as a model.

The main specifications of the subject are:

  • The realization and characterization of a device co-integrating the DEP electrodes with an optical straight waveguide.
  • The design and fabrication of a sensor’s prototype co-integrating the DEP electrodes with a Mach-Zehnder interferometer
  • A first validation of the prototype via the sensing of bacteria-sized latex beads.

To fulfill these objectives, the student will become familiar with the subject through a bibliographic research on integrated sensors dedicated to bacterial concentration and Mach-Zehnder interferometer. He/she will also be trained for various techniques of design and fabrication.
The training includes in particular:

  •  Clean room processes for the metallic deposition and integrated optics
  •  microfabrication processes for the realization of the microfluidic chamber
  •  integrated optics on glass technology (ion diffusion on glass)
  •  simulation tools dedicated to guided optics propagation
  • optical characterizations of integrated devices

This Master’s subject is a preliminary work for a future PhD subject, dealing with the integration of a full bacteria sensor3. Depending on the student’s motivation and progress, a last task could deal with the integration of the optical function in a more complex circuit or the optimization of the microfluidic chamber (fabrication process, material used…)

Elise GHIBAUDO – 04 56 52 95 31
Davide BUCCI 04 56 52 95 39
laboratoire IMEP – LaHC
MINATEC – INPG, 3 Parvis Louis Néel BP 257 38016 Grenoble Cedex 1 – France

1 L. Cui, T. Zhang and H. Morgan, J. Micromech. Microeng. 12 (2002) 7–12
2 J. Suehiro et al, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 32 (1999) 2814
3 S. Tokonami, T. Iida, Analytica Chimica Acta 988 (2017) 1-16

  • Keywords : Electronics and microelectronics - Optoelectronics, FMNT, IMEP-LaHc
  • Laboratory : FMNT / IMEP-LaHc
  • CEA code : IMEPLAHC-PHOTO-10-16-2020
  • Contact :
  • This Internship position has been filled. Thank you for your interest

(filled) Simulation, development and characterization of transducers based on piezoelectric nanowires

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Start date : 04/01/2021

offer n° IMEPLAHC-CMNE-10-12-2020

Master Student Training:
Period: first semester 2021

Simulation, development and characterization of transducers based
on piezoelectric nanowires
IMEP-LaHC / LMGP/ MINATEC / Grenoble-France

Nanotechnologies, Nanowires, Piezoelectricity, Semiconductor physics, Characterization, FEM simulation.

Very recently, the scientific community gets interested in nanowire (NW) based devices, thanks to their unique electrical and mechanical properties due to their 1D structure. These properties could be exploited advantageously for several kinds of applications, such as sensors, actuators and energy harvesting devices (Fig. 1) [1]. Moreover, the device performance is strongly affected by different parameters: NW density, dimensions, surface state and doping level, between others [2].

                    Fig. 1: Structure of a piezoelectric nanogenerator based on ZnO nanowires.

The training will mostly concentrate on the mechanical to electrical transduction using a composite material based on ZnO NWs. These nanocomposites are expected to outperform thin piezoelectric films [3][4].

The objective of this training is to develop piezoelectric nanocomposites based on ZnO NWs grown by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) [5]. This technique allows the growth of NW arrays with a high structural and optical quality over a large range of substrates including silicon. The NWs will be characterized using SEM, XRD, AFM and other conventional techniques with the aim to reveal and control the surface states in these objects. The fabricated devices will be characterized using specific test-benches.
The training has four different and correlated goals:

  1. Participate to the growth of NWs by MOCVD.
  2. Participate to the fabrication of nanocomposite on silicon.
  3. Characterize electromechanically the fabricated devices thanks to a specific test-bench.
  4. Eventually, the student could participate to the modeling of piezoelectric nanocomposites using the Finite Element Method (FEM) approach.

The achievement of these goals will allows us to better understand the underlying physics and phenomena involved and to improve the performances of the composite material for energy harvesting or sensing applications.

The student will benefit from an established collaboration framework between LMGP and IMEP-LaHC laboratories (project ANR SCENIC 2021-2024 including also C2N and GEEPS laboratories). It will be possible to continue this subject in a PhD Thesis.

References :
[1] S. Lee, R. Hinchet, Y. Lee, Y. Yang, Z.-H. Lin, G. Ardila, L. Montes, M. Mouis, Z. L. Wang, “Ultrathin Nanogenerators as Self-powered/Active Skin Sensors for Tracking Eye Ball Motion”, Adv. Funct. Mater., 24 (2014) p. 1163-1168.
[2] R. Tao, M. Mouis, G. Ardila, “Unveiling the Influence of Surface Fermi Level Pinning on the Piezoelectric Response of Semiconducting Nanowires”, Adv. Electron. Mater., 4(1), (2018) p. 1700299.
[3] R. Tao, G. Ardila L. Montes and M. Mouis, “Modeling of semiconducting piezoelectric nanowires for energy harvesting and sensing” Nano energy, 14 (2015) p.62-76.
[4] R. Tao, M. Parmar, G. Ardila, P. Oliveira, D. Marques, L. Montès, M. Mouis, “Performance of ZnO based piezo-generators under controlled compression”, Semiconductor Science and Technology, 32(6) (2017) p. 064003.
[5] Q. C. Bui, G. Ardila, E. Sarigiannidou, H. Roussel, C. Jiménez , O. Chaix-Pluchery, Y. Guerfi, F. Bassani, F. Donatini, X. Mescot, B. Salem, V. Consonni , ”Morphology Transition of ZnO from Thin Film to Nanowires on Silicon and its Correlated Enhanced Zinc Polarity Uniformity and Piezoelectric Responses”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 12(26), (2020), p. 29583-29593.

More info:
Duration: 4 to 6 months (first semester 2021)
Level: Master 2 / Engineering School
Location: IMEP-LaHC /LMGP/ Minatec / Grenoble, France
Advisors: Gustavo Ardila (
Vincent CONSONNI (

About the laboratory:
IMEP-LAHC is located in the Innovation Center Minatec in Grenoble. The main research areas concern Microelectronic devices (CMOS, SOI, …), Nanotechnologies, Photonic and RF devices. It works in close partnership with several industrial groups such as ST-Microelectronics, IBM, … and platforms such as LETI, LITEN, IMEC, Tyndall. The training will be within the group working on MicroNanoElectronic Devices / Nanostructures & Nanosystems. The trainee will have access to several technological (clean room) and characterization platforms.
LMGP / MINATEC / Grenoble
LMGP is located in the Innovation Center Minatec in Grenoble and cover activities in (nano)-materials science including their synthesis by chemical deposition and their structural characterization. The training will be within the team “Nanomaterials and Advanced Heterostructures”.

Gustavo ARDILA +33 (0)
Vincent CONSONNI +33 (0)

  • Keywords : Engineering sciences, Electronics and microelectronics - Optoelectronics, IMEP-LaHc
  • Laboratory : IMEP-LaHc
  • CEA code : IMEPLAHC-CMNE-10-12-2020
  • Contact :
  • This Internship position has been filled. Thank you for your interest
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