Analytical Studies of Interfaces in Al Composites with Core-Shell Particles.

2-year Post-Doc

University of Lille

Personnes à contacter par le candidat

Prof. Olivier Tougait (
Dr. Matthieu Touzin (






Analytical Studies of Interfaces in Al Composites with Core-Shell Particles

PUMA is an Integrated Research Laboratory associating Framatome’s Business Unit Fuel with the academic institutions CNRS-ENSCL-CentraleLille-Lille University acting for the Mixed-Research Units, UCCS, UMET and PC2A.
PUMA aims to conduct applied research in materials science, physical metallurgy and modelling to understand the fundamental behavior of innovative metallic fuels for nuclear reactors. Our research work is carried out in the international context of evolution of the nuclear operating conditions and deployment of new facilities, requiring nuclear power plants and fuels with advanced economic and safety performance. The present project focuses on the conversion of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) fissile materials for research reactors. The research program is based on a strong international network of scientific and technological collaborations. The partnerships involve the major nuclear players, such as the HERACLES consortium (CEA, CSK-CEN, TUM, ILL, Framatome) which brings together European operators of research reactors as well as US-DOE National Labs, such as Argonne and Idhao. Our expertise leads us, among other, to examine the diffusion barrier effects and the interfaces of core-shell UMo(ZrN) particles dispersed into an Al-matrix.

Microstructural analyses of UMo(ZrN) advanced fuels

UMo alloy fissile powders, produced by atomization, are coated with a thin ZrN layer acting as a diffusion barrier to prevent the chemical interactions between the fissile particle and the aluminum matrix. Microstructural studies, including morphological and chemical characterizations are carried out at each stage of the manufacturing processes for both powders and fuel-plates. These characterizations cover various scales, from micro to nanoscale, and various systems, UMo kernels, the deposited layer (ZrN) and the UMo/ZrN/Al interfaces. The IRCL PUMA carries out the characterizations of UMo(ZrN) powders and fuel plates of the international EMPIrE and SEMPER FIDELIS irradiation experiments at the manufacturing steps. The objective is mainly to correlate the as-produced microstructures to the irradiation behaviors.

The analytical studies will be carried out using the technical facilities of the Chevreul Institute which holds 8 materials characterization platforms, namely, Electron Microscopy, X-ray Diffraction, Surface Science, NMR, Vibrational Spectroscopy, Mass spectroscopy, EPR and analytical laboratory. The Electron Microscopy platform hosts a number of state-of-the-art electron microscopes, among these a double-corrected monochromated (S)TEM Titan Themis3 60-300 equipped with a Super-X detector.
The candidate should have a PhD degree in materials science or physics. The successful candidate should have a significant background in electron microscopic and/or spectroscopic techniques (HRTEM/ STEM, EDXS, and EELS etc.) and should have applied some of them previously towards studying materials. Previous experience in studying advanced materials or nuclear materials will be an asset. Furthermore, she/he should be self-motivated, speaks fluent English and enjoys scientific teamwork.

The salary is according to University standard (ranking as associate researcher depending on the skill and experiences). The PostDoc position will be for initially 2 years. The position will be filled as soon as possible.

Please send your application (resume and cover letter) until 15 January 2020 by e-mail to Prof. Olivier Tougait ( and Dr. Matthieu Touzin (