Noble-metal nanoparticles (NPs) and clusters are being used for a large number of applications, ranging from plasmonics to bio-labeling and -sensing, catalysis, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and a multitude of other applications. Properties depend sensitively on NP size, structure, composition, and, in particular, the environment. However, the fundamental physical understanding of intermediate-sized clusters (around 2nm) and their optical properties is still rather poor. Recent cutting-edge experiments highlight the importance of the NPs' environment.


The fascinating PhD project combines the use of quantum theory with the study of real materials that are both scientifically and technologically relevant. We will study the influence of the environment on the optical properties of clusters, mostly of gold. This field is extremely active, at the moment, with many groups studying these systems. The study will be carried out primarily based on Time-Dependent Density-Functional Theory. The work will be carried out at the CINaM, Marseille, and within a network of national (Lyon, Orsay) and international (Spain, USA) collaborations, both theoretical and experimental.


The full description of the project with literature references and contact details can be found here:



We are looking for a candidate with solid background in condensed matter physics and/or quantum chemistry, with working knowledge on computational and numerical methods. Research experience at MSc level is required, preferably in the development and/or application of ab initio modeling tools. Furthermore, the candidate should be enthusiastic about the prediction and theoretical understanding of quantum phenomena concerning light-matter interaction at the nanoscale. He/she must be interested to work within international teams.


Candidates are invited to contact H.-Ch. Weissker no later than Monday, May 18, 2020. In the application, the profile of the candidate (grades!) has a large weight. Necessary documents: motivation letter, CV with the grades (in particular during MSc), and two letters of recommendation.

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