Centre d’Élaboration de Matériaux et d’Etudes Structurales (UPR 8011)

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CEMES description


Science in CEMES

The Centre d’Élaboration de Matériaux et d’Etudes Structurales (CEMES / CNRS) is a CNRS laboratory (CNRS UPR 8011) associated with the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse and the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA). Founded in 1988 CEMES  is a continuation of the Laboratoire d’Optique Electronique (LOE) created in 1957 by the professor Gaston Dupouy.

CEMES is a laboratory for fundamental research in materials science, solid state physics, molecular chemistry. The scientific activities that are developed there cover a broad spectrum ranging from synthesis of (nano) materials and molecular systems, studying and modeling their structure and their physical properties (optical, mechanical, electronic and magnetic), their integration into devices, and the manipulation of these individual objects.

Most of the experimental work developed in CEMES relies on advanced instrumentation. An important part of the activities carried out in our laboratory is the instrumental and methodological developments in the key areas of CEMES that are the transmission electron microscopy (TEM), the near-field microscopy (SPM) and optical spectroscopy.


CEMES key objectives

  1. studying structures and properties of nanomaterials and nanotructures at the atomic scale,
  2. Establishing relationships between nano and microstructures and the physical properties of various kinds of materials and nanomaterials,
  3. Inventing and developing new instruments and measurement techniques and / or methodologies for the study of these "(nano) objects" at relevant scales (spatial and temporal),
  4. Creating and developing molecular nano-machines prototypes.
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Premier microscope à effet tunnel très basse température équipé de quatre pointes : le LT- Nanoprobe (LT-UHV- 4 STM) installé au CEMES de Toulouse.


The research is developed within the seven teams :

  • PPM : Physics of Plasticity and Metallurgy
  • M3  : Multi-Scale and Multi-functional Materials
  • SINanO : Surfaces, Interfaces and NanoObjects
  • MEM : Materials and devices for Electronics and Magnetism
  • NeO : Nano-Optics and Nanomaterials for Optics
  • I3EM : In situ interferometry and instrumentation for electron microscopy
  • GNS : Nanoscience


In close synergy with the academic community, CEMES is involved in training given at the university at every level : Bachelor, Master and Doctorate.

CEMES currently hosts almost 200 people, 36 full-time CNRS researchers, 27 University professors or assistant professors, 40 engineers, technicians and administrative staff, and from 60 to 80 postdocs, PhD students and undergraduates.

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Experimental means CEMES face the challenges of manufacturing and imaging "nano- objects" as well as handling their physical properties : 5 electronic transmission microscopes devoted to chemical analysis, defect identification, atomic imaging, electron holography and in-situ studies, 5 near field microscopes (STM, low-T UHV STM, AFM-NC, SNOM), several X-ray diffractometers, including a WAXS and SAXS, a Raman spectrometer, Raman-Brillouin spectrometers, a bench measuring photoluminescence, an ultra-low energy ion implantor, 2 sputtering/deposition, a MBE and 2 FIB machines, and various materials characterization tools.


These facilities are located in units gathered in three services :

  1. Characterization service
    • Transmission electron microscopy

    • Optical Spectroscopy

    • Properties, Structure Surface and Imaging

    • Sample Preparation

  2. Atom Tech and Process service
    • Cleanroom

    • Physical Growth, UHV, Ion Implantation, near-field microscopy

    • Chemical synthesis

  3. Engineering service
  • Mechanical unit
  • Electronic unit