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 (UPR 8011) associated with the Université Paul Sabatier de Toulouse and the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA). Created in 1988, CEMES followed the previous Laboratoire d’Optique Electronique (LOE) created in 1957 by Prof. Gaston Dupouy.

CEMES is a fundamental research laboratory in solid state physics, nanosciences, molecular chemistry and materials science. Its activities cover a broad spectrum from the synthesis of (nano)materials and molecular systems to the study and modelling of their structures and physical properties (optical, mechanical, electronic and magnetic) and their integration in devices.

An important part of the laboratory’s experimental activity is dedicated to the study and manipulation of individual objects whose characteristic sizes are at the nanometric or atomic scales. Most of this experimental work is based on state-of-the-art instrumentation supported by instrumental and methodological developments in the laboratory’s fields of transmission electron microscopy, near-field microscopy and optical spectroscopy. These research and development themes integrate modelling and theoretical studies carried out at different scales within the laboratory.



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.


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.

 A complete organizational chart (in French) is available here.


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