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

CEMES is a fundamental research laboratory in solid state physics, nanoscience, molecular chemistry and materials science. Its activities cover a wide 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 into 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 nanoscale or atomic scale. Most of this experimental work is based on state-of-the-art instrumentation supported by instrumental and methodological developments in the laboratory’s flagship 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.

Every year in January, CEMES publishes a brochure containing the scientific highlights of the past year, which are published as they happen on our website (on the home page and here). This document also contains other information on what has marked the life of the laboratory. You will find here the pdf versions of the various brochures published in recent years.


1.Studying the structures and properties of nanomaterials and nanotructures at the atomic scale

2. Establishing relationships between nano and microstructures and physical properties of various types of materials and nanomaterials

3. Inventing and developing new measurement instruments and techniques and/or methodologies to study these (nano) objects at relevant spatial and temporal scales

4. Creating and developing prototypes of molecular nano-machines

There are seven research teams at CEMES:

  • PPM: Physics of Plasticity and Metallurgy (9 researchers)
  • M3: Multi-Scale and Multi-functional Materials (9 researchers)
  • SINanO: Surfaces, Interfaces and NanoObjects (10 researcher)
  • MEM: Materials and Devices for Electronics and Magnetism (8 researchers)
  • NeO: Nano-Optics and Nanomaterials for Optics (10 researchers)
  • I3EM: In situ interferometry and instrumentation for electron microscopy (6 researchers)
  • GNS: Nanoscience (7 researchers)

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 about 150 people. In September 2023 this included: 35 full-time CNRS researchers, 24 University professors or assistant professors, 31 engineers, technicians, and administrative staff, and 13 postdocs, 28 Ph.D. students, and many undergraduate students).


Le Centre d’Élaboration de Matériaux et d’Etudes Structurales (CEMES) est un laboratoire propre du CNRS (UPR 8011) associé à l’Université Paul Sabatier de Toulouse et à l’Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA). Créé en 1988, le CEMES a fait suite au précédent Laboratoire d’Optique Electronique (LOE) fondé en 1957 par le Prof. Gaston Dupouy.

Le CEMES est un laboratoire de recherche fondamentale en physique du solide, nanosciences, chimie moléculaire et science des matériaux. Ses activités couvrent un large spectre allant de la synthèse de (nano)matériaux et de systèmes moléculaires jusqu’à l’étude et la modélisation de leurs structures et de leurs propriétés physiques (optique, mécanique, électronique et magnétique) et leur intégration dans des dispositifs.

Une part importante de l’activité expérimentale du laboratoire est dédiée à l’étude et la manipulation d’objets individuels dont les tailles caractéristiques sont aux échelles nanométrique ou atomique. La majeure partie de ces travaux expérimentaux s’appuie sur une instrumentation de pointe soutenue par des développements instrumentaux et méthodologiques dans les domaines phares du laboratoire que sont la microscopie électronique à transmission, les microscopies à champ proche et la spectroscopie optique. Ces thématiques de recherche et de développement intègrent des modélisations et des études théoriques menées à différentes échelles au sein du laboratoire.


The CEMES experimental facilities face the challenges of fabrication and imaging of “nano-objects” as well as the manipulation of their physical properties:


Eight transmission electron microscopes (including two prototypes) dedicated to chemical analysis, defect identification, atomic imaging, electron holography, and in situ studies


Seven near-field microscopes (four-tip STM, UHV low-T STM, two AFM-NC/KPFM, Photon STM, two commercial AFM)


Three X-ray diffractometers (including a WAXS and a powder micro-diffractometer)


Four Raman spectrometers (visible, UV, TERS,… )


An ultra-low energy ion implanter, two sputtering machines, one of which with a nanoparticle source, an MBE, an RIE, different metallic, dielectric and passivation deposition machines, laser and optical lithography, and two FIBs, one of which with an electron lithography process.


optical measurement benches (photoluminescence, reflectivity, fluorescence decay, magneto-optics, …)

These facilities are located in units gathered in three services:

1. Characterization service:

a. Transmission electron microscopy, FIB, sample preparation

b. Optical Spectroscopy

c. Properties, Structure Surface and Imaging

2. Atom Tech and Process service

a. Cleanroom

b. Physical Growth, Ion Implantation

c. Chemical synthesis

d. Near-field and Ultra Vacuum

e. Near-field microscopies

3. Engineering service

a. Mechanical unit

b. Electronic unit

c. Optics of charged particles unit

Current projects and publications

0 ANR projects, 0 European projects, 0 Industrial projects, 0 LabeX NanoX projects

All CEMES publications are available on the HAL website.