Vacancies at FEMTO-ST

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AS2M :"Modeling and control of the Dielectric polymer actuator based soft robotsusing the port Hamiltonian approach"

Context/ Aim :
This thesis will take place within the AS2M (Automatique et Systèmes Micro-Mécatroniques) department of FEMTO-ST Besançon.The main objective of this thesis is the design, modeling and control of the soft robotic structure to fast pick-put variable form objects using the energy based-approach called the port Hamiltonian approach

Detailed Description :

In this thesis, we are interested on the modeling and control of the soft robots based on the Dielectric polymer actuators. The Dielectric polymers have been developed in recent years and drawn the attention of the robotic community thanks to their different advantages: large deformation, fast response, energy efficacy and free materials, etc. Motivated by the multi-physical, nonlinear and distributed aspects of this system, the port Hamiltonian formalism will be used for the modeling and the control design.

Advisers :

Pr. Yann Le Gorrec, Dr Yongxin Wu, Dr Kanty Rabonorosa

Please find more details in the attached file.


Yongxin WU



+ d'infos :
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Applied Mechanics : "Understanding the mechanisms behind the tactile perception of micro-textured surfaces"

Context : Most of our daily interactions with the environment are based on tactile exploration. Tactile perception relies on the stimulation of mechanoreceptors in the skin and on the processing of the response induced by the brain. So far, only few studies have been devoted to uncover the overall "perception chain", i.e. from mechanical stimuli, via signal conversion and transmission, to higher order neural processes related to the interaction of the human body with the touched surface. Surprisingly, most research in the field of sensorimotor control has ignored the mechanical characteristics of the surface in contact with the body. At the same time, most studies in the fields of surface engineering and mechanics have ignored the brain mechanisms involved in the processing of tactile inputs. This is a serious limitation in understanding the sense of touch.

Description  : This Phd work is part of the ANR COMTACT project bringing together 6 laboratories and whose objective is to "decipher" how the brain constructs tactile perception according to mechanical stimuli and responses of skin mechanoreceptors. The PhD works, bilocalised Femto-ST / LaMCoS (INSA-Lyon), concerns the identification of mechanical descriptors relevant for the tactile perception of micro-textured surfaces, and will begin in September 2021.

All the information you need to apply is specified in the attachments.

MN2S : "Behavior and durability of protonic ceramic electrochemical cell (PCEC) integrated" in a stack

Context :To ensure the energy transition, the use of hydrogen as energy vector appears to be an unmissable solution. Production of green hydrogen by the use of electrolysis process prevent formation of CO2 gases. In this context, solid oxide electrolyser, which presents high efficiency, is considered as promising production methods [1].

Job description : The works carried out during this PhD will be based on the ICB’s achievements in the fabrication of cells for PCFC and PCEC applications and electrochemical tests management. Three main areas will be addressed.

The first will involve the shaping of large (diameter 5 cm) and button cells (22 mm diameter) for PCEC. This step, essential for the following, will be carried out by successive band casting of the different layers (electrodes and electrolyte) and will be based on the WO 2014057218 A2 patent [4]. Multi-stage sintering will be realised due to the high temperatures required to densify protonic conductors. Deposition of these electrolytes by reactive magnetron sputtering on an anodic medium may also be considered [5]. The second part will focus on the realization of  electrochemical characterization using the Fiaxell test bench Technologies acquired recently by our team. The results obtained in this section will allow to understand the mechanisms during the operation of a electrolysis cell and will specify the key steps that lead to the performance of PCFCs. Finally, the third part will focus on integration of larger cells to produce a two cells stack. By testing it in real conditions, information on the compatibility, the stability and the durability of the materials core components of PCEC will be highlighted.

Application deadline : 1/06/2021

ENERGIE : Study of electromagnetic compatibility of a hydrogen fuel cell coupled to a very high frequency GaN-based power converter with advanced functionalities

The idea of the proposed PhD thesis subject is to study the integration and the frequency behavior of a GaN-based static converter coupled to a hydrogen fuel cell integrating advanced diagnostic functionalities of the state of health of the cell and of the converter. The study of the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of the Hydrogen Cell / GaN converter assembly aims to obtain the frequency analysis of the assembly knowing that in a context of integration, the parasitic elements (parasitic inductance, capacitance coupling) can interfere with the operation of the system. It will be interesting to check that the high measurements necessary for piloting and diagnosis are not disturbed by electromagnetic phenomena. An EMC theoretical study as well as a prototype of a GaN-based power converter strongly integrated on a 500W hydrogen fuel cell will be made. The EMC chamber is used to test the hydrogen fuel cell / GaN-based power converter to verify that it meets current standards for electromobility.

Host laboratory  : FEMTO-ST, Equipe SHARPAC, Plateforme Hydrogène – Energie, Rue Edouard Belin, 90000 Belfort Cedex

Contract duration : 36 mois

Application deadline : 15 June 2021

ENERGIE/RECITS : An economic analysis of decentralised electric systems incorporating hydrogen-energy

The low-carbon energy transition requires a deep transformation of energy systems in order to support the development of renewable but intermittent energy sources. Two energy vectors appear central in that matter: electricity and hydrogen. The access to energy is currently designed through a centralised management of energy transmission network with flexibility and balancing supply relying on mechanisms implemented by the transmission system operator. However, the large introduction of variable renewable energy sources (VRES) in the energy mix, as well as the implementation of decentralised energy systems (the so-called “micro-grids”, which are not always connected to the power grid) increasingly require to think about a local management of energy systems and their flexibility. Hydrogen which allows storing energy on a large scale and for long periods of time, appears as a promising energy vector in order to provide stability and flexibility of decentralised power systems. By contributing to a further development of VRES (through energy storage and supply of flexibility), and by providing an alternative to fossil fuels, hydrogen-energy may be a mean to meet social demand for low-carbon energy systems.

This is precisely the objective of the ISITE-BFC PATH project to analyse the technical feasibility and the economic as well as environmental and social interest of such energy systems incorporating hydrogen-energy, especially in the Burgundy and Franche-Comté region. A “hydrogen territory” label has been given to this latter, which resolutely intends to become a leader in that matter. Thus it appears as a relevant location for investigating how efficiently hydrogen could be introduced in energy systems, with experiments that might be replicable in other locations. This geographical context as well as the multidisciplinary orientation of the PATH project, that combines skills in engineering sciences and economic and social sciences, constitute the framework of the PhD work.

‍The doctoral research program will aim at analysing the value associated to energy storage and provision of flexibility for electricity networks, through energy production and distribution devices incorporating hydrogen-energy within the framework of a decentralised territorial perspective.

NB : the doctoral student will belong to the SEPT doctoral school

Adress Host Laboratory:  FEMTO-ST : Rue Thierry Mieg, 90010 Belfort Cedex, France & CRESE, 30 Avenue de l'Observatoire, 25009 Besançon, France.

Candidate profile:Economist or engineer with a master degree in economics - Skills in modelling - Good knowledge of energy and electricity systems

An experience of qualitative research will be appreciated and skills in French language are required for interviews with local actors implementing energy systems based on hydrogen in French regions.

Deadline : 15/06/2021

ENERGIE : State of health and Remaining Useful Lifetime estimation for fuel cell systems

Context :

The fuel cell systems still suffer from low reliability and durability, besides the high cost. The objective of the RESYLIENT project is to develop algorithms to characterize online, realtime the operation (performance), the state of Health SoH (diagnostics) and the Remaining Useful Lifetime, RUL (Prognostics) of a PEMFC. The developed algorithms are mainly signal based using the major approach of signal processing approaches for SoH determination of the stack, online under dynamic load profiles. Besides, in automotive systems sensors are exposed to rough environmental conditions like extreme temperatures, wet and dry humidity, ice formation, vibrations, and shocks. This leads to frequent failures in sensor signals.

Objectives of the PhD thesis

The goal of this thesis is to develop simple models to increase the durability of FC systems (diagnosis, prognosis, fault tolerance) taking into account the real integration constraints of the system, in the design of the algorithms themselves; that is to say, to take into account the constraints related to embedded systems where one needs to operate a reliable diagnosis/prognosis without stopping the system, and without using intrusive, bulky, or expensive sensors or devices.

It would be interesting to apply different approaches for the analysis of non-stationary signals from PEMFC fuel cell systems to develop reliable fault tolerant diagnostics, prognosis and control. We are particularly interested in the analysis of response to multi-frequency signals. It will therefore be necessary to establish a solid theoretical basis for the signal processing tools to be used, and then apply them to databases from experimental tests. In parallel, accelerated test protocols must be set up and will allow to validate the developed algorithms.

Qualification: Master Degree

The PhD applicant should: Hold a master’s degree or equivalent and have competencies in one or several of the following topics: electrical engineering, electrochemistry, automatic control, computer sciences, Applied mathematics, data mining, artificial intelligence.

• Have good written and oral communication skills in English.

• International applications are strongly encouraged.

Deadline : 15/05/2021

ENERGIE : Hydrogen Energy -Simulator of a hydrogen based ecosystem

The PATH (Pave the way To Hydrogen energy) project aims to contribute to the development of rational ecosystems based on hydrogen energy, which are technically, economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, at a regional scale. It targets three objectives: the development of materials for the development of a high temperature reversible electrolysis / fuel cell cell (WP 1), the development of a simulator of hydrogen ecosystems (WP 2), the evaluation of the profitability and the value generated by these technologies based on case studies in the Bourgogne Franche-Comté territory (WP 3). The PhD subject is a contribution to the WP2.

‍The SHARPAC group of the Energy department of FEMTO-ST institute and EMIE-MEEP group of DRIVE laboratory have a long experience on the development of models of the hydrogen and hybrid systems components for transport and stationary applications. The Computer Science Department of FEMTO-ST has developed skills in optimization of energy system design. In this thesis, the final objective is to have a simulator allowing the evaluation of hydrogen ecosystems which include aspects from production, and transport, up to use in mobility alone or in synergy with other domains, interfacing different applications (fleet of heavy vehicles, light vehicles, hydrogen refueling stations, production of green hydrogen, centralized or distributed on consumption sites, coupling with stationary applications, etc.) according to scenarii co-developed with the partners of WP3 of the project. Including the basic energy concepts, the simulator will also make it possible to include economic, ecological and sustainability aspects by combining life cycle analysis and well-to-wheel balances. It will thus constitute a tool to help with the prescription and design of ecosystems allowing the emergence of a hydrogen sector in an approach that is as global as possible but adapted to local contexts.

‍The PhD work will be carried out in both laboratories, FEMTO-ST, in Belfort, and DRIVE, in Nevers. The share of the time spent in each laboratory will be defined according to the advancement of the work. It should start in Belfort.

‍Duration: 36 mois

Profile : Master Degree in Electrical Engineering or in Applied Computer Science - Fluent English - Interest in interacting with researchers in economy - Interest in carbon free technologies

Deadline : 15/05/2021

MN2S : Metamaterial for thermal fluxes control

Metamaterials are artificial composite materials designed to achieve properties that are inaccessible naturally. In this project, they will combine thermal conductor (metal or silicon) and insulating (dielectric or air) materials in order to control thermal fluxes at the micron scale.

The successful candidate will participate on the design, fabrication and characterization of these metamaterials.

For characterization, several complementary tools such as a thermal camera, femtosecond thermoreflectance set-ups, scanning thermal microscope or quantitative phase imaging will be used. The candidate will also participate on the improvement of some set-ups. An example of thermal concentrator with no perturbation of the heat flow that could be fabricated and tested, can be find here [Q. Ji et al., International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 169 (2021) 120948]

Qualifications: Master Degree

The ideal candidate should have a strong background in physics, must be rigorous and should present an interest for both theoretical studies and experimentations. Experiences in nanofabrication techniques are an advantage.

Deadline :  31/05/2021


MN2S : Activation of inert molecules by intense electric field in a STM tunnel junction


Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Nitrogen (N2) is readily accessible and comparatively inexpensive, so that it is highly desirable to include this small molecule into syntheses of value-added products or to use it as reservoir of chemical energy.

The purpose of this thesis is to alter the thermodynamics and the kinetics of activation of CO2 by using intense electric fields (more than 109 V/m) located in a Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM)-probe (used as an individual nanoreactor) as a powerful catalyst.

Candidate profile :

The ideal candidate is an innovative and analytical thinking person, who has good communication skills and a very good knowledge in surface science, physics as well as in scanning probe microscopies (STM, AFM).

AS2M :"Surface Tension Forces for Compact Microrobotics"

Thesis subject :  Pushing the boundary of robot miniaturisation could answer the need for submillimetric surgical tools withless side effect and allowing innovative intervention as well as research new treatment by manipulating cellsin microfluidic environment (i.e. closed and submillimeter fluid networks used for research in biology). Tomake these applications possible, microactuators need to be compact with footprints inferior to a millimetrecube. However classical actuators lose their efficiency at small scale and different driving mechanisms has to beinvestigated. This thesis will answer this need by investigating the use of surface tensions forces, which becomes predominant at small scale, as a base of the actuation. This will allow the design and control of microactuatorswith better compactness while maintaining the high degree of freedom number required for complex task.

Environment: The thesis will take place in FEMTO-ST institute in Besançon, a leading multidisciplinary laboratory whichgathers 750 people. The candidate will join the AS2M (Automatique System Micro-Mecatronique) department and will have access to micromanipulators, microscopes and microassembly station. He/she will also have fullaccess to high level and state of the art resources in particular for microfabrication with the Mimento platform (800m2 dedicated to microfabrication).