PhD in helium spinning MAS-DNP at CEA Grenoble (France)

Ideal start date: Sept. to Nov. 2015 - Duration: Three years

Applications for a PhD fellowship in physical chemistry are now welcomed at the INAC Institute (CEA / Univ. Grenoble Alpes) Grenoble, France. The PhD will focus on the development of an emerging technique called MAS-DNP (Magic Angle spinning Dynamic Nuclear Polarization). This hyperpolarization technique allows recording solid-state NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) data that can be used to extract complex atomic-level structural information, such as surface functionalization and inter-nuclear distances.

This technique has recently proven particularly useful when applied to systems that cannot be probed effectively using X-ray crystallography or solution-state NMR. Thanks to huge sensitivity gains (several orders of magnitude!) one can now start studying very challenging problems (for systems such as porous materials, nano-self-assemblies, and functionalized nanoparticles), which were so far lacking efficient atomic-scale characterization techniques. Recent publications from the group can be found below.

Although the combination of DNP and solid-state NMR is showing much promise, there are a lot of improvements that can still be made. To this end, our lab has engaged to go beyond state-of-the-art and is currently developing a system that permits sustainable MAS at temperatures well below 100 K. A working prototype (that uses cryogenic helium spinning) is currently under testing in our laboratory. Notably, world-unique results of MAS rates of up to 25 kHz and sample temperatures down to 20 K have recently been achieved.

This PhD work is part of a larger project involving a strong partnership between two academic laboratories (INAC/CEA for MAS-DNP and LNCMI/CNRS for high-field EPR) and an industrial partner (Bruker Biospin). The work will be located in a dynamical environment at the MINATEC campus (CEA Grenoble) within the SCIB laboratory (INAC) where the DNP group is located. The group is currently working with the first high-field MAS-DNP system installed in France (since September 2011) as well as with conventional solid-state MAS NMR.

Grenoble is one of the major cities in Europe for research with a large international scientific community. The PhD will take place within the CEA campus (http://www.cea.fr/english-portal) and delivered by the Grenoble-Alpes University (http://www.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/en/). In addition, Grenoble is a very pleasant city to live, with direct connections to the nearby French Alps.

Motivated candidates must have a good command (written / spoken) of English and should send a detailed CV and a letter of motivation to gael.depaepe@cea.fr. Recommendation letters can also be joined and will be highly appreciated.

1 – Enhanced Solid-State NMR Correlation Spectroscopy of Quadrupolar Nuclei Using Dynamic Nuclear Polarization, Lee D., Takahashi H., Thankamony A. S. L., Dacquin J.-P., Bardet M., Lafon O., De Paëpe G., Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134, 45, 18491-18494, 2012

2 – Rapid Natural-Abundance 2D C13-C13 Correlation Spectroscopy Using Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Enhanced Solid-State NMR and Matrix-Free Sample Preparation, Takahashi H., Lee D., Dubois L., Bardet M., Hediger S. De Paëpe G., Angewandte Chemie Internatinal Edition, 51, 47, 11766-11769, 2012

3 – Towards Structure Determination of Self-Assembled Peptides by Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Enhanced Solid-State NMR, Takahashi H., Viverge B., Lee D., Rannou P., De Paëpe G., Angewandte Chemie Internatinal Edition, 52, 27, 6979-6982, 2013 (VIP Article)

4 – Solid-State NMR on Bacterial Cells: Selective Cell-Wall-Signal Enhancement and Resolution Improvement using Dynamic Nuclear Polarization, Takahashi H., Ayala I., Bardet M., De Paëpe G., Simorre J.P., Hediger S., Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135 (13), 5105-5110, 2013 (Cover Article)

5 – Untangling the Condensation Network of Organosiloxanes on Nanoparticles using 2D 29Si- 29Si Solid-State NMR enhanced by Dynamic Nuclear Polarization, D Lee, G Monin, NT Duong, IZ Lopez, M Bardet, V Mareau, L Gonon, G. De Paëpe, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 136 (39), 13781-13788, 2014 (Cover article)