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Laboratoire d’Excellence : the NEXT project selected

par Clément Sire - 25 mars 2011

Toutes les versions de cet article : English , français

The Ministry of Higher Education and Research has selected the LABEX project Nano, EXtreme measurements & Theory (NEXT) presented by the Research Federation IRSAMC (LCAR, LCPQ, LPCNO, LPT), the CEMES, and the LNCMI-Toulouse. NEXT is among the 39 projects ranked A+ (100 projects were selected in all domains of science by an international jury), in strong recognition of the high level research pursued by the physics and chemistry community in Toulouse. The preliminary funding is of 1 million €/year for 10 years.

NEXT website :

Summary of the NEXT project :

The Nano, EXtreme measurements & Theory (NEXT) project involves six laboratories (CEMES, LCAR, LPCNO, LCPQ, LPT, LNCMI-T ; 186 researchers, 89 technicians/engineers, 157 PhD/postdocs) on the same campus in Toulouse, working at the frontier of knowledge in the domains of nanophysics and nanochemistry, condensed and soft matter physics, optics, and atomic/cluster physics. The mastering of many aspects of the nanoworld, involving physicists as well as chemists, from the elaboration of materials to their characterization by a whole variety of techniques, the study of matter in extreme conditions (very high magnetic field, very low temperature, ultra-high spatial and temporal resolution...), and the interplay between experimental and theoretical (2 theoretical laboratories involved, in physics and chemistry ; theoretical teams integrated in 3 out of 4 experimental laboratories) approaches constitute the trademark of NEXT.

NEXT aims at developing ambitious scientific projects in order to bridge gaps and foster collaborations between its teams, and above all, support new research axes and operations emerging from this dynamic interaction. NEXT also plans to attract leading scientists on attractive permanent (NEXT Chairs) and temporary positions (NEXT Fellowships). In addition, NEXT intends to strongly invest in the development of the attractiveness of the local masters and the doctoral school (master scholarships, experimental training programs, links with the private sector...) and to develop ambitious initiatives in the domain of the diffusion and the valorization of its results, and the diffusion of scientific knowledge toward a wide range of public.

The scientific project of NEXT involves three main axes of research (with a few planned Scientific Operations (SO) in each of them) :

  • Advanced nanomaterials and nanodevices : partly based on strong existing collaborations, this research axis aims at synthesizing, through chemical and physical routes, thin films and ensemble or isolated nano-objects, and at studying, manipulating, and modeling/understanding their physical properties, and eventually integrating them into demonstrating devices where their characteristics and usefulness can be evaluated (SO : Nanomagnetism, Nanotransport, Strongly correlated electronic systems, Nano-biophysics/chemistry...).
  • Nano-optical quantum physics : this axis aims at developing new concepts and quantum devices based on matter-wave interactions. It will benefit from the existence in NEXT of both experimental and theoretical expertise in quantum electrodynamics and quantum optics based on atoms/molecules, and strong experience on quantum (opto-) electronics in nanostructures (SO : Single photons sources, Optics and interferometry with matter waves, Quantum magneto-optics...).
  • Quantum coherence and information : NEXT wishes to mobilize the expertise of its scientists in molecular electronics, Bose-Einstein condensates in condensed matter and atomic physics, and the theoretical methods involved in these fields, in order to explore new concepts and physical applications in systems characterized by their strong quantum coherence (SO : Molecular electronics, Out of equilibrium BEC...).

In addition to these research axes, NEXT wishes to establish transverse technical platforms, realizing that its different laboratories have developed technical skills and processes, which should be made available to its entire community : (i) Elaboration & characterization (different growth methods, TEM, STM, Raman, and other physical properties measurement methods), (ii) Laser equipment & applications, and (iii) Intensive computing, methodology, and specific codes developments."