DSM : Thesis SL-DSM-15-0187



Research field

Physical chemistry and electrochemistry / Solid state physics, chemistry and nanosciences
Ultra-divided matter, Physical sciences for materials / Solid state physics, chemistry and nanosciences


New catalysts for energy applications: hybrides g-CN/metallic ions


How can you better understand a cheap and non-toxic catalyst for oxygen reduction?

Graphitic carbon nitride (g-CN) appears to have all the properties necessary to be one of the leading materials for catalysing oxygen reduction in "low temperature" proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC): it is non-toxic and can be synthesised in large quantities from cheap, abundant reagents. The elimination of platinum from these systems would significantly reduce their cost and would make these systems available to a broader section of society. g-CN is an organic semi-conductor with a structure close to that of graphite, but where every second carbon atom is replaced by nitrogen, creating a novel structure. At present, our understanding of g-CN, and thus our capacity to optimise its catalytic properties, appears to be the main obstacle preventing its further use.

This thesis will use a "bottom-up" approach to create analogues of g-CN which will be easier to study. The various syntheses performed will be optimised by applying experiment design procedures in collaboration with the Laboratoire de Méthodologie de la Recherche Expérimentale (laboratory for the improvement of experimental research methods) at Aix-Marseille University.

In addition to trying to respond to the major energy challenges faced by modern society, this topic is an excellent training opportunity as it is located at the boundaries between several disciplines, including chemistry and physics. Although this is a basic research topic, one of the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) strengths is that it also houses large technological research laboratories. Thus, if the materials synthesised show interesting properties, it is quite possible that a prototype could be made. In addition, Grenoble is a particularly stimulating setting for students as it is internationally renowned in the nanoscience, nanotechnology and renewable energy fields (Minalogic, Tenerrdis, Minatec, GreenER and other centres of excellence).


Institut nanosciences et cryogénie
Service de Chimie Inorganique et Biologique
Laboratoire de Reconnaissance Ionique et Chimie de Coordination
Centre : Grenoble
Starting date : 01/10/2015

Contact person

17, rue des martyrs
Phone : 04 38 78 92 57

University / Graduate School

Grenoble I (UJF)
Chimie et Sciences du Vivant (EDCSV) - Grenoble I -

Thesis supervisor


INSTN - Website
Updated on 12/20/2014
© CEA 2014 - All rights reserved
Legal information