Post-Doctoral position in subatomic physics with instrumental component - 24 months contract

Job description

IMT Atlantique

1. Context

Présentation of IMT Atlantique :

IMT Atlantique, internationally recognised for the quality of its research, is a leading general engineering school under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry and Digital Technology, ranked in the three main international rankings (THE, SHANGHAI, QS).

Located on three campuses, Brest, Nantes and Rennes, IMT Atlantique aims to combine digital technology and energy to transform society and industry through training, research and innovation. It aims to be the leading French higher education and research institution in this field on an international scale. With 290 researchers and permanent lecturers, 1000 publications and 18 M€ of contracts, it supervises 2300 students each year and its training courses are based on cutting-edge research carried out within 6 joint research units: GEPEA, IRISA, LATIM, LABSTICC, LS2N and SUBATECH.

Job environment :

The work will be done in Nantes within the laboratory of Physics SUBAtomique and TECHnologies associés (SUBATECH), joint research unit (UMR 6457) under triple supervision: the Institut Mines-Télécom through its school IMT Atlantique, the University of Nantes and the CNRS with the National Institute of Nuclear Physics and Particle Physics (IN2P3) as the main institute of attachment.
Fully integrated into major global scientific collaborations, Subatech’s research focuses on the fields of nuclear physics, hadronic physics, particle and astroparticle physics, and radiochemistry. Subatech carries out fundamental research and applied research on energy, environment and health. The mastery of technologies associated with these fields is a key factor for the success of the laboratory’s projects.
The postdoctoral researcher will work within the PRISMA Physics of Radiation InteractionS with Matter and Applications team, which conducts both fundamental and applied research on the interaction of radiation and particles with matter. The team develops research in the interdisciplinary field around 3 areas with high societal impact: the production of innovative radionuclides for diagnosis and therapy (RaMI for Innovative Medical Radioisotopes), elemental and non-destructive analysis of materials and structures (IRMa for Radiation Matter Interaction) and dosimetric studies for unconventional radiobiology and radiotherapy (HB for HadronBiology). This research is carried out in collaboration with the ARRONAX GIP.
The post-doctoral student will benefit from a rich environment where several R&D projects are underway in these different themes including the SMILES project (Mass Spectrometry coupled with Laser Ionization for Environment and Health applications) funded under the Contract Plan State Region.

He/she will be involved in this project which aims to develop instrumentation based on coupling laser ionization to mass separation in order to quantify, separate and purify isotopes for environmental and nuclear medicine applications. The experiments will involve stable isotopes or radioisotopes with very low activity at the ultra-trace scale.

In addition, the team is involved in several “Investing in the Future” program. Post-doctoral students and PhD students are already integrated into the team. The work will be carried out under the responsibility of Vincent Métivier, Professor IMT Atlantique, Noel Servagent Maitre-Assistant IMT Atlantique and Nathalie Michel Engineer-Searcher at Nantes Université.

2. Job description

Description of the mission:

The SMILES device will have to adapt to the diversity of samples encountered within a large community of users in various disciplinary fields (environment, medicine, physics, chemistry, etc.).

Two devices are to be designed in parallel either with an electrostatic mass separation (time of flight) or with a magnetic field. Depending on the case, the ion source may be thermal or by laser desorption. The mission will be to simulate these devices from SIMION-type software in order to optimize the parameters of the ion source and the beam line. In parallel with these simulations, the implementation of the experiment and the first tests will allow data to be cross-referenced and performance improved. Simulations with CST OPERA will then complete these results.

The main activities of the post-doctoral researcher will therefore be:

- Using SIMION software and possibly CST OPERA to simulate the source, particle transport and ion detection or collection for the different devices in order to obtain the configurations to reach the optimal conditions for ultra-high quantification trace or a spatial separation of species to be implanted in the collection room. Simulate performance such as detection efficiency, spatial and temporal resolutions.

- Perform comparative tests on laboratory devices by developing acquisition systems, defining and conducting experiments.

- Analyze the data to interpret the results and compare to simulations.

Job requirements

3. Training and skills


  • PhD in subatomic physics with instrumental component

Knowledge & Skills

  • Very good knowledge of electromagnetis

  • Very good knowledge of detector physics

  • Good skills in Python programming language

  • Good Skills in setting up of test benches and data analysis

  • English B2 level of scientific and technical according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

  • Knowledge of the simulation software SIMION or CST OPERA

  • Having knowledge in laser optics

  • Rigor, project management method, Interpersonal skills with all levels of contacts, a spirit of listening and cooperation, Ability to work in a team.


  • 49 days of annual leave and time off
  • Partial telecommuting possible
  • Public transport paid for
  • Sustainable mobility package (for carpooling or cycling)
  • Family supplement
  • Wide range of social benefits

Additional information and application

  • Application deadline: 30/08/2022
  • Start of contract : 01/10/2022
  • Type of contract : Fixed-term contract under public law
  • Duration of the contract : 24 months
  • Geographic location : Nantes IMT Atlantique campus
  • Project: SMILES (Spectrométrie de Masse couplée à l’Ionisation Laser pour des applications en Environnement et en Santé)
  • The positions offered for recruitment are open to all with, upon request, accommodations for candidates with disabilities
  • Hierarchical category: Category II trade P of IMT management cadre
  • For more information, please contact : vincent.mé ou

Application documents

  • Resume with list of publications
  • Cover letter
  • Names and emails of referees that may be contacted
  • Copy of your doctoral degree
  • National identity card or passport