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Post-doctoral position: Physical behaviour through advanced multi-scale imaging of archaeological and artists’ materials. Application to ancient ceramics and corroded metals.

This job offer has expired

    National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) - IPANEMA / USR 3461
    PhysicsApplied physics
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    20/07/2017 19:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Saint Aubin

The Ancient Materials Research Platform (IPANEMA, site of the SOLEIL synchrotron, Paris-Saclay University) is recruiting a postdoctoral researcher (M/F) to describe the multi-scale behaviour of ancient materials from synchrotron-based spectral imaging data. We will aim at identifying new physical markers of manufacturing techniques and alteration processes. The 12-month postdoctoral program is supported by LabEx PATRIMA / Fondation des sciences du Patrimoine (MULTICERAM project), and is offered in collaboration with the Louvre Museum and laboratories in Paris–Saclay and Sorbonne-Universités.

Recent works have demonstrated the information potential of spectral imaging applied to complex heterogeneous ancient materials at various length scales from the centimetre to the nanometre [D. Thurrowgood, Sci. Rep., 2016 ; C. Ryan, J. Phys., 2014]. This post-doctoral project will allow deepening the relationship between structure, microenvironment, colour, and long-term behaviour available within the data collected in spectral imaging. The project will focus on archaeological and historical coloured stratified systems (ceramics). Further than mere chemical identification, we hypothesise that a better multiscale description of compound distribution, such as pigments and trace compounds will provide a clearer understanding of past supply of raw materials, manufacturing techniques, and alteration mechanisms [F. Meirer, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014]. Data treatment will particularly be applied to high-definition fluorescence and absorption X-ray images, as well as electron microscopy analyses. Preliminarily, these approaches will be tested on simpler corrosion phases from archaeological copper-based artefacts, for which UV/visible photoluminescence imaging has recently revealed fossilized morphologies [M. Thoury et al., Nat. Comm., 2016]. High-contrast images were collected that show an heterogeneous distribution in crystal defect densities which morphology will be used to implement first developments of the proposed strategy at high spatial dynamics. In parallel to direct imagery indicating the distribution in space, positional correlation of these various signals will be performed. More specifically, this correlative analysis will be developed in the Fourier space in order to probe and filter the distinct length scales of organization.

Working environment

This postdoctoral project will be carried out at IPANEMA (CNRS, MC, UVSQ) and at the Louvre museum.

IPANEMA is the European research platform on ancient materials. It is a research and services unit from CNRS, the French Ministry of Culture, University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and MNHN (USR 3461) located on the grounds of SOLEIL synchrotron (Saclay area, region at the south of Paris). IPANEMA is unique as it is entirely dedicated to research on ancient materials (archaeology, paleo-environments, palaeontology and cultural heritage) and located at a large-scale instrument. IPANEMA supports scientists studying ancient materials and develop its own research activities on advanced imaging and spectroscopy of ancient materials and processing of statistical data. This postdoctoral project is ideally taking place in the context of the starting up of PUMA beamline (Photon Used for Ancient Materials) operated by SOLEIL and IPANEMA. PUMA will offer unprecedented X ray and X/UV/visible coupling analysis capacities both in 2D and 3D imaging.

The postdoctoral researcher will be member of a multidisciplinary team, including PhD students, interns and young researchers he/she could help supervise.

MULTICERAM project involves team of the Louvre museum and include state-of-the-art works on Attica ceramics led with other microscopy techniques (mainly electronic techniques) by several university teams. The Louvre museum is nowadays involved in 250 research projects. Among them, many projects deal with ceramics in the Departments of Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Decorative Arts and History of the Louvre. This project will be a first step towards the examination of multi-scale imaging methods that could be integrated in future projects.



Selection process

Further information

For further information about this post, please contact Dr Loïc Bertrand, head of IPANEMA loic.bertrand@synchrotron-soleil.fr. Queries regarding job application procedures should be directed to Regina Oprandi, email: regina.oprandi@synchrotron-soleil.fr 


Please send your application (cover letter, CV and list of publications) by email to sophie.david@synchrotron-soleil.fr stating the job vacancy name, as early as possible.

Additional comments

Short-term scientific contract
Duration: 12 months
Expected starting date: asap (1/09 or 1/10)
Remuneration: between 31171,88€ and 43381,32€ gross annual salary (according to previous experience)
Required education level: PhD
Required work experience: none

Offer Requirements

    Physics: PhD or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


A PhD in materials sciences, physics, or a relevant discipline is required.


  • Previous experience of material characterisation with X-rays
  • Demonstrable knowledge or experience in micro-computed tomography or XRF/XRD Imaging
  • Experience of working with heterogeneous and multi-scalar solid samples
  • Experience in signal processing and data analysis using scientific software (R, Matlab, python…) to extract relevant information from sample studies
  • Working in interaction with diverse and pluridisciplinary teams
  • Ability to share information to different publics on appropriate medium
  • Mastering written and oral communication techniques
  • Mastering the use of scientific databases
  • Autonomy, initiative and adaptability

Specific Requirements

- High level in English.

- Another language (in particular French) would be desirable


Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) - IPANEMA / USR 3461
Saint Aubin
Site du synchrotron SOLEIL

EURAXESS offer ID: 231227


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