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MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD22-07: Functionalized Transition Metal Dichalcogenide (TMD) Nanosheets Based sensors for the detection of NOx and CO

10 Oct 2022

Job Information

Université Gustave Eiffel
Research Field
Engineering » Other
Engineering » Materials engineering
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Background and scientific context

Recently, atom-thick nano-sheets of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), such as MoS2, WS2, MoSe2, as well as other 2D materials including black phosphorus have attracted attention due to their novel properties and potential applications. Thin TMD sheets have been suggested as efficient sensing materials for next generation of gas sensing [1]. This originates from their large surface-to-volume ratio, high electrical conductivities and low electrical noise, as well as appropriate band gap opening [2-3]. Compared to graphene, TMDs possess several advantageous properties such as the existence of a band gap in the near infrared to the visible region (depending on the number of layers), which contrasts with the zero band gap of graphene. Compared to graphene FET sensors, the novel TMDs based sensors displays a much higher sensitivity [4-5]. Indeed, MoS2 FET based sensors exhibited high sensitivity for NO gas, with a detection limit down to 0.8 ppm [4]. Compared to gas sensors based on carbon nanotubes, the MoS2-type sensor exhibits higher selectivity towards volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at room temperature [6]. The response of TMDs upon exposure to other gas molecules like NO2, NH3, H2S, H2, O2, H2O, CO, CH4, CO2, trimethylamine, acetone, methanol, dichloromethane, isopropanol and chloroform was studied [7-10]. As reported for graphene, sensors based on TMDs materials do not show any specific selectivity to gas. Various strategies have been studied to enhance the selectivity of 2D materials to detect specific gases such as functionalization by using chosen chemical species. Several recent theoretical and experimental studies reported that surface functionalization of TMDs can drastically improve the detection of toxic gases in terms of response and selectivity [11]. To improve TMDs gas-sensing performance, we propose an alternative approach based on functionalizing TMDs by porphyrins and/or phthalocyanines. This approach constitutes the first ever demonstration of functionalization of TMDs by metal complexes for gas sensing applications. We have previously reported that these molecules physi-adsorbed on the surface of carbon nanotubes and graphene and the presence of a weak charge transfer between those grafted molecules and the nanomaterials [12-14]. Furthermore, these organometallic molecules present exceptional properties such as high chemical stability, combined to unique physical and structural properties [15]. The originality of this approach lies in the nature of the ligand cavity of porphyrin or phthalocyanines that allows the coordination of different metal ions, thus enabling the sensing of different gas molecules and enhancing selectivity.

Thesis objectives

The main goal of this PhD proposal is to develop a new simple-to-use miniaturized gas sensor based on TMD materials (such as MoS2, WS2, etc.) that will be used to selectively and sensitively detect and quantify of NOx and CO pollutants in various environments. To this aim we will: 1) develop wet-method to produce exfoliated 2D-TMD materials, 2) study surface functionalization of new 2D materials with no-covalent binding of molecular probes for targeted gas, 3) study how surface functionalization modify the optoelectronic properties of 2D-materials; 4) fabrication of electrically transduced gas sensor and characterization of its behavior. The project covers all aspects from the fabrication and packaging of sensors to the range of functional testing in the laboratory in real conditions. If successful, this project will open up new possibilities to detect various pollutants and toxic industrial chemical compounds. This project is a collaborative work between three partners: NACRE (IMSE-UGE and LPICM-Ecole Polytechnique), MSME, and INL-Braga.

Research program and Role of the partners

1) Theoretical study (MSME-UGE): The sensing mechanism of the chemiresistive gas sensors relies on the charge transfer process.

The work will consist to study the adsorption of gas molecules on functionalized TMDs by porphyrins and/or phthalocyanines in order to better understand the binding, the charge transfer processes, and the effect of the gas molecule adsorption. The methodology has been well established for carbon nanomaterials and will be applied to TMDs.

2) Fabrication and functionalization of resistive devices (NACRE, INL): The objective is: i) to provide a protocol that enables fabrication of TMDs thin film and nanosheets produced using solution processing and to establish fundamental foundations needed to facilitate their implementation in chemiresistive gas sensor devices. ii) to fabricate and characterize chemiresistive devices and to understand how chemical surface functionalization can be correlated to device performance. To attain this objective, the following part will be implemented: a) production of TMDs materials by liquid-phase shear exfoliation, b) thin film processing, c) wet chemical functionalization of TMDs, d) chemiresistive sensors fabrication and characterization.

3) Assessing a sensitivity and selectivity to different gases (NACRE): Establishing rigorously the sensitivity to NOx and CO, the selectivity and the cross sensitivities to perturbing parameters for different devices: pristine and functionalized TMD-chemiresistive sensor will allow us to screen the best sensing layer materials and molecule. The best combinations (one for NOx, second one for CO sensing) will be chosen according to objective criteria; benchmarking the integrated devices. The characterization will be carried out using a brand new probe station under variable gases.


[1] S. Cui et al. Nature Communications, 6, (2015) 8632.

[2] Q. H. Wang et al. Nat. Nanotechnol., 7 (2012) 699

[3] H. Li et al. Nat. Mater., 15 (2016) 48

[4] H. Li et al., Small 8 (2012) 63

[5] B. Liu et al., ACS Nano 8 (2014) 11

[6] W. Yang et al., Inorg. Chem. Front. 3

[7] N. Huo et al. Sci. Rep. 4 (2014) 5209

[8] H. Zhang et al., Sens. Actuators, B, 190 (2014) 472–478

[9] B. Liu et al. ACS Nano 8 (2014) 5304−5314

[10] W. Li et al., Sensors 19 (2019) 2123

[11] C. Nie et al., J.Phys. Chem. C 124 (2020) 16943−16950

[12 ] F. Bouanis et al, Organic Electronics 96 (2021) 106212

[13] F. Bouanis et al. DIB (2021) 107366

[14] M. Dieng et al. . Phys. Chem. C 2022, 126, 9, 4522–4533

[15] M. Ethirajan, Chem. Soc. Rev. 40 (2011) 340 –362


Research Field
Engineering » Other
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Additional Information

  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.
Eligibility criteria

Applicants must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must fulfil the transnational mobility rule: incoming applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 previous years.

One application per call per year is allowed.

Applicants must be available full-time to start the programme on schedule (November 1st 2023).

Application rules are enforced by the French doctoral system which specifies a standard duration of 3 years for a full-time PhD together with the MSCA standards and the OTM-R European rules as follows.

Citizens of any nationality may apply to the programme.

There is no age limit.

Selection process

Please refer to the Guide for Applicants available on the CLEAR-Doc website :

Additional comments
  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • International Mobility: an international mobility of 6 months is planned at The INL International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, located in Braga (North of Portugal).
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email:
Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Université Gustave Eiffel
Île de France
Postal Code
5, Boulevard Descartes


5, Boulevard Descartes
Postal Code