Ph. D. position: theory of heat transfer in nanostructures

  • Ph.D. position:
    "Theory of heat transfer in nanostructures"

A Ph. D. position is available at Laboratoire de Physique et Modélisation des Milieux Condensés (LPMMC) in Grenoble, France under the supervision of Denis Basko. The position has a duration of 36 months. The starting date can be any time in 2018.


In metals, heat is usually transferred by electrons, by the same mechanism as the electric current. This manifests itself in the Wiedemann-Franz law which links thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity. However, even if two metal objects are electrically isolated and no current can flow, there is another mechanism for heat transfer, due to the interaction between the electrons that reside in the two objects. This transfer can be seen as an exchange of photons (real or virtual). This process has been studied for massive metals [1,2], and it becomes even more important for nanoscale objects. Having a theoretical description of this process is important for the design of thermal and thermoelectric nano-devices [3].

The goal of the thesis is to calculate the energy flux between two small metallic or superconducting objects due to the Coulomb interaction. The calculation follows the general electromagnetic fluctuation theory: the energy flux is determined by the Ohmic losses of the fluctuating electric field that is produced by random heat sources in each object [4]. The main difficulty is the solution of the Poisson equation to determine this electric field. It will be necessary to use a combination of analytical and numerical techniques.

This research will be performed within a European consortium "QuESTech" consisting of several experimental and theoretical groups.


Good knowledge of quantum mechanics and electrodynamics of continuous media is essential. Numerical skills are welcome. European mobility rules apply: the candidate must not have resided in France for more than 12 months in the preceding 3 years.


[1] D. Polder and M. Van Hove, Physical Review B 4, 3303 (1971).
[2] A. I. Volokitin and B. N. J. Persson, Reviews of Modern Physics 79, 1291 (2007).
[3] F. Giazotto, T. T. Heikkilä, A. Luukanen, A. M. Savin and J. P. Pekola, Reviews of Modern Physics 78, 217 (2006).
[4] S. M. Rytov, Y. A. Kravtsov, and V. I. Tatarskii, Principles of Statistical Radiophysics 3 (Springer, Berlin, 1989).

For more information, contact Denis Basko and/or check the project website "QuESTech". The search will continue until the position is filled.