Master thesis position: Analysis of Lysozyme by Terahertz Time-Domain Spectroscopy

Context and objectives:
The TeraHertz range (between 0.1 and 10 THz) is at the crossroads between optics and electronics and is currently booming. Indeed, THz waves allow non-invasive probing of matter and thus help to identify the composition of many materials, in particular biological materials. TeraHertz spectroscopy, based on the use of femtosecond lasers, has been developed in order to have a better understanding of molecules such as proteins or DNA that possess vibrations in the TeraHertz range.
IEMN (Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnologies) has a characterization room at the international state of the art, where is installed a TeraHertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) setup. This setup is used to analyze solid samples (characterization of semiconductors, of insulators…), liquids (aqueous solution, polar or non-polar solvent) or gases (in particular for the TeraHertz gas laser application).

Nevertheless, the study of biological samples in their natural state is limited by the lack of knowledge on liquid water in the TeraHertz range. After an extensive study of this liquid by our group, the intern will tackle the study of a common protein, the lysozyme, which will open the door to the study of more and more complex proteins in a liquid solution.

During this internship, the student will have to learn how to use the THz time-domain spectroscopy setup and use it to analyze biological samples. He will begin by doing experiments on liquid water before tackling lysozyme crystallization and its study by THz-TDS. Then he will perform THz-TDS experiment on stabilized Lysozyme samples to get the most reliable and repeatable results to enables a proper analysis. The results will then be open for discussion within the group as well as with biologists from the university.

The student will work with a team of experienced researchers in the THz-Photonics group at IEMN Laboratory ( The group has a long lasting experience in the conception and realization of THz optoelectronic devices, and is fully equipped to carry out this project. The Laboratory hosts a 1500m2 clean-room with state of the art growth and fabrication facilities. IEMN is located in Lille, the capital of French Flanders, a vibrant city close to the Belgian border at 50 min by train from Paris-CDG airport.
We are looking for physics or engineering master student or equivalent. Having one of the following skills would greatly increase the chance of success of any application: Experimental optics – Spectroscopy – Python coding
The exact tasks in which the student will be involved will be discussed together with him/her and the team and will depends on its capacities and taste as the needs of the team. We strongly advice any potential candidate to contact us by email or elsewhere to begin the discussion before any formal application.

Key words: TeraHertz, Time domain spectroscopy, proteins, phonons

Possibility to go on with a PhD?
Yes, we are looking for two PhD student in the group next year one of them will have to deal with a really close subject.

Envisaged fellowship?
We already applied for several nationwide and European grants but the safest funding way will be to get a university of Lille grant. We are highly supported by the university and the chance of success are very high in this call for a good candidate.

Unité d’accueil :
Centre de Micro et Nano fabrication
Avenue Poincaré

Contact: Dr Mélanie Lavancier / Dr Romain Peretti