Surfaces – Interfaces and Materials under Stress – SIMAC

Permanent members

Jérôme Colin

Responsable d'équipe

Tél: +33 5 49 49 66 61

Post-doctoral fellows :  Simon Smalley


PhD students :


Romain Gautier

Grain boudary-based plasticity mechanisms in nanostructures metals

Supervisors: Christophe Coupeau and Marc Legros (CEMES - Toulouse)

Thibault Chommaux

Physical properties of thin films under stress  

Supervisors: Pierre-Olivier Renault, Philippe Goudeau and Dominique Thiaudière (Synchrotron Soleil)

PhD cofunded by the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region (50%) and the Synchrotron SOLEIL (50%)


Emmanuel Fodeke

Mechanical behavior and associated functionnal properties  of MoS2 nanosheets under mechanical stress

Supervisors: Christophe Coupeau et de Loranne Vernisse


Hatem Benmahmoud

Magnetic properties of nanostructures on stretchable substrates: towards deformable and durable magnetoelectric systems

Supervisors: Pierre-Olivier Renault, Damien Faurie (LSPM - Sorbonne Paris Nord) and Fatih Zighem (LSPM - Sorbonne Paris Nord)

PhD cofunded by the Interactifs project (Poitiers) and the SEAM project (Sorbonne Paris Nord)


Charlélie Chil

Mechanical behavior and stability of graphene under stress: molecular dynamics atomistic simulations 

Supervisors: Christophe Coupeau and Julien Durinck


Valentin Gazagne

Study of the nitriding behaviour of FeCrNiCoAlx high entropy alloys synthetized by powder metallurgy

Supervisors: Jean Baptiste Dubois and Véronique Gauthier-Brunet (PPNa group)


Yen Fred Woguem

Mechanical properties of nanotwinned gold thin films

Supervisors: Sandrine Brochard (PDP Team) and Pierre Godard

Renaud Guenin

Surface hardening and fatigue behaviour of titanium alloys induced by multi-interstitial followed by mechanical surface treatments: effect of property gradient

Supervisors: Luc Pichon, Michel Drouet, et Antoine Guitton (LEM3 - Université de Lorraine)

PhD cofunded by the Interactifs project (Poitiers) and the DAMAS project (Metz)


Sohel Altaf Husain

Physical properties of functionnal thin films under strain

Supervisors: Pierre Olivier Renault and Damien Faurie (LSPM - Sorbonne Paris Nord)

PhD cofunded by the PRCI "NanoFilms"


Vladimir Khoroshilov

Evolution of vicinal surfaces under strain: experimental approach and numerical approach by kinetic Monte Carlo

Supervisors: Christophe Coupeau and Vitaly L. Alperovich (Rzhanov Institute of Semiconductor Physics, Novosibirsk, Russia)

PhD funded by the Vernadski Program through the French Ambassy in the Russian Federation



Funded projects:



2021 - 2024: ANR PRCI (France - Austria) NanoFilm Nanoarchitected films for unbreakable flexible electronics

2017 - 2020: ANR PRCI  (France - Switzerland) CharADiff  Characterization of defects by Advanced Diffraction techniques to evaluate micro-crystals deformation stages 

2017 - 2020: DFF  Mix Ti Mixed interstitial phases; a novel approach to tailoring the surface properties of titanium

Funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research - Collaboration with Thomas L. Christiansen - DTU (Technical University of Denmark) - Mechanical Engineering (Department of Mechanical Engineering)

2018 - 2021: CPER NanoTrans  Nanophysique pour le Transport


National :

2017 - 2021 : ANR PRC RODIN Role of disconnections in grain boundary-based plasticity

2019 - 2023 : ANR PRC CHACAL Nano-mechanical engineering of 2D materials

2020 - 2024 : ANR JCJC PtyMet  3D Bragg ptychography: Developments for metallic nano-twinned thin films

Main equipments

Nitrogen plasma in URANOS reactor
THOR calculator
NANOPLAST apparatus - CNRS collective cristal medal 2021
Biaxial tensile device set on DIFFABS-SOLEIL beamline

Research activities

Our research activities focus on the study of mechanical properties on the surface of various materials. Those include molecular networks, nanosheets, thin films, or microscale coatings. Our goal is to provide an advanced picture of the close relation between the structural properties, the architecture and/or the microstructure and the mechanical behaviour.

Currently, a major issue in material science is to control the mechanical properties of materials. It can be adressed through different ways: thin films or molecular deposition, coatings, surface treatments, etc. In any case, this control involves a deep understanding of the mechanical properties of these materials, including plasticity, aging, interfacial delamination, buckling, microstructure evolution. The main step is therefore to comprehend the physical phenomena occuring in the bulk (generation and propagation of crystallographic defects, diffusion of point defects) and at the surface (creation of step or complex structures, adatom diffusion).

We chose to focus our research on surfaces or close to the surface of materials. This approach has two key advantages. Firstly, we can access the low dimension effets on the usual properties.  They have become more and more significant as the surface/volume ratio increases in the miniaturisation of devices in technological applications. They are also a key factor in the creation of new functional properties. Secondly, we can also better understand the physical mechanisms of the bulk as the nanostructures created at the surface are telltale clues.


Our research activities can be divided into three areas:


Permanent people: Eric Le Bourhis (PR UP), Pierre Godard (MdC UP), Philippe Goudeau (DR CNRS), Pierre-Olivier Renault (PR UP), Pascale Valat-Villain (MdC UP)

Context et objectives

One of the major objectives of this axis is to obtain a better understanding of the mechanical behavior of thin polycrystalline or even monocrystalline films of a few tens of nm thick deposited by spraying on polymers, and to highlight the size effects, microstructure and architecture. The thin film - polymer composite is mechanically stressed using a very original biaxial deformation machine allowing to follow in situ by X-ray diffraction the microstructural evolutions in the film, the deformation at the crystalline level and the macroscopic deformation by correlation. digital images. The experimental set-up makes it possible to measure very low relative changes in deformation (of the order of 10-5) and makes it possible to reproduce the complex deformation fields encountered by these materials in the various fields of application. The adhesion, the modes of cracking or the physical mechanisms at the origin of plasticity can be studied.


This action revolves around three research activities:

        • Effect of microstructure on the mechanical behavior of thin metallic films
        • Study of the relaxation of thin films
        • Plasticity of thin monocrystalline films


These synchrotron activities were developed within the framework of an ANR Pnano Cmonano which associated Soleil and the LSPM (formerly LPMTM) of Villetaneuse for polycrystalline modeling. They come within the framework of the GDRi Mecano.

More details


Recent papers

P. Godard, D. Faurie and P. O. Renault, Strain ratio effects in mechanical properties of supported thin films, J. Appl. Phys. 127, 105103 (2020)


D. Faurie, F. Zighem, P. Godard, G. Parry, T. Sadat, D. Thiaudière, P.-O. Renault, In situ x-ray diffraction analysis of 2D crack patterning in thin films, Acta Materialia 165, 177-182 (2019)


Job offer

PhD candidate - Propriétés physiques de films minces fonctionnels sous contrainte

Permanent people: J. Colin (PR), C. Coupeau (PR), J. Grilhé (PR Emerit), J. Durinck (MdC), A. Cimetière (PR Emerit), L. Vernisse (MdC)

Context et objectives:

This axis is centered on studies of surface evolutions under mechanical stress fields. We aim to understand the phenomena related to buckling, delamination, the decohesion of thin films or even related to the reconstruction of surfaces. Our experimental research is based on a unique experimental tool (Nanoplast). This device in an ultra-high vacuum environment allows to monitor in situ by AFM / STM microscopy the evolution of the surface of materials under varying stresses and temperatures. The current studies are focused on two themes, understanding of the elementary plasticity mechanisms of crystalline materials, from the slip traces generated at the atomic scale on the surface, and  piloting nanostructures and reconstructions of surfaces by mechanical nanoengineering under stress. The experimental approaches are closely associated with numerical simulations or models. Thus, theoretical studies on the growth kinetics of nano-objects deposited on substrates and on the evolution of delamination are undertaken in correlation with the experimental observations of the team or through external collaborations (national and international).


We are exploring five paths:

        • Effect of plasticity on thin film buckling
        • Plasticity of nanostructures
        • Morphological evolution of alloys under stress
        • Buckling of hyperelastic materials
        • Surface nanoengineering

More details

Recent papers

Colin, J., Effect of stiffness contrast on the dislocation equilibrium positions in a multi-layered structure, International Journal of Solids and Structures 185, 234-235 (2022).


Chauraud, D.; Durinck, J. ; Vernisse, L. ; Smalley, S. ; Drouet, M. ; Coupeau, C., External stress as a way to control Au (111) reconstruction, Surface Science 162, 714 (2021)


Bertin, B.; Durinck, J.; Grihlé, J.; Colin, J., Grain boundary-induced plasticity during thin film buckling, Surface and Coatings Technology 162, 408(2021)

Permanent people : L. Pichon (Pr), J.B. Dubois (MCF), M. Drouet (IR)

Coll. DPMM-axe ENDO: P. Villechaise, J. Cormier

Context and objectives:

We are interested in surface modifications by thermochemical treatments assisted by low pressure plasma and / or by ion implantation. We have a main (but not exclusive) objective of improving mechanical properties by creating layers of compounds (nitrides, oxides, etc.) or solid insertion solutions (nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, etc.). These studies are based on two original reactors: URANOS, a treatment reactor assisted by low pressure plasma and TAPIIR, a plasma based ion implantation reactor (PBII). The aim is to understand, in connection with the processing conditions, the mechanisms of chemical and microstructural modifications and to relate them to the induced properties of interest. Employed analytical techniques enable the chemical study of surfaces and the microstructural characterization at different scales. The properties of interest are then tested  within P’ or as part of external national or international collaborations.


Following the first successes of nitriding at moderate temperature (<450 ° C) obtained on various FCC austenitic g-phase alloys (ASS316L, CoCrMo), the treatment of various nickel-based superalloys was undertaken from 2011 to 2018. The low temperature nitriding is today applied to the new High Entropy Alloys (HEA) containing chemical elements found in the previous studied alloys (Fe, Co, Ni, Cr…)

Since 2018, plasma assisted thermochemical treatments are applied on Titanium based alloys in order to obtain thick layer of multi-interstitials (N, O, C) solid solutions as mechanical support for the very hard surface layer, within wear resistance objectives.


More details

Recent papers

L. Pichon, J.B. Dubois, S. Chollet, F. Larek, J. Cormier and C. Templier, Low temperature nitriding behaviour of Ni3Al-like γ′ precipitates in nickel-based superalloys, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 771, 176-186 (2019)


M. Ueda, C. Silva, G.B de Souza, L. Pichon, High Temperature Plasma Immersion Ion Implantation Using Hollow Cathode Discharges in Small Diameter Metal TubesJ. Vac Sci and Technol. B, 37(4), 042902, (2019).

Job offer

PhD candidate [FILLED] - Surface hardening and fatigue behaviour of titanium alloys induced by multi-interstitial followed by mechanical surface treatments: effect of property gradient


Julien Drieu La Rochelle - Etude du maclage-démaclage de film mince d'or monocristallin sous rayonnement synchrotron - Sous la direction de Pierre-Olivier Renault et de Pierre Godard - Soutenue en 02/2020


Dimitri Chauraud - Influence des contraintes sur la reconstruction de l'Au (111) - Sous la direction de Christophe Coupeau et de Julien Durinck - Soutenue en 11/2019


Thierry Broult - Études des propriétés mécaniques des matériaux CdZnTe et HgCdTe et impact des déformations plastiques sur les performances électriques des photodiodes infrarouges - sous la direction de Eric Le Bourhis et de Gilles Patriarche - Soutenue en 10/2019


Benjamin Douat - Étude de surfaces sous contrainte à l'échelle atomique : application au cas du niobium - Sous la direction de Joël Bonneville et de Christophe Coupeau - Soutenue en 06/2018


Wejdene Mastouri  - Caractérisation croisée de la double couche électrique se développant à l'interface solide/liquide (304L/NaCl) pour différents états de surface - Sous la direction de Luc Pichon , Sergueï Martemianov et de Anthony Thomas - Soutenue en 12/2017


Romain Boijoux - Influence de l'élasticité du substrat sur la genèse, propagation et coalescence des structures de cloquage de revêtements et films minces - Sous la direction de Christophe Coupeau et de Guillaume Parry - Soutenue en 11/2017


Sami Hamade - Influence de pliures plastiques sur la morphologie de cloques et de marches d'interface sur leur propagation - Sous la direction de Jérôme Colin et de Julien Durinck - Soutenue en 12/2016


Jean Rony Medy - Évaluation des effets de taille et d'architecture sur les propriétés mécaniques et électriques de fils composites métalliques cuivre/niobium fabriqués par déformation plastique sévère - Sous la direction de Ludovic Thilly et de Pierre-Olivier Renault - Soutenue en 12/2016


Mohamed Achraf Ben Dhia - Détermination des contraintes internes par méthode dynamique résonante : application aux massifs revêtus - Sous la direction de Christophe Coupeau, Pascal Gadaud et de Xavier Milhet - Soutenue en 12/2016


Wei He - Mechanical and microstructural properties of thin metal films on compliant substrates - sous la direction de Philippe Goudeau , Eric Le Bourhis et de Pierre-Olivier Renault - Soutenue en 09/2016

Raphaëlle Guillou  - Étude in-situ des propriétés mécaniques de films minces d'or nanostructurés déposés sur substrats flexibles lors d'essais de traction biaxiale contrôlée sous rayonnement synchrotron - sous la direction de Pierre-Olivier Renault , Eric Le Bourhis et de Philippe Goudeau - Soutenue en 2015


Jonathan Michel - Caractérisation par UHV AFM/STM des nanostructures de déformation de l'intermétallique Ni3Al - Sous la direction de Christophe Coupeau et de Joël Bonneville - Soutenue en 2014


Antoine RuffiniInfluence de la plasticité sur le délaminage et le flambage de films minces déposés sur substrats - Sous la direction de Jérôme Colin et de Julien Durinck - Soutenue en 2013


Arnaud Le Priol - Métallurgie d'alliages d'interconnexion pour composants optoélectroniques - Sous la direction de Eric Le Bourhis et de Pierre-Olivier Renault - Soutenue en 2012


Soundès Djaziri - Élasticité et endommagement sous chargement bi-axial de nano-composites W/Cuen couches minces sur polyimide : apport des techniques synchrotrons - Sous la direction de Philippe Goudeau , Eric Le Bourhis et de Pierre-Olivier Renault - Soutenue en 2012


Matthieu Tatat - Influence de films fonctionnels sur les propriétés élastiques des substrats associés : application au système Ni/NiO - Sous la direction de Christophe Coupeau et de Xavier Milhet - Soutenue en 2012


Axel Richard - Étude par diffraction des rayons X des déformations induites par irradiation/implantation d'ions dans le dioxyde d'uranium - sous la direction de Philippe Goudeau et de Hervé Palancher - Soutenue en 2012


Mathieu Guerain - Contribution à l'étude des mécanismes de relaxation de contraintes dans les films de chromine formés sur Ni-30Cr et Fe-47Cr : approche multi-échelle par spectroscopie Raman et microdiffraction Synchrotron - Sous la direction de Philippe Goudeau et de Jean-Luc Grosseau-Poussard - Soutenue en 2012


Eloi Dion - Effet de la pression sur le phénomène de cloquage des films minces -  Sous la direction de Christophe Coupeau et de Jérôme Colin - Soutenue en 2011


Jean-Baptiste Dubois - Conducteurs nanocomposites métalliques élaborés par déformation plastique sévère : formation et stabilité thermo-mécanique des nanostructures, propriétés induites - Sous la direction de Ludovic Thilly , Pierre-Olivier Renault et de Florence Lecouturier - Soutenue en 2010


Thi Huyen Tram Pham - Structure et propriétés mécaniques de films minces AlCrN -  Sous la direction de Eric Le Bourhis et de Philippe Goudeau - Soutenue en 2010