Micro and nanoscale heat transfer


Nanotechnologies have led to the development of micro and nanostructured materials and systems, which are now ubiquitous. One of the many challenges is the control and improvement of their thermal performance. It happens that the physical laws (Fourier's law, macroscopic theory of thermal radiation, etc.) and metrological approaches used in heat transfer since decades are no longer valid at micro and nanoscale. Therefore, specific research must be conducted. This is the goal of the theme on MIcro and Nanoscale heat Transfer (MiNT).


  • Understand, characterize and simulate heat transfer in micro and nanostructured materials and systems

  • Study thermal transport by heat conduction and radiation at micro and nano scales

  • Develop thermal metrology at micro and nanoscale, including thermal atomic force microscopy (scanning thermal microscopy, SThM) and electro-thermal experiments with deposited resistive sensors

  • Measure temperature and thermal and thermoelectric properties at submicron scale

  • Understand how heat transfer at these scales impacts thermophotovoltaic and thermoelectric conversion applications

Scientific skills

  • Development of simulation tools to describe conduction heat transfer in micro and nano structured systems and materials (by solving ballistic-diffusive models and the Boltzmann equation, phonon engineering approaches, molecular dynamics and ab initio models)

  • Development and / or implementation of electromagnetic models to describe radiative heat transfer at micro and nanoscale

  • Detailed physical of nanoscale energy-conversion devices, including nano-thermophotovoltaic cells

  • Implementation of local scanning thermal microscopy  (SThM) for the measurement of temperature and thermal conductivity: application to bulk materials, thin films and micro and nanostructured materials; development of new modes of near-field microscopy for thermal studies; modeling and analysis of the heat exchange between the probe tip and the sample to improve the performance of the technique (sensitivity, resolutions, uncertainty);

  • Electrothermal and thermoelectric characterization of micro and nanostructured materials by methods involving deposited resistive sensors ("3-omega" and other methods), from cyogenic temperatures up to 500 °C.



Some international collaborations

University of Utah, Salt Lake City (USA); Tohoku University, Sendai (Japan); University of New South Wales, Sydney (Australia); VTT Technological Center of Finland, Helsinki City (Finland); Czech Institute of Metrology CMI, Brno (Czech Republic); Catalan Institute of Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies ICN2, Greater Barcelona (Spain); Institute of Solar Energy IES, Madrid (Spain); University of Chemnitz (Germany); Lancaster University (United Kingdom); University of Glasgow (United Kingdom); etc.

Some national collaborations

GDR network on Thermal Nanosystems and Nanomaterials (Twitter account)

National Metrology Institute of France LNE (Paris region), Néel Institute (Grenoble), IEMN (Lille), ESIEE (Paris region), Institute of Electronics and Systems (Montpellier), Fresnel Institute (Marseille), etc.

Local in Lyon: Institut Lumière-Matière (Light&Matter), Institute for Nanotechnologies of Lyon, Laboratory of Mechanics of Contact and Structures, MATEIS Laboratory, ...

Recent industrial partnerships

Large companies: ST Microelectronics, Thales RT.
Small and Medium Businesses: CSI, PicoSun, NanoTest, Kelvin NanoTechnology, Conpart AS.