Antoine THILL

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01 69 08 53 56
01 69 08 66 40

See short CV and publications

Domain of interest

Structure and dynamic of colloids (nucleation, growth, aggregation, drying).
Physicochemical and biological impact of nanoparticles on the environnement.

Synthesis and physico-chemistry of aluminosilicate nanotubes (Imogolite).

Proposed positions

Training positions for undergraduate students are often available. Send e-mails.

The PRODIGE facility for the synthesis of imogolite.

Ongoing post-docs, PhDs and masters

  • Pierre Picot (phD)
    Hybrid imogolite physico-chemical properties
  • Tobias Lange (phD)
    Precipitation of inorganic matter in emulsion.
  • Marie-Claire Pignié (phD) Imogolite as a nanoreactor.
  • Flora Dervillé (phD) Inorganic organized mineral nanoparticles as new componants of CNT based sensors.
  • Research news

    6 November 2018 An article from the phD of Pierre Picot is published in Langmuir. It is known in standard imogolite synthesis that the purity of the samples is difficult to control and assess (see Farmer in 1983). Pierre Picot did a detailed analysis in the case of hybrid imogolite (IMO-CH3) of the impact of the Si/Al ratio on the proportions of side products.

    11 September 2018 A new article by Yuanyuan Liao is published in Nano Research. The modification of the imogolite internal surface chemistry plays a crucial role in the control of the hydration.

    23 September 2017 A new article by Peixin Du has been published. It is a very interesting experimental work following with multiple techniques the formation of imogolite. In particular, high quality AFM picture have been obtain at several stages of the synthesis process.
    The results are analyzed in line with the recent hypothesis of the Sphere Tube Transition.
    The article is available here.

    16 June 2017 A new paper by our former post-doc Yuanyuan Liao is online. It concerns an alternative way to prepare imogolite for IR characterization by preparing self-supported thin-films. This paper opens the way to more quantitative IR characterizations of imogolite; especially when coupled to the direct measurement of the film 2D mass density in mg/cm^2 by precise X-ray transmission measurements. This is described in the supporting info. The article is available here.

    9 April 2017 A new paper by Clément Levard has just been accepted at RSC advances the 9th April 2017. The title is : "Alignment of Ge-imogolite nanotubes in isomalt with tunable inter-tube distance". This article explain a very clever idea of Clément Levard on the use of a melted sugar to align perfectly imogolite nanotubes. Upon cooling the sugar enables the organisation to be fixed. It will for sure be the basis of very interesting future research. Hope you will enjoy this paper. availbale soon: DOI: 10.1039/c7ra01380a

    11 March 2017 An article entitled "A mechanism for the sphere/​tube shape transition of nanoparticles with an imogolite local structure (imogolite and allophane)" has just been accepted for publication in Applied Clay Science.
    In this paper, we have used a simple nano-mechanical model which shows that the proto-imogolite having an Imogolite Local Structure (ILS) adopt different curvature depending on their size. We argue that this could play a role in the formation of tubular ILS (imogolite and imogolite-like) and/or spherical ILS (some sort of allophane).
    By the way, we also show in this article that the imogolite structure is oriented (not symmetric upon 180° rotation). This is of fundamental importance for tip-tip growth process. To our knowledge it was not really discussed in the research papers about imogolite up to now.
    We hope you will find this article useful and we would be really happy to have any comments and discussion.

    12 December 2016 After one year of renovation, the SAXS equipments of the LIONS are about to restart. The installation of a new set-up, shared with LLB, is a great event for the lab and will extend the characterization possibilities.

    November 2016 synthetic imogolite samples have been send to Pr Peng Yuan in China. Hope this will be the starting point of a fruitful collaboration.

    4 October 2016 Imogolite on Mars! A paper by JL Bishop identifies Allophane and Imogolite in the poorly crystaline phase in the Mawrth Vallis region of Mars.

    See the article here.

    22 September 2016 Visite of Tetsuharu Narita and Kazuhiro Shikinaka. Kazuhiro gave us an interesting seminar on imogolite based hydrogels.

    Interesting discussions followed. Maybe some futur collaborations.

    16 to 21 September 2016 End of an exciting week of experiment at the AILES beamline of the Soleil synchrotron.

    Hopefully, some very interesting results published soon.

    20 April 2016 A new publication book entitled "Nanotubular clay minerals" is expected to be released in June 2016.

    As a co-editor and (co-)author of three chapters, this book has kept me busy a lot lately. The result is very good and I hope many of you will find this book useful.
    Just for the anecdote, the nice 3D image of a mixed imogolite/halloysite was inspired by a discussion at a corridor whiteboard of Faïza's laboratory in Orleans and by a stone lying in Borée (in France).

    Pre-order the book here

    12 April 2016 A new publication is accepted to Faraday Discussions. This paper will be presented in Glassgow in July for the discussion on "Nanoparticles with Morphological and Functional Anisotropy".
    It introduces the facinating properties of hybrid imogolite nanotubes.

    15 January 2016 A set-up a facility dedicated to the large scale production of imogolite for research purpose has been installed in a CEA laboratory of the university Paris-Saclay (NIMBE/LIONS).
    The facility is able to produce large quantity of high quality imogolite and imogolite-like nanotubes. The nanotubes are perfectly characterized using Small Angle X-ray Scattering and infra-red spectroscopy.
    Samples (only for research purpose) are available upon request in the framework of scientific collaborations. The conditions can be discussed directly with Antoine Thill (

    5 January 2016 A new article "A liquid-crystalline hexagonal columnar phase in highly-dilute suspensions of imogolite nanotubes" is published in Nature Communications

    4 January 2016 A new article "Multipod-like silica/polystyrene clusters" is published in Nanoscale

    The article has also been selected for the journal cover.

    11 September 2015 Pierre Picot won the poster price at the CFCL 2015 conference in Autrans, France. Congratulation!

    23 March 2015 Working in Orléans with Peng Yuan and Faïza Bergaya.

    12 February 2015 A new paper is published in Chemistry of Materials. Hybrid Tunable-Diameter Metal-Oxide Nanotubes for Organic Molecules Trapping. Just accepted

    14 December 2014 A new paper is published in Particle and Fiber Toxicology. Small AlGe based imogolite were tested for their biopersistence and lung toxicity.

    15 December 2014 A new paper is published in Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals.

    16 September 2014 A new paper is published in Environmental Science and Technology. Antonia Praetorius from ETH Zurich did a huge work on heteroaggregation.

    25 September 2014 A new paper is published in RSC advances. I worked with the CEREGE team of Jérôme Rose and Clément Levard on the synthesis of Fe dopped AlGe based imogolite.

    20 May 2014 A new paper is published in Applied Clay Science. We studied the dispersion state of hybrid imogolite.

    15 May 2014 Nicolas Arancibia Miranda came for a short visit in Saclay. Interesting discussion and upcoming interesting results.

    8 Avril 2014 A new paper is published in J. Phys. Chem. C. on the deformation of imogolite nanotube upon drying.

    Thanks to a systematic method developed to analyze X-ray scattering diagrams as a function of the nanotube shape, single-walled germanium-based imogolite nanotubes, known as cylindrical for more than thirty years, are shown to take an hexagonal base shape when arranged in bundles.

    14 October 2013 A new paper is published in Chem. Comm. on the synthesis of micron long Germanium based imogolite nanotubes.

    Up to now the length of Germanium based nanotubes was limited to less than 100 nm. We are now able to go far beyond this limit. Together with the high concentration yield, this is making the Ge-Imogolite an exceptional nanotube!

    9 September 2013 A new paper is published in Angewandt Chemie on the synthesis of colloidal molecules.

    15 August 2013 A new paper is published in PLOS One on the effect of cerium nanoparticles on the Swimming performance of Daphnid.

    6-8 Marsh 2013 CEINT / iCEINT meeting in Washington.

    28 January 2013 Our work on SW/DW transition in imogolite-like system in the Elettra Highlights 2012.

    21-22 January 2013 Erwan Paineau talk about his phD work (in french).

    Interview d'Erwan PAINEAU par SynchrotronSOLEIL

    1 December 2012 A new paper in Journal of Physical Chemistry C
    "How the Diameter and Structure of (OH)3Al2O3SixGe1-xOH Imogolite Nanotubes are Controlled by an Adhesion vs Curvature Competition"
    Inspired by the pioneering work of Wada in 1982, we have revisited the structural modifications obtained when Germanium is introduced in the Imogolite wall structure. In light of the recent discovery of the multi-wall Ge-imogolite structures, we came across some new surprises. I hope you will have a nice time reading this article.

    21 September 2012 A new paper in Polymer Chemistry
    "Cerium oxide encapsulation by emulsion polymerization using hydrophilic macroRAFT agents"
    CeO2 encapsulation
    Composite organic/inorganic latexes encapsulating CeO2 nanoparticles were successfully synthesized by surfactant-free emulsion polymerization.

    18 September 2012 A new paper in Chemical Research in Toxicology
    "Influence of the length of imogolite-like nanotubes on their cytotoxicity and genotoxicity towards human dermal cells."
    Imogolite Toxixity
    Synthetic imogolite-like nanotubes with various sizes and shapes were used as models to investigate the influence of these physical parameters on the cyto- and genotoxicity and cellular uptake of NPs

    31 August 2012 A new paper in Colloids and surfaces. B, Biointerfaces
    "Interaction between Escherichia coli and TiO(2) nanoparticles in natural and artificial waters."
    We looked at the interaction between nanoTiO2 particules and bacteria in natural water.

    27 August 2012 A new paper in Macromolecules
    "Efficient Synthesis of Snowman- and Dumbbell-like Silica/Polymer Anisotropic Heterodimers through Emulsion Polymerization Using a Surface-Anchored Cationic Initiator."
    TOCOMO Snowman
    We report a novel original synthetic route to hybrid dissymmetrical snowman- and dumbbell-like silica/polymer colloidal particles through emulsion polymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) or styrene using a bicationic initiator...

    10 July 2012 A new paper in Langmuir
    "Spheres growing on a sphere: a model to predict the morphology yields of colloidal molecules obtained through a heterogeneous nucleation route."
    TOCOMO model
    We propose a model to explain the morphologies obtained through the heterogeneous nucleation of polystyrene on surface modified silica.
    growth following S1growth following S2growth following S3

    14 March 2012 A new paper in Langmuir
    "Stabilization of Miniemulsion Droplets by Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles: A Step toward the Elaboration of Armored Composite Latexes"
    latex pickering
    Nanoparticles can stabilize emulsions and foams. The stabilized oil can also be polymerized. This is a step toward hybrid polymers.

    26 February 2012 We publish a new paper in Polymer chemistry
    "High-yield preparation of polystyrene/silica clusters of controlled morphology"
    coloidal molecules
    This paper is among the first outcomes of a fruitful collaborations in the ANR project ToCoMo.

    31 January 2012 We publish a new paper in JACS
    "Physico-chemical control over the single or double wall structure of aluminogermanate Imogolite-like nanotubes"
    It concerns the control of the recently discovered imogolite-like SW/DW morphologies.

    27 January 2012 A new paper in Crystal Growth & Design
    "Growth and Overgrowth of Concentrated Gold Nanorods: Time Resolved SAXS and XANES"
    gold rods growth
    This paper is only a small part of a serie of studies on the nano gold gowth mechanism by Fabienne Testard and Olivier Spalla.