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Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics

Welcome to SPEC!

We are the Condensed Matter Physics laboratory of IRAMIS (Saclay Institute for Radiation and Matter), a part of the French National Atomic Energy Commission (CEA: Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique) in Saclay, France.

SPEC is also "Unité Mixte de Recherche" with the CNRS : UMR 3680.

At SPEC, we strive to be at the forefront of fundamental Condensed Matter Physics Research. Our research interests encompass a wide variety of subject matters ranging from nano-to macro-scopic scales and from the most fundamental aspects of science to applications, patents and technology transfer.

Director: François Daviaud

Deputy Director: Patrice roche

Research Activities

The SPEC is organized in 8 groups with scientific activities developing along 6 main research themes. To find out more please visit our research themes page and/or click on groups of your interests found below.

Labs in SPEC

  • Laboratoire d'Etude des NanoStructures et Imagerie de Surface (LENSIS)
  • Laboratoire de Cryogénie (LC)
  • Laboratoire d'Electronique et nanoPhotonique Organique (LEPO)
  • Laboratoire Nano-Magnétisme et Oxydes (LNO)
  • Laboratoire des Interfaces et Surfaces d'Oxydes (LISO)
  • Systèmes Physiques Hors-équilibre, hYdrodynamique, éNergie et compleXité (SPHYNX)
  • Groupe Modélisation et Théorie (GMT)
  • Groupe NanoElectronique (GNE)
  • Groupe Quantronique (GQ)

Scientific and Technological Collaborations

SPEC is involved in many collaborations, within the CEA and at the national and international levels: examples of our past and present collaboration research projects.


Last update : 09/01 2015 (468)

Research topics

Research groups / Laboratories

Group of Mesoscopic Physics and Thermoelectricity
Home GMT
Welcome to the webpage of the group "Mesoscopic Physics and Thermoelectricity"! The group was formed in late 2010 in order to better understand the theoretical aspects of thermoelectricity, at a fundamental level. It is part of the strategy of the CEA to develop its research activities ... More »
Laboratory of Organic Electronics and nanoPhotonics (LEPO)

This Group of research gathers the activities in the field:

- Organic semiconductors (team CEA-Paris VI, UMR 711)
- Optical properties (Nanophotonic)

Nano-Magnetism and Oxides
CAPMAG gathers laboratories of the CEA/DRECAM working in the field of the nanomagnetism. The principal research topics of Capmag are: - Epitaxial growth of magnetic oxides - Spin-polarized transport in artificial structures - Dynamics and high frequency noise in small magnetic structures - ... More »
Nanoélectronique / Nanoelectronics
The NANOELECTRONICS GROUP activities explore the quantum properties of nano-conductors. In the past, the group developed the world's first electronic quantum shot noise measurements to show the quantum noise suppression by the Fermi statistics,  to evidence the e/3 fractional charges in ... More »
Quantronique / Quantronics





Technique fields


Violation du théorème fluctuation-dissipation dans un verre de superspins
K. Katsuyoshi, D. L'Hôte, S. Nakamae, M. Konczykowski, V. Mosser
Le théorème de fluctuation-dissipation, reliant l'intensité des fluctuations d'une observable à la réponse à une sollicitation, est un principe vérifié pour tous les systèmes à l'équilibre ... More »
Evidence of deep water penetration in silica during stress corrosion fracture
( Version française) Stress corrosion - combined action of mechanical stress and corrosion by water from the surrounding atmosphere - is often the cause of crack propagation in glasses. A study by neutron reflectivity at the Laboratoire Léon Brillouin ... More »
Magnetocardiography with GMR (giant magnetoresistance) sensors
Measurement of the cardiac electrical activity allows following the heart dynamics. Usually measured with electrodes during an electrocardiogram (ECG), this activity can also be studied by monitoring the magnetic component, induced by the circulation of the heart electric currents. This is ... More »
Illumination from Noisy Conductors
Eva Zakka-Bajjani, J. Dufouleur, N. Coulombel, P. Roche, D. C. Glattli, and F. Portier
( French version) Contact: Dr. Fabien PORTIER A conductor in equilibrium under a bias voltage shows current fluctuations proportional to its resistance and temperature. This type of noise is known as the Johnson-Nyquist noise, or equivalently, the thermal noise. In a quantum ... More »
Frequency control of vortex core polarity in a magnetic nanodisk
Benjamin Pigeau, Grégoire de Loubens, and Olivier Klein: Groupe Nanomagnétisme
In a vortex-state magnetic nanodisk, the static magnetization is curling in the plane, except in the disk center where it is pointing out-of-plane, either up (polarity p=+1) or down (p=-1). The lowest energy excitation mode of this ground state is the so-called gyrotropic mode [1], corresponding to ... More »
Let's Jam ! Jamming transition criticality in disordered media uncovered
( Version française) Researchers in the Instability and Turbulence Group of IRAMIS-SPEC have succeeded in experimentally characterizing the non linear mechanical response of an amorphous granular media across the jamming transition. They have demonstrated that global rigidity sets in ... More »
Breaking news! In disordered materials, the failure mode depends on crack velocity
J. Scheibert, C. Guerra, F. Célarié, D. Dalmas and D. Bonamy
Depending on their fracture mode, materials are traditionally gathered into three distinct classes: (i) ductile materials that like metals deform plastically before their fracture (ii) quasi-brittle materials such as rock or concrete, where "non-visible" damage starts to ... More »
Local susceptibility  and anisotropy in rare earth pyrochlores, seen by polarised neutrons
H. Cao, A. Gukasov, I. Mirebeau, P. Bonville, C. Decorse, and G. Dhalenne
In geometrically frustrated magnetic compounds, the ground state is the result of a subtle equilibrium between different energy terms. Exotic short range magnetic orders, like spin ices or spin liquids, may be stabilised, in the absence of any chemical disorder. Presently, many  ... More »
Multiferroic compounds for more efficient and smaller digital memories
Making still smaller and less power consuming digital memories for mobile electronics? Scientists from CNRS and University Paris Sud XI (Laboratory of Solid State Physics, CNRS / Univ. Paris-Sud 11 and Institut Néel) and CEA-IRAMIS come to demonstrate the feasibility, thanks to ... More »
Dislocation Lines Mingle with Supersolidity
Iouri Mukharsky, Andrei Penzev and Eric Varoquaux, Nanoeletronics group
If it truly does exist, a "supersolid" would represent a new state of matter that combines mechanical rigidity and superfluid properties. This would be a new phase of condensed matter, but whether such a state has indeed been discovered and how it can be reached is still far from clear. As reported ... More »
Another step towards an elementary quantum processor: accurate “single shot” readout of a superconducting quantum bit
F. Mallet, F. Ong, A. Palacios, F. Nguyen, P. Bertet, Denis Vion and D. Esteve
After the realization in 2002 of one of the first solid state quantum bits (qubits), scientists from the Quantronique IRAMIS-SPEC research group have performed a further step towards the realization of  an elementary quantum processor: the accurate and non destructive readout of such a ... More »
Multi-fonctional nanomagnets
Single molecule magnets grafted on carbon nanotubes : the first of its kind has been realized at the Molecular Chemistry and Materials Institute in Orsay (CNRS/University of Paris 11) in collaboration with the Institut Lavoisier de Versailles (CNRS/Université de Versailles ... More »
A new state of matter inside your computer ?
( Version française) We thought we knew transistor physics fairly well and in particular the millions of MOSFETs (Metal Oxyde Semi-conducteur Field Effect Transistor) which can be found at the core of our computers. However, as early as 1994, a new generation of very high mobility ... More »
STM observation of the superconducting proximity effect
H. le Sueur, P. Joyez, H. Pothier, C. Urbina, and D. Esteve
The Editors of the journal Physical Review Letters recently awarded the label "Editor's suggestion" to an article from the  Quantronics group of SPEC (Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics) : "Phase Controlled Superconducting Proximity Effect Probed by Tunneling ... More »
Universal behavior of the dynamics of slow crack growth
D. Bonamy and L. Ponson (SPCSI), D. Santucci (Fysik Institutt Oslo)
Fracture is a phenomenon of everyday life: it is observable at all scales of condensed matter, from the atomic scale (in nanostructures) to the scale of our planet marked by fractures in the continental plates. But, can we find a unifying model to describe the phenomenon? The dynamics of ... More »
Coexistence of ferroelectricity and magnetism in the multiferroic compound BiFeO3
Delphine Lebeugle, Dorothée Colson, Anne Forget, Michel Viret (IRAMIS/SPEC CEA-Saclay) Arsen Goukassov, Alexandre Bataille (IRAMIS/LLB CEA-Saclay) Magnetic materials are heavily used in the dynamic storage of information (hard disk drive, head for reading). For these applications, they are ... More »
Quand le mélange chaotique se heurte à un mur
Le mélange des fluides très visqueux intervient dans de nombreux procédés industriels, mais est également présent dans la vie courante. Pour mélanger une pâte à gâteau, par exemple, un enfant va intuitivement remuer les ingrédients avec une cuillère. Une équipe regroupant des scientifiques du ... More »
Transistors based on carbon nanotubes get faster and faster
Researchers at the Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnologie (IEMN / CNRS – Universités Lille 1 and Valenciennes, Institut supérieur de l’électronique et du numérique-ISEN) and  the Solid-state Physics Division at the French ... More »
First steps toward micro-imaging: NMR procedure with a 10-fold increase in sensitivity developed by the CEA
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is an indispensable technique for studying matter. It can be applied to medical imaging (MRI) to obtain 2D and 3D images of the human body. While it opens the door to a wealth of physicochemical information by harnessing the fundamental properties of matter, NMR ... More »
Leaves also fall in Amazonia!
M.-A. Dubois1, L. H. Emmons2, L. Cournac3, P. Chatelet4, N. C. A. Pitman5, V. Vilca5, & L.-F. del Aguila6
1CEA Saclay, DSM/DRECAM/Service de Physique de l ’Etat Condensé, L ’Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France 2Department of Zoology NHB 390 MRC 108, Smithsonian Institution, P.O.Box 37012,Washington, DC 20013-7012 USA 3CEA Cadarache, DSV/DEVM/Laboratoire d ... More »
Structure and control of the thermoelectric properties of cobaltates NaxCoO2
M. Roger1, D.J.P Morris2, D.A. Tennant3,4, M.J. Gutmann5, J.P. Goff2, J.-U. Hoffmann3, R. Feyerherm3, E. Dudzik3, D. Prabhakaran6, A.T. Boothroyd6, N. Shannon7, B. Lake3,4 & P.P. Deen8. 1Service de Physique de l’Etat Condensé (CNRS/MIPPU/URA 2464), DSM/DRECAM/SPEC, CEA Saclay, ... More »
The VKS2 experiment: Generation of a magnetic field by dynamo action in a turbulent flow (On the origin of the earth magnetic field...)
A. Chiffaudel, F. Daviaud, B. Dubrulle, C. Gasquet, R. Monchaux, V. Padilla, avec la participation de L. Marié et F. Ravelet, DSM/DRECAM/SPEC
Collaboration VKS : CEA – ENS Lyon – ENS Paris -
Many research teams aim at understanding of the origin and behavior of the magnetic field of planets and stars. The VKS1 collaboration (gathering researchers at CEA, CNRS, Ecoles normales supérieures in Lyon and Paris) has succeeded in generating a magnetic field from a highly turbulent ... More »
The non-conventional properties of quantum electronic circuits
J. Gabelli1, G. Fève1, J.-M. Berroir1, B. Plaçais1, A. Cavanna2, B. Etienne2, Y. Jin2, D. C. Glattli1,3
A mixed team from ENS / CNRS / CEA-Saclay (SPEC) of the Pierre Aigrain Laboratory has for the first time highlighted the remarkable behavior of an electronic circuit when its miniaturization is extreme. These results are published in the journal Science. Researchers have shown that the basic ... More »


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