Principal Investigator: Sébastien Merkel

Sébastien Merkel is a professor in the Unité Matériaux et Transformations at the Université de Lille, France. He is also the current president for Mineral and Rock Physics and council member at the American Geophysical Union.

His research focuses on understanding the dynamics and formation of the deeper portions of the Earth. He performs experiments under the pressure and temperature of the Earth’s interior to study microstructures in polycrystals, their mechanical behaviour, and their relation to phase transformations. He then integrates the experimental results into polycrystal numerical models to understand wave propagation through complex microstructures and compare the results of these models to seismic observations. Sébastien Merkel is the principal investigator of the ERC Project HotCores and will devote most of his research time to the project.

More information at Sébastien Merkel's homepage and live news on his Twitter feed.

Senior researcher and engineer

Julien Chantel is a Research Engineer for the Université de Lille at the Unité Matériaux et Transformations. Julien Chantel obtained a PhD at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut, University of Bayreuth, Germany, followed by post-doctoral fellowships at the Université Clermont Auvergne, France, and Case Western University, United States. He is an expert in high pressure mineral physics and on performing experiments at synchrotron sources. He will assist the HotCore project for all experiments and staff supervision.

Nadège Hilairet is a Research Scientist for CNRS at the Unité Matériaux et Transformations. She has worked on topics such as subduction zones minerals plasticity, high pressure / high temperature deformation experiments, modeling of polycrystal behavior, and the origin of deep Earthquakes. She will assist the HotCore project for deformation experiments, the postmortem sample characterization, and student supervision.

Students and post-docs

Hélène Ginestet is a PhD student at the Université de Lille. First trained in Earth science, she then followed a curriculum in general physics, which she is concluded with a master's degree entitled Matter, Molecules, and their Environments in 2023. Hélène Ginestet joined the HotCores project in February 2023 for her master's internship. She then continued for a PhD  at the Université de Lille, Unité Matériaux et Transformations since September 2023. She is working on the properties of metals at high pressure and high temperature through experiments at the European XFEL.

Léo Carin is a master student at the Université de Limoges and ENSIL-ENSCI engineering school. He joined to project for four months starting in February 2024. He will be in charge of starting experiments with our new torsion deformation device, which we installed a year ago. He will then be in charge of designing procedures for observing the samples in electron microscopy facility and extract as much information as we would like.

Aeryn Meurillon is a student for a technical degree at the Technology Institute of the Université de Lille. She joined the project for 2 and 1/2 months starting April 2024. She will help us starting visco-elastic properties measurements on metals with our new instruments.