Spatialized optical thermometry to image the coupling between flow and heat transport processes in geological fractures

Geosciences Rennes (UMR6118)

24 May 2023
Job Information

Geosciences Rennes (UMR6118)
Research Field
Environmental science » Ecology
Researcher Profile
Recognised Researcher (R2)
Leading Researcher (R4)
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Established Researcher (R3)
Application Deadline
22 Jun 2023 – 22:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract
Job Status
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

We are pleased to announce a 2-years postdoc position at University of Rennes, France on the modelling of heat transport processes in the subsurface. This position is offered in the frame of the recently funded ERC starting grant “CONCRETER” (Groundwater flow CONtrols on CRitical ZonE).

Understanding heat transport processes in the subsurface is central to many environmental, geological and industrial processes. This includes geothermal applications, near-field thermal effects in radioactive waste disposals, urban heat islands and quantification of surface water‐groundwater interactions. Groundwater flow plays a key role in the distribution of heat at different scales. However, while this key role has been generally recognized, existing modeling frameworks have largely sidestepped the complexities associated with the heterogeneity in groundwater flow present at a wide range of spatial scales. The major scientific obstacle that prevents accurate understanding of the impact of subsurface heterogeneity in hydraulic and thermal properties on heat transport is related to our inability to image the hidden interaction between flow and heat transport processes at the pore/fracture scale [Heinze and Pastore, 2023, ].

Recent studies raise questions regarding the relevance of classical models, i.e., models misrepresenting the structural heterogeneity, for modelling heat transport in the subsurface. Thus, in fractured media, our recent studies questioned the validity of the classical parallel plate fracture conceptualization [Klepikova et al., 2016, ; Klepikova et al., 2021, ]. This project aims to examine the conditions in natural saturated fractured media under which classical formalisms, i.e., disregarding structural heterogeneity, apply and determine when they are expected to fail, and laboratory experiments are unique assets to tackle this issue. This raises technical challenges as current experimental techniques, based on point (sensor) temperature measurements, do not allow capturing the interplay between temperature gradients and 3D flow topologies. In this project, high resolution optical monitoring of the time-evolving temperature field will be achieved by a phosphor thermometry technique [Stelter et al., 2021, ]. The method will be applied to image the spatial distribution of temperature in rough geological fractures and to investigate the effects 3-D fracture geometry has on the scaling of heat recovery in both space and time.

Specific Requirements


Research Field – Geosciences or Physics or Environmental science

Education Level – PhD


– Sound and quantitative understanding of fluid mechanics

– Experience with computer programming /scripting (Python, R, Matlab) is an advantage

– Applicants must be proficient in both written and oral English

– Experience in fluid flow modelling in geological media is an advantage

– Applicants must be able to work independently and in interdisciplinary teams.

Additional Information
Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Geosciences Rennes (UMR6118)

Where to apply





View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover//motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

Job Location