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Labex CHARMMMAT - Chemistry of multifunctional molecular architectures and materials

Laboratoire d'excellence (labex)   / Laboratoire d'excellence (labex) Article published on 10 January 2020 , Updated on 18 May 2020

Chemistry, physics and computer science to meet the expectations of society regarding the treatment of CO2 and pollutants.

Logo Charmmmat


A project structured around materials sciences and bio-inspired homogeneous catalysis

The CHARMMMAT LabEx was created for two fields: materials sciences and bio-inspired homogeneous catalysis. CHARMMMAT brings together more than 600 elite chemists, computer scientists and physicists from the Université Paris-Sud, UVSQ, Ecole Polytechnique, CNRS, ENS Paris-Saclay, CEA, École Centrale Paris and Université d'Evry-Val-d'Essonne.

Areas of research to complement other LabExes

The scientific themes at CHARMMMAT are based on the development of new molecular architectures and materials, in order to provide various aspects that offer new solutions or crucial breakthroughs, in terms of performance, for targeted applications related to energy and environment, health and computer science.

CHARMMMAT constitutes one of the foundations in the field of "biological chemistry" at the Université Paris-Saclay and is very much at the centre of the strategic cross-disciplinary initiatives “Innovative Materials" and "Biotechnology and Bio-sourced/Bio-inspired Chemistry." The themes and approaches in each project perfectly complement the NanoSaclay LabEx and the LaSIPS LabEx, as well as both IEED IPVF and Molcell and LERMIT LabExes.

Four subject areas

1. Chemistry for renewable energy and environmental challenges

This research area will be devoted in part to the treatment of pollutants and their ultimate transformation into carbon dioxide by successive and effective oxidation reactions, as well as to the capture, purification and recovery of carbon dioxide in synthetic liquid fuel or bio-sourced polymers.

2. Multi-catalysis

Multi-catalysis aims to provide a compartmentalisation strategy for the synthesis of complex molecules inspired by multiple enzymatic reactions. This ambitious challenge will require cascade reactions to be designed that involve structurally different supported catalytic species.

3. Intelligent hybrid crystalline solids

The area of intelligent hybrid crystalline solids will use the potential of mixed metal-organic compounds (MOCs) to control the physical response of materials for transformation and/or detection objectives. In this context, such sensitive versatile architectures with molecular imprints are an asset for selective pollutant capture and their degradation or the design of effective detectors.

4. Activated materials

The fourth area of research concerns photo- or electro-active materials. It aims to identify and synthesise new material phases, which conceive and produce new organised and highly efficient structures and devices, with a systematic effort to control the organisation of matter.

Cross-disciplinary initiatives

Cross-disciplinary initiative are aimed at developing concepts, tools, techniques and processes, and evaluating various strategies – sometimes with a high risk – aimed at producing breakthroughs in the areas covered by the four subject areas.

1. "Modelling, characterisation and simulation"

The transdisciplinary "modelling, characterisation and simulation" initiative addresses the design of molecular architectures through a structural approach at different hierarchical levels. The aim is to provide ad hoc models based on multi-scale approaches, to develop effective algorithms to identify the structures observed, particularly in terms of their multifunctional properties, and to offer new avenues for developing structures.

2. "Processing and assembly"

This initiative aims to transform various kinds of materials into thin films or to functionalise surfaces at the molecular level, so as to design devices that will target needs in the fields of energy (catalysis, lighting, photovoltaic conversion) and the environment (pollutant degradation, mitigation).

A chemistry education program

The chemistry education program LabEx consists of a group of co-accredited, interdisciplinary and professional international master’s degrees, some of which are jointly conducted with other LabExes. Several innovative education initiatives are already being developed at both the L3 (three-year undergraduate degree] and Master’s level. They directly benefit from CHARMMMAT's strong areas of expertise, such as "emerging selective catalysis", "emerging and innovative physical chemistry and spectroscopy techniques" and "modelling in materials science".

In addition, joint doctoral courses, which benefit from the specialised expertise of LabEx partners, will be developed in the context of a forthcoming integration into the graduate program at the Université Paris-Saclay.

Innovation and development at the centre of the CHARMMMAT LabEx

Joint research projects with private companies will be encouraged, particularly, through the establishment of a special "technology development" program. The goal is to encourage the application of patents and licenses on new technologies, materials, devices or processes developed within the LabEx.

This program will be led by an Innovation and Technology Transfer Committee, which will work in collaboration with existing technology transfer services at various institutions associated with the future SATT (Société d’accélération du transfert de technologies – Technology Transfer Acceleration Company).