Equipe SMiLES

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Spectroscopie, Modélisation, Interfaces pour L’Environnement et la Santé

The SMiLES group is developping an interdisciplinary research, at the frontier between physico-chemistry of materials, modeling, instrumentation and medical applications.

Our scientific activity relies on the skills of spectroscopists, physico-chemists and theorists. The complementarity of our different scientific backgrounds results in a strong synergy between members to address major scientific issues in the field of hybrid materials, both synthetic and natural. The covered scientific domains and problematics are diverse and include biomineralization, confinement in nanopores, self-assembly, dynamics at interfaces…

Several classes of materials are at the heart of our scientific concerns such as:

(i) Calcified tissues (bone, nacre, urchin spines or pathological calcifications) are biogenic hybrids materials made of minerals (calcium phosphates, carbonates or oxalates) associated to an organic matrix. The understanding of their ultrastructure and formation is crucial on a fundamental point-of-view but also to develop bioinspired materials.

(ii) The design of (hybrid)-porous oxide materials are at the heart of modern Material Science. The development of such functional materials depends on the comprehension of their physico-chemical characteristics such as the physical confinement induced by the porosity or the organic-inorganic interaction at their interfaces. We favor global approaches that combine experiments and numerical modelling.

(iii) The specific behavior and role of the organic component alone are specifically addressed. We investigate both the structure and dynamics of synthetic polymers and natural lipids, these latter being developed in view of a circular chemistry approach, to identify the underlying concepts of soft condensed-matter physics (e.g. self-assembly, confinement) in view of a rational design of new hybrid materials.

Our strength relies on the use of a multidisciplinary physico-chemical and numerical approaches employed at the most advanced level; this includes the use of a broad panel of characterization techniques such as:

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance:

  • Advanced methods in solid-state NMR
  • Micro-coil instrumentation
  • Dynamic nuclear polarization
  • Xenon hyperpolarization
  • Diffusion (PFG MAS) and imaging

Radiation-matter interaction using large-scale x-ray and neutron sources (e.g., synchrotron), including techniques like:

  • SAXS
    • in-situ (time and/or stimuli-resolved)
    • Microfocused beams
    • Coupling to other techniques (e.g., rheology)
  • SANS
  • EXAFS

Cryogenic electron microscopy (Cryo-TEM)

Check out our on-going scientific projects !
Theme 1: Structure and interfaces in (bio)minerals, hybrids and soft materials
Theme 2: Local and translational dynamics
Theme 3: NMR and sensitivity