Sophie Carenco | CNRS Researcher at Sorbonne University

(Nano)Chemistry, inside and out

My research is centered on the design, synthesis and applications of nanoparticles using the tools of molecular and materials chemistry.

News and highlights

Article out: Cerium(IV) as you never saw it

While the literature contains tens of protocols to prepare cerium oxide nanoparticles from Ce(III) precursors, there is still an open question regarding the time at which the cerium oxidation occurs and the role of hydroxide phases in this process. This article identifies an oxyhydroxide phase of Ce(IV) of the chemical formula CeO(OH)2 as a key intermediate and proposes a crystal structure for it. Read the article.

With: Rémi, Sophie


Post-doc position opening

There is an opening to join the group as a post-doctoral fellow, from September 2023, on the "Modeling Surface Reactions on Ligand-Covered Metallic Nanoparticles". The project is in the scope of ERC NanoFLP and will be done in co-supervision with Dr. David Loffreda (ENS de Lyon).

The candidate should have a a good knowledge of DFT applied to materials science and chemistry or catalysis. He/she may have already worked on the theoretical modeling of metallic nanoparticles at various scales or methodologies.

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Post-doc position

New article: Influence of the Cobalt Active Site Neighbors in NiCo Nanocatalysts for Phosphine-Assisted Silane Activation

NiCo nanoparticles are active catalysts at room temperature for Si−H bond activation. We designed nanoparticles with a nickel core and a limited amount of cobalt surface sites to clarify which of the two metals was the active site and if the neighbouring atoms influenced the reaction efficiency. The trend in catalytic activity is consistent with cobalt being the active site, and it shows a higher activity when its immediate neighbours are cobalt atoms. Read the article.

With: Anthony, Sophie


Post-doc position opening

There is an opening to join the group as a post-doctoral fellow, from May 2023, on the "Metal-Containing Nanoparticles for the Catalytic Activation of Small Molecules". The project is in the scope of ERC NanoFLP.

The candidate should have a background in catalysis, homogeneous or heterogeneous, using nanoparticles or organometallic complexes. He/she should have a background in inorganic chemistry and materials science.

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Post-doc position

New article: Phosphine-Catalyzed Activation of Phenylsilane for Benzaldehyde Reduction

Here, we studied the organocatalyzed hydrosilylation of benzaldehyde with a phosphine, introduced at 10 mol %, and phenylsilane at room temperature. The best results of the screening over 13 phosphines and phosphites were obtained with linear trialkylphoshines (PMe3, PnBu3, POct3), indicating the importance of their nucleophilicity. The products of the hydrosilylation were identified, allowing a monitoring of the concentration in the different species. Read the article.

With: Rémi, Alberto, Cyprien, Sophie


January 13, 2023: Cyprien PhD Defense

Cyprien defended his PhD thesis about "Borane adsorption on MgO nanoparticles for increased catalytic activity in the cycloaddition of CO2 on epoxides".

Congrats to the new doctor!


Article out! Thin film of Lanthanide Oxysulfide Nanoplates

We recently managed to form thin films of lanthanide oxysulfide nanoparticles using colloidal suspensions. The films are of optical quality and the bandgap of the nanoparticles is preserved. The thickness can be finely tuned using various concentration or multiple layer deposition. Read the article.

With: Léna, Cédric, Natacha, Sophie


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Featured Results

Make them safer

It's a small step for the world of nanoparticles, but a big step for our beloved oxysulfides nanoplates: in this work, we propose to evaluate, in a very preliminary approach, some of the interactions of the nanoparticles with macrophage cells. We turned on the lamp (visible light) and monitored the impact in the production of radicals. Read for yourself.


Did you say NanoFLP?

We have been proposing for a while to use metal nanoparticles as partners in Frustrated Lewis Pairs. Now, we found that nickel-cobalt nanoparticles associated to well-chosen phosphines likely form such a pair, based on the correlation between Si-H bond activation and the Tolman cone angle of the phosphine: only a tiny range of steric hindrance is suitable, and it is related to the silane bulkiness. We believe we nailed it. Make your own opinion.


Molybdenum mapped out

Molybdenum is a key element of the energy transition. X-ray absortion spectroscopy at the L-edge is an amazing way to analyze it in solids, liquids, composites, etc. Here, we wrote some simple guidelines to interpret the data and we provided a consistent series of spectra for well-known, and less-know, Mo compounds. Read our map.


Green deal on nanocarbides

Here is a dream reaction: no solvent, no waste (except salt), no heat input. Check out how we produced a variety of metal carbide nanoparticles supported on graphite or acetylene black. We also discuss secondary formation of hydrides, metals and oxides using a simple adiabatic approximation.


Water matters

We revisited copper nanoparticles synthesis and showed that, depending on the precursor, the amount of water produced in situ is slightly different. This is enough to modulate the catalytic processes that consume the solvent and reducing agent of the reaction: oleylamine. Read how and why.


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Contact information

Sorbonne Université - LCMCP
Tour 34-44, bureau 412, CC174
4 Place Jussieu
75252 Paris Cedex 05, FRANCE
sophie.carenco* (* is @)
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