Sophie Carenco | News and Highlights

News and Highlights

Oct 7: PhD Defense of Rémi André

Rémi defended today his PhD thesis, titled "Tailored routes to metal-containing nanoparticles for hydrogenation reactions in solution: surface design for H2 activation", in front of an enthousiastic jury and audience.



Sept 29: European Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry

Rémi presented online his recent work on metal carbide nanoparticles at this international conference broadly interested in a more sustainable world.

With: Rémi


Sept 24: Journées de Chimie de Coordination

Antoine had the chance to present in person his work on copper nanoparticles stabilized by NHCs at the national Journées de Chimie de Coordination.

With: Antoine


Sept 23: GECAT invited webinar

In relation with the Young Researcher Award from the Catalysis division of the French Chemical Society, I was invited to present our latest results at the "Jeudis du GECAT", a national webinar series that appeared in 2020 and is very successful amongst colleagues. This was a great exchange with the broad catalysis community, thanks all for your feedbacks.


Article on Nickel-Cobalt NanoFLP

Very happy to share our first publication proposing the concept of NanoFLP, that is, nanoparticles as partners in Frustrated Lewis Pairs. We investigated the activation of Si-H bonds by Lewis acid NiCo nanoparticles and a series of phosphines as Lewis base. We demonstrate the key effect of the Tolman cone angle on the success of the reaction, which strongly suggests that we achieved the formation of a NanoFLP in the colloidal solution. This is the key concept of ERC Starting Grant NanoFLP, a project that started in 2018. Read the paper.

With: Alberto, Sophie


Sept 13-15, 2021: Meeting on Nanosciences Advances

This week, I am participating to an onsite (!) conference about nanosciences. This is a highly interdisciplinary week under the auspices of the CNano network, in which I am presenting our recent paper on metal carbide nanoparticles.

MNA 2021

Sept 1-3, 2021: WiFO conference from the German Chemical Society (online)

I was invited to give a talk at this international forum organized by the GdCh, in the symposium concerning phosphorus chemistry. A great opportunity to share our latest results on metal phosphide nanoparticles!

WiFO 2021

Article on Molybdenum L-edge XAS

Compared with Mo K-edge, the Mo L-edge is less often employed to analyze materials, catalysts or processes. In this article, we provide guidelines to measurement and a series of reference spectra, including some from air-sensitive compounds. This work was done with the team of B. Lassalle-Kaiser at synchrotron Soleil. Read the paper.

With: Alexy, Rémi, Cyprien, Kim, Sophie


July 9, 2021: Award from the French Chemical Society

I am honored to be the recipient of the "Researcher Award" from the Solid State Chemistry Division of the French Chemical Society for year 2021. This yearly national award exists since 1977 and distinguished a number of chemists: here, the list of awardees.

Many thanks to all the colleagues involved in our various projects since I joined CNRS in 2014!

Accepted article on Nanocarbides

In this work, we discuss the solid-state metathesis reaction between metal chlorides and potassium dispersed in carbon, forming nano-carbides along other phases such as metals and hydrides.We decipher the phase speciation in relation with the experimental parameters to propose a unifying mechanism. Read the paper.

With: Rémi, Florian, Alexy, Guillaume, Sophie


July 5-8, 2021: Indisciplinary school on Nanosciences

This week, Léna participated to the annual summer school organized by the C'Nano network. She had the opportunity to learn about all branches of nanosciences and also to present a poster about her own work.

With: Léna

July 1-2, 2021: GecomMini (online)

Another online conference this month. I was invited to give a keynote to this event organized each year around coordination chemistry (usually under the name "Gecom-Concoord"). I discussed in particular the reaction mechanisms leading to metal-containing nanoparticles, how we can design them and how we should monitor the nanoparticles for optimal development of their reactivity.

June 29-30, 2021: Online conference of the Catalysis division

In relation with the online SCF21 conference, was held the symposium of the Catalysis division. Rémi and Antoine had the opportunity to discuss their respective works in the framework of ERC project NanoFLP and beyond.

With: Rémi, Antoine

June 24, 2021: Plenary conference for RJ-SCF

In relation with the online SCF21 conference, I was invited by the Young Chemist Network to give a plenary conference in their symposium.

Great chance to share our latest results about nanoparticle design and reactivity and discuss with the younger generation.

Accepted paper about Copper Nanoparticles Synthesis

Our work dealing with the analysis of organic side-reaction during the synthesis of copper nanoparticles was just accepted. In this article, we also discuss the further catalytic activity of the copper nanoparticles formed in situ. Read the paper.

With: Antoine, Sophie


June 8, 2021: Nanosafety in l'Actualité Chimique

The young chemist netwwork of SCF just published an editorial about nanoparticles safety in l'Actualité Chimique. I was interviewed to try and shed some light on this tricky topic. Check the article.

June 1-2, 2021: GECAT conference

The conference was held online with many talks in the field of catalysis. Excellent opportunity for Rémi and Cyprien to share their work in an oral communication!

With: Rémi, Cyprien, Sophie

June 1st, 2021: DivCat Young Investigator Award

I was awarded this year the "Young Investigator award", shared with Thibault Cantat, from the Division of Catalysis of the French Chemical Society. I am honored to share the award with Thibault and thankful to the colleagues (older and younger) with whom I conduct research on a daily basis and through long-term collaborations.

April 6-12, 2021: NAP-XPS at Soleil

We are now performing near-ambient-pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy at TEMPO-B. This week, we look at a selection of nanoparticles stabilized by organic ligand for CO2 activation. Thanks to Jean-Jacques Gallet and Fabrice Bournel for hosting us on the beamline!

With: Antoine, Anthony, Rémi, Alexy, Alberto, Cyprien and Sophie

April 4, 2021: Paper accepted

This article is from the consortium Module-Cat, funded by ANR, and in collaboration with the team of Prof. K. Kuroda in Waseda University. We explored silylation reaction in lamellar octosilicate. We were able to covalently graft a number of functional groups in the interlayer space.

Read the paper.


March 23-25, 2021: Operando spectroscopy on nanoparticles

This week we are at ROCK beamline in SOLEILto run some colloidal catalysis and follow the structural changes of the nanocatalysts using hard x-ray absorption spectroscopy. A very nice interlude in the third covid-19 lockdown!

With: Rémi, Alexy, Alberto, Anthony and Sophie

Jan. 22, 2021: Invited Webinar at ICP, Orsay

I gave a webinar for the Institut de Chimie Physique from Université Paris Saclay. I discussed our recent results: "Inside and Out Reactive Nanoparticles : Journey from Synthesis to Spectroscopy". Great opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues expert in spectroscopy and also photocatalysis... big cheers to the organizers!


Dec 11, 2020: European Innovation Summit

I will participate to the event from Knowledge for Innovation (K4I) in a session titled "the role of early career professionnals in driving sustainable innovation". Our pannel will discuss several aspects, from leadership to entrepreneurship, and how blue-sky research is related to innovation. Follow us here on friday at 11 am.


Dec 8, 2020: Nanoparticles & Conspiracy theories

In a long interview for the French radio France Inter, I answer to journalist Xavier de la Porte, who was curious as why nanoparticles are often mentionned in conspiracy theories. A nice opportunity to discuss the perception of nanoparticles, and more generally, of chemistry. Also, a chance to explain what we do in the labs and why I find this fascinating. Podcast in French.


Dec 1, 2020: Joining the Early Career Advisory Board of ChemPlusChem

Supporting Chemistry in Europe and promotting the involvment of early career chemists in policy making at all levels are two key actions I am happy to participate in. Joigning the Early Career Advisory Board of ChemPlusChem, a journal edited by ChemistryEurope, is a great way to do both. This is the second ECAB that I join, after these of ACS Catalysis. Great discussions ahead!

GDCh URegensburg

Nov 9, 2020: Online Symposium of GDCh at University of Regensburg

At the invitation of German colleagues from GDCh, the German society of chemistry, I gave a talk during their online symposium organized on the topic of phosphorus chemistry. I presented our research program on metal phosphide nanoparticles.

In a period void of regular meetings, this was a welcome opportunity to get feedback from the community on our most recent work. Thanks to the organizing committee.

GDCh URegensburg

Oct 30, 2020: Second lockdown begins

Six months after the first lockdown, here we are again, with suppressed travel rights and strong limitations on our professional and personal lives. Hopefully, this time our students and post-docs are able to access the lab for a few days pe


Oct 28, 2020: Bilateral Workshop with U. Sydney

This morning, I am presenting works from the Institute in a joint catalysis workshop from Sorbonne Université and University of Sydney.

A nice opportunity to share our work with distant colleagues and learn about their expertise as well!

U Sydney

Oct 7, 2020: Congrats to Dr. Kim Le

Today, Kim defended her PhD, titled "Oxygen Reduction Reaction with Molybdenum-containing Oxysulfide Nanoparticles: from Colloidal Synthesis to Surface Activity" in front of a (half)-full room and with more public online. She is now a Doctor of Sorbonne Université: congrats!


Sept 17-21, 2020: Measuring Phosphorus K-edge at LUCIA

Still working with colloidal solutions of nanoparticles, we are measuring the P K-edge in order to monitor surface ligands.

This edge is in the so-called "tender X-ray domain", hence our venue at LUCIA! We are using liquid cells closed by thin membranes that separate the solution from the vacuum of the chamber. This allows the X-ray photons to go in and out the liquid.

Thanks to Benedikt Lassalle and the Soleil staff for welcoming us in the midst of the Covid crisis.

With: Alexy, Alberto, Cyprien, Rémi, Léna, Anthony, Sophie


June 30-July 3, 2020: Back on SAMBA

This week we are studying XANES and EXAFS of air-sensitive colloidal solutions at SAMBA beamline. The picture shows our air-tight setup. Great to be back to SOLEIL after the lockdown period! Huge thanks to Andrea and Guillaume for making the experiment possible at short notice.

With: Alexy, Alberto, Antoine, Sophie


May 11, 2020: End of lockdown in France

While the worst has past, universities and labs will take some time to reopen their doors. Meanwhile, we have now a well-established routine with one NanoSurf meeting per week and good practices for teleworking.


April 28, 2020: Article in ChemNanoMat

We have been interested for a while by phase control in metal phosphide nanoparticles... now we achieved it for iron! A new P4-containing molecule for the synthesis, PDF for the structural investigation, and HER properties as a perspective. This project involved several colleagues from LCMCP, Collège de France and ETH Zürich. Read the paper.

With: Florian, Rémi, Capucine, Sophie, and many others


April 27, 2020: Online jury for a binational PhD Defence

Interesting experience today: I was a referee for the PhD Defence of M. Alves-Favaro (IRCE Lyon and Aachen University). This was a binational thesis in "cotutelle" with the two juries runing parallel evaluations. Due to Covid-19, the whole process happened online.


April 14, 2020: Interview for ChemCatChem

Following the Clara Immerwahr Award, I was interviewed by the journal ChemCatChem (part of Chemistry Europe). Read here.


March 31, 2020: LCMCP Webinar

Rémi was the speaker of the third LCMCP webinar. He presented his recent results in two directions: metal carbides and metal oxides, in the context of colloidal catalysis.

With: Rémi


March 31, 2020: Review on Metal Oxysulfides

"Metal oxysulfides: from bulk compounds to nanomaterials": Everything you always wanted to know about these exquisite inorganic compounds, now published in an open-access journal.

With: Clément, Sophie


March 16, 2020: the lab is in lockdown, we keep up online!

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemy, university are closing their doors. We keep the non-experimental activities going on (with adjustments): lab webinars, nanosurfs, project meetings, etc. The community is mobilised to help as much as possible at the local and national scale.


March 12, 2020: LCMCP Seminar

Antoine presented his work at the lab in the weekly seminar series. He discussed copper-containing nanoparticles in the context of sustainable chemistry.

With: Antoine


March 4-7, 2020: At ROCK beamline

This week, we are running experiments on the mechanism of formation of metal oxide and metal nanoparticles. We use the amazing Quick-EXAFS setup of ROCK beamline to measure XAS in solution during heating. Huge thanks to our colleagues on the beamline (especially: Valérie Briois and Laurent Barthe) for setting up the operando cell and helping us achieve the experiments!

With: Alexy, Rémi, Antoine, Alberto, Cyprien, Sophie


Feb. 28, 2020: Capturing Carbide Chemistry

Thanks to our colleague from the movie archives of CNRS, we captured a series of experiments on video, with professional quality. Now we will analyze these data and compare the reactions two by two!

With: Rémi, Sophie


Feb. 26, 2020: Workshop at Collège de France

Prof. Clément Sanchez organized a workshop on the broad topic of "Chimie Douce". I was invited to talk about "Nanoparticules minérales : des molécules aux matériaux".

Check the full program | Watch the video.


Feb. 20, 2020: News from the Young Chemists

In relation with the IUPAC2019 conference held in Paris, read about the Young Chemists Symposium and the General Assembly of IYCN in Chemistry International.

You can also check our earlier article about the symposium in l'Actualité Chimique.


Feb. 13-14, 2020: Visit to Berlin

In relation with the Clara Immerwahr award, I spent two days in Berlin, discussing with colleagues of TU Berlin, U. Potsdam and the Fritz Haber Institute about their work and how we could build new collaborations. I also had the opportunity to meet other women in chemistry (PhD students as well as colleagues)... nice continuation of the GWB2020 event the day before in Paris!


Feb. 12, 2020: Global Women Breakfast

This year again, a Global Women Breakfast was organized at Sorbonne Université by Dr. Lydia Sosa-Vargas and colleagues, with the strong support of the Chemistry Department: a unique opportunity to network and discuss about Women in Chemistry! I also participated to a round table about leadership and the glass ceiling.


Feb. 3, 2020: Video at SOLEIL

Let's embark in a tour of Soleil synchrotron and participate with us to a run on LUCIA! We were interviewed along with Benedikt Lassalle, the beamline scientist, about our experiments last July. Watch the video! (english subtitles available)

With: Kim, Alexy, Rémi, Cyprien, Sophie


Jan. 22-24, 2020: Journées Surfaces et Interfaces

This national conference was held this year at Sorbonne Université. It gathered a multidisciplinary community: surface sciences, solid-state physics, soft matter, metallurgy, nanosciences... I was invited to give a talk about nanocatalysis, in which I emphasized the role of ligands in defining and adjusting the surface nature.


Jan. 16-17, 2020: Soleil User Meeting

I was invited to present the complementary input of a range of spectroscopies for the study of lanthanide oxysulfide nanoparticles at the 15th User Meeting of Soleil synchrotron. A great opportunity to keep in touch with this multidisciplinary community and learn more about advanced characterizations!


Jan. 9, 2020 : Accepted Article on Gadolinium Oxysulfide Nanoparticles

We knew for years that sodium ions were mandatory to the formation of colloidal Gd2O2S nanoparticles... but we finally uncovered why! Read the story.

With: Clément, Anh-Minh, Kim, Xavier and Sophie


Jan. 9, 2020: LCMCP Seminar

Alberto will be presenting his PhD work (done at CEA Saclay) at the lab in the weekly seminar series. He will talk about catalytic isotope exchange in organic molecules for the development of drugs.

With: Alberto


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