Université de Strasbourg

Amparo Ruiz Carretero & Shu Seki

Biography - Amparo Ruiz Carretero

Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Amparo Ruiz Carretero, USIAS Fellow 2020Amparo Ruiz Carretero is a research scientist at assistant professor level at the Charles Sadron Institute. She studied chemistry at the University of Castilla–La Mancha (Spain), where she obtained her PhD on the application of sustainable chemistry strategies for the synthesis of multiple hydrogen-bonded systems in 2009, under the supervision of Professor Antonio de la Hoz and Dr. Ana Sánchez-Migallón. She spent half of her PhD in the group of Professor Bert Meijer and Professor Albert Schenning at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE, The Netherlands) working on DNA-templated self-assembly and fabrication of hierarchical p-n heterojunctions based on liquid crystals. Dr. Ruiz Carretero held post-doctoral positions in the groups of Professor Samuel I. Stupp (Northwestern University, USA), working on hydrogen-bonded organic photovoltaic devices and organic ferroelectric materials, and Professor Luisa De Cola (University of Strasbourg), where she worked on charge transport studies on self-assembled square planar Pt(II) complexes.

Dr. Ruiz Carretero obtained her current position at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in 2015 and joined the team SYCOMMOR (SYstèmes Complexes Moléculaires et Macromoléculaires ORganisés), where she leads a sub-group focused on unraveling the role of hydrogen-bonding in organic electronics. Her research interests include the study of hydrogen-bonded semiconductors, supramolecular chirality and the influence of magnetic fields in organic electronics.

Biography - Shu Seki

Condensed Matter Physical Chemistry, Kyoto University, Japan & USIAS Fellow at the Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Shu Seki, USIAS Fellow 2020Professor Shu Seki graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1991, and received a PhD from Osaka University in 2001. As a visiting scientist, he joined the Chemistry Division of the Argonne National Laboratory (USA) in 1995, and Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) in 2000. He was appointed as professor of chemistry at the Graduate School of Engineering of Osaka University in 2008 and has, since 2015, held the position of professor of physical chemistry in the Department of Molecular Engineering, Kyoto University.

His research interests focus on condensed matter physical chemistry, particularly of conjugated molecular/macromolecular materials, as well as spectroscopy techniques with a variety of electromagnetic wave probes.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015, and has published over 450 papers in journals such as Science, Nature Materials, Nature Chemistry, etc. until 2020.

Project - Guiding charge carriers through chiral assemblies

01/09/2020 - 31/12/2023

One of the main challenges of our generation is finding sustainable energy sources that meet the increasing energy demand. Solar energy is a promising solution since it is clean, cheap and accessible. Organic solar cells can be fabricated at low energy cost, even though they still present issues that need to be addressed. The project proposes to enhance the energy efficiency of solar cells by reducing charge recombination, which is a frequently occurring phenomenon in organic photovoltaic devices. When charge carriers are created upon light illumination they frequently fail to be efficiently transported, and therefore do not contribute to the performance of the photovoltaic device. To do so, the aim is to explore supramolecular chiral semiconductors, where a preferred spin can be transmitted through a determined handedness structure.

This phenomenon has been recently described as the chiral-induced spin selectivity (CISS) effect. The aim of the project is to study the CISS effect by employing a fast screening method that does not require the fabrication of entire photovoltaic devices. A combined technique joining contactless microwave spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance, pioneered by Professor Seki, will be used to perform full characterisation of spin states and charge carrier transport in simple thin films made of supramolecular chiral materials. Once the team has a good understanding of how molecular and supramolecular structure relates to the CISS effect, they can provide handles to the photovoltaics community to obtain superior devices. With an approach that uses chiral supramolecular fibres, Dr. Ruiz Carretero and Professor Seki foresee that the electrons and holes are efficiently transported after exciton splitting. In addition, they propose to accelerate the optimisation of the CISS effect in chiral assemblies by employing a rapid screening technique.

Post-doc biography - Kyeong-Im Hong

Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Kyeong-Im Hong

Kyeong-Im Hong graduated from the Department of Chemistry of Chungnam National University (South Korea). Under the supervision of Professor Woo-Dong Jang, she received her master’s degree (2016) and doctoral degree (2020) from the department of Chemistry at Yonsei University (South Korea). Her research focused on supramolecular chemistry-based functional materials. The title of her thesis was “Applications of Molecular Host systems for Micro-environmental Detection and Catalysis”. She continued within the group of Professor Woo-Dong Jang as a post-doctoral researcher from September 2020 to February 2022.

In March 2022, Kyeong-Im Hong subsequently joined the Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), as part of the group led by Dr. Amparo Ruiz-Carretero, to work with her on a USIAS project “Guiding charge carriers through chiral assemblies”. The main objective of the project is to improve the efficiency of organic photovoltaic materials through understanding the relationship between supramolecular chiral materials and spin selectivity (CISS effect).

Before joining the group of Dr. Ruiz-Carretero, she investigated host-guest chemistry to develop artificial molecular receptors, whose functions were controlled by non-covalent interaction. Based on her knowledge of supramolecular chemistry, Kyeong-Im Hong’s research areas were also extended to develop functional materials to be applied for supramolecular catalysis, stimuli-responsive materials, and biological applications.

Post-doc biography - Ana Maria García Fernández

Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Ana M. García Fernández

Ana M. García Fernández acquired her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) in 2011, with First Class Honours. She obtained her PhD in organic chemistry from the Complutense University (Madrid, Spain) in 2015, focused on the design, synthesis and evaluation of phosphodiesterases inhibitors as novel potential drugs for the treatment of central nervous system disorders. During her PhD, she did two short stays: for the first, she joined Professor Luque’s group at the University of Barcelona in 2013 to perform molecular modeling and docking studies. In 2014, during her second stay, she spent five months with the group of Professor Bräse (KIT, Germany) thanks to a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

In 2016, she joined the group of Professor Marchesan in Trieste (Italy) as postdoctoral researcher, where she worked on ultrashort heterochiral peptides that self-assemble into supramolecular hydrogels. During that period, she secured funding for two years, in the form of a Ramón Areces Foundation fellowship, to investigate the potential of those heterochiral peptides to interfere with the formation of pathological amyloids. In January 2019, she joined the group of Dr. Torbeev in the Institute of Supramolecular Science and Engineering (ISIS) at the University of Strasbourg in France, where her research was focused on the chemical synthesis of intrinsically disordered polypeptides, to study their supramolecular self-assembly and aggregation into amyloids.

She moved to the Charles Sadron Institute (ICS) at the same university, to join the group of Dr. Ruiz-Carretero in September 2020. Her main research interest is the preparation and multiscale characterisation of supramolecular materials based on H-bond containing small molecules and peptides. One of her main objectives is to understand the relationship between chemical structure, chirality and self-assembling behaviour in order to improve the efficiency of current systems in the field of organic electronics for applications for photovoltaic panels.

She left Strasbourg in December 2021 to take up a new post at the University of Trieste in Italy.

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