Université de Strasbourg

Pierre Mobian

Biography - Pierre Mobian

Complex Matter Chemistry (CMC), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Pierre Mobian, USIAS Fellow 2020Pierre Mobian received a doctorate in coordination chemistry from the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg in 2003. His thesis, which was carried out under the direction of Professor Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Professor Jean-Marc Kern, focused on the synthesis of molecular machines that set in motion when exposed to light. He then joined Professor Jérôme Lacour's team at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, for a two-year post-doctoral fellowship to synthesise organic enantiopure cations. After another year as a post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory led by Professor Jean-Pierre Sauvage, once more in the field of molecular machines, he was appointed, in 2006, as lecturer within the team of Professor Marc Henry. Since his appointment, he has developed a controlled chemistry of titanium(IV) that can be applied to three main areas: the creation of self-assembled architectures, the formation of oxo-clusters for hybrid materials and the development of anti-cancer drugs. His scientific interests are very broad, and include coordination chemistry, organic chemistry, molecular chirality and material chemistry.

In 2017, Dr. Mobian obtained the habilitation à diriger des recherches (accreditation to lead research). He was a visiting professor at two Japanese universities in 2018: the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Nagoya University. He has recently been involved in three substantial scientific projects, and is involved in the management of the degree programme at the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Strasbourg.

Project – Enantioselective synthesis of metal oxides from oxo-clusters generated inside chiral self-assembled organic templates

01/11/2020 - 31/07/2022

Metal oxides or mixed metal oxides are a major class of inorganic materials, which display a wide spectrum of physical properties of technical importance, such as metallic conductivity, superconductivity, ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, ferroelectricity, antiferroelectricity, pyroelectricity or piezoelectricity. Most of these properties, like ferroelectricity, pyroelectricity, or piezoelectricity, are a direct result of the symmetry of their crystalline networks; more than 500 oxides with a noncentrosymmetric crystal structure have been reported in the literature. Among these noncentrosymmetric crystal oxides, many oxides (around 200) are enantiomorphic, i.e. the two enantiomers of the oxide form during the crystal growth.

Contrary to the fields of organic and coordination chemistry that propose an impressive number of synthetic methods to access enantiopure products, the enantioselective synthesis of purely inorganic materials is much less developed. Whilst nature has demonstrated how the action of enantiopure biomolecules can control the handedness of biomineralised chiral architecture, the synthesis of inorganic nonbiological chiral systems remains an extremely challenging scientific task.

This project therefore aims to propose a general synthetic strategy, which combines self-assembly processes and oxo-cluster chemistry to access enantiopure inorganic phases by transferring a chiral information from the molecular level to the cristalline solid. The enantiopure metal oxides will be obtained from chiral oxo-cluster precursors via a calcination process. These oxo-clusters will result from the reaction of an enantiopure organic cage with metal alkoxides. The environment provided by the chiral three-dimensional organic framework will model the growth of the oxo-metallic cores. Imine condensations will be employed to obtain, in a one-step reaction, the cages that incorporate endo coordinating groups. From a long-term perspective, since the precursors are potentially soluble in common organic media due to the hybrid organic-inorganic composition of these nano-sized compounds, the application of chemical solution deposition techniques could be used to manufacture chiral metal oxide thin films.

Post-doc biography - Midhun Mohan

Complex Matter Chemistry (CMC), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Midhun Mohan

Midhun Mohan obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mahatma Gandhi University (India) in 2010, followed by a master’s degree in polymer science and technology from National Institute of Technology Calicut (India) in 2013. During the master’s, he worked on bioinorganic chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Chellaiah Arunkumar with a focus on porphyrin-based materials exhibiting non-linear optical properties. In parallel, he was also an intern at Synthite Industries Ltd. where he worked on the synthesis of natural black food colour and the synthesis of curcumin nanoparticles. Later in 2013, he joined the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (India) as research assistant under the guidance of Dr. U. S. Hareesh and Dr. Balagopal N. Nair for a period of two years. He worked on a Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) project based on synthesis and spray granulation of lanthanum phosphate powders for thermal barrier coatings. He subsequently worked on the surface modification of cucurbituril for low temperature CO2 sorption studies.

From 2016, Midhun Mohan was based at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières (Canada), to carry out his doctorate under the supervision of Dr. Adam Duong. During his research, entitled “Design, synthesis, properties and applications of pyridone based coordination networks”, he focused on the syntheses and development of novel organic ligands and coordination polymers, including Metal-Organic Frameworks ,that mostly place emphasis on applications related to sensors, gas storage and gas separation.

During his career, Midhun Mohan has received two leading Canadian scholarships (Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship and Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et Technologies B2X Scholarship) and has won other conference prizes and grants. He has also published articles in reputed peer-reviewed international journals.


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