The three partners, IPCMS, ISIS and ICS, are part of the cluster “Pôle Matériaux et Nanosciences Alsace” (PMNA) and they also belong to the “International Centre for Frontier Research in Chemistry” (ICFRC). The teams involved in the LabEx NIE have complementary expertise in nanosciences and a long-standing collaboration.

A further asset for the partners of the LabEx NIE is the access to world class facilities (see more details in the Research Topics and Facilities tab). Several platforms have been implemented on the campus since 2007.

Partner 1 : Strasbourg Institute of Physics and Chemistry of Materials (IPCMS)

IPCMS is a multidisciplinary research centre strongly involved in nanosciences and nanotechnology, at the forefront in communication technologies. It is organized in 5 strongly interacting departments, gathering physicists and chemists specialized in nanoscale physics, chemistry and nanotechnologies. The permanent staff includes over 80 full time researchers and faculty staff, 61 engineers and technical staff members, and about 90 PhD students, post-docs ans other non-permanent members. IPCMS members are extremely active in teaching of physics, chemistry, and material science at all levels and in many different educational departments, faculties and engineering schools of the University of Strasbourg.

Air view of IPCMS: The institute extends over four inter-connected buildings and more than 11500 square meters.

The strategic priorities of the institute cover the following areas, (i) nano-electronics, nanomagnetism and spintronics, (ii) ultrafast optics and nanophotonics, (iii) nanosciences and materials for health, and (iv) design and synthesis of smart multimaterials. Since its foundation, the strategy of IPCMS has been to strengthen skills already well established in physics and chemistry to tackle key issues at the frontiers between these disciplines. The research towards the investigation of nano-objects was made possible thanks to the implementation of common facilities with ultimate instrumental resolutions (see above).

At the international level, IPCMS has developed close partnerships with India and Korea through two international laboratories, (i) a French-Indian Laboratory for Solid State Chemistry (Associated International Laboratory) with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the IITs in Bombay and Chennai, and two other partners in France, (ii) a joint research Center (CNRS-Ewha Research Center) with the Physics Department of Ewha University, supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea and CNRS. The aim is to tackle topical issues in nanosciences, specifically in spintronics, spin-photonics and quantum imaging.

Over the last 6 years, the scientific output is ~193 articles/year in peer-reviewed international journals (with average impact factor 4.34). Most of the research teams received a high number of invitations to conferences (70-80 per year in total) or seminars. In addition, the broad scientific spectrum led on the more applicative side to a total of 28 new patent applications.

Partner 2 : Institute of Science and Supramolecular Engineering (ISIS)

ISIS is an interdisciplinary institute founded by Jean-Marie Lehn (Nobel laureate in chemistry) dedicated to the study of complex matter. In total, three senior researchers from ISIS have been awarded the Nobel Prize (J-M. Lehn, M. Karplus and J-P. Sauvage).

ISIS main building at the University of Strasbourg City Campus

Thomas W. EBBESEN is the former director of ISIS and the leader of a research group focusing on the properties of nanostructures. Ebbesen’s team is currently funded by a 2008 ERC Advanced Grant pursuing different research targets in plasmonics such as surface plasmon circuits and surface plasmon enhanced optical devices including the study of molecule-surface plasmon interactions in the transition from weak to strong coupling regimes.

T. Ebbesen is a physical chemist, known for his pioneering works in nanosciences. He received his bachelors from Oberlin College, and a PhD from Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris in the field of photo-physical chemistry. He then worked at the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory before joining the NEC Fundamental Research Laboratories in Japan in 1988 where his research shifted first to novel carbon materials such as fullerenes (C60), graphene and carbon nanotubes. After discovering how to mass produce carbon nanotubes, he and his colleagues measured many of their unique features such as their mechanical and wetting properties. While working at NEC, T. Ebbesen discovered the effect of extraordinary transmission of light through sub-wavelength holes milled in opaque metal films which has been the focus of his research during the past decade. This discovery also lead to a renewed interest of the physics community for surface plasmons. Thomas Ebbesen has received many international awards for his scientific achievements.

Partner 3: Institut Charles Sadron (ICS)

The Charles Sadron Institute is a multi-disciplinary research laboratory devoted to basic research in the fields of “Macromolecules and Soft Matter” with applications in Materials Science. Its manpower includes over 55 senior scientists, 45 engineers, technicians and administrative staff. It provides all infrastructures required for the complementary research of chemists, physico-chemists and physicists who are grouped into 11 research teams.

Main building of the Institute Charles Sadron

The ICS has major central facilities for polymer research including home-built instrumentation for the synthesis and preparation of polymeric materials, their physico-chemical and structural characterization as well as the determination of their physical properties. The core competences of the ICS include the synthesis of new polymeric materials, the physical chemistry of interfaces, micromechanics, surface forces, physics of biological membranes, dense polymer liquids and gels, the study of crystalline structures and polymorphism, phase transformations, polymer plasticity, damage and fracture as well as biomaterials, therapeutic formulations, carbon nanotubes or polymer theory and simulation. The scientific productivity of the ICS is about 120 articles and 3-5 patents as well as about 80 invited presentations per year.

The teams of G. Decher and P. Schaaf co-develop a molecular coating technology that permits to fabricate multimaterial films with nanoscale precision on substrates of almost any size and any shape by adsorption from aqueous solutions. Materials that can be integrated as a constituent of such films include synthetic polyelectrolytes, proteins, colloids and nanoparticles, fibers, inorganic clusters and some small organic molecules which represents a choice of materials that surpasses by large the choice of components available to any rival coating technology. This so-called LbL-technology (LbL: Layer-by-Layer) allows to fabricate nanoscale coatings with unprecedented functionalities by rational design using cheap and environmentally friendly spray deposition techniques (“green fabrication”). Since the first publication of G. Decher, the field is expanding further through an increasing number of independent international teams; in 2010 there were appearing on average 3 articles per day and the total number of publications in the field exceeds 8000. After 20 years, the LbL-assembly of nanoscale films has become a widely accepted method in academic and industrial research.

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