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Directrice de Recherche

Reseach themes

My principal research interests are on polymers and colloidal science and revolve around the development of new synthetic methods and concepts to control the structure and functional properties of colloidal materials. My research activities include both the synthesis of dispersed colloidal systems and the design of materials formed from them, and is organized around three major research axes.

A) Synthesis of hybrid particles and complex nano-objects with controlled morphologies

B) Living and/or controlled polymerizations

C) Particles and functional materials in response to environmental and societal challenges


Axis A. Synthesis of nano-objects with controlled morphologies

The laboratory has long been recognized for its expertise in the field of heterogeneous free radical polymerization. From the beginning, I drew on this expertise to develop innovative methodologies for the elaboration of polymer/inorganic and polymer/polymer composite particles using heterophase polymerization techniques (emulsion, dispersion, miniemulsion), from their synthesis with a good control of the chemical and colloidal characteristics of the particles to the preparation of materials from these latexes.

In essence my aim is to implement different polymerization strategies or develop new ones, to design a broad range of nano(composite) particles whose internal composition, structure and morphology are precisely controlled. The morphologies obtained strongly condition the macroscopic properties (optical and mechanical properties) of the resulting films and a great research effort is devoted to the establishment of structure/property relationships.

In particular, we have made important contributions in the field of miniemulsion polymerization by exploiting the concept of droplet nucleation to synthesize hybrid particles based on incompatible polymers and/or resulting from water-sensitive chemical reactions such as sol-gel polycondensation. Recently we have taken advantage of the intrinsic features of this process to synthesize crosslinked epoxy-acid latexes with vitrimeric properties. Miniemulsion polymerization has also proven to be very effective for the encapsulation of dye molecules and inorganic particles.


Axis B. Living and/or controlled polymerizations

Colloidal chemistry and reversible deactivation radical polymerization (RDRP) techniques are combined to develop polymer-inorganic nano-assemblies in dispersed systems. We design and synthesize a wide range of water-soluble polymers with controlled structures and study their interaction with inorganic particles. These hydrophilic polymers are then used to control the growth of hydrophobic monomers in heterogeneous dispersed media, leading to various particle morphologies, dictated by the strength of the chemical interactions that are established at the polymer/inorganic interface and the physicochemical properties of the surrounding solution (pH, temperature, ionic strength). This strategy not only eliminates the use of molecular surfactants but also opens new perspectives for the rational design of composite film materials with spatially arranged inorganic inclusions.


Axis C. Functional (nano)materials

Capitalizing on the knowledge gained in the two previous axes, we develop new multifunctional materials for applications in various fields such as health, energy, building or electronics. We generally synthesize colloidal particles with desirable physical properties (such as magnetic, catalytic or optical properties) and incorporate them into microsystems or manufactured products. On the other hand, tailor-made particles with precisely engineered surface and bulk properties are used as sacrifical templates or building blocks for the design of functional coatings and nanostructured hybrid materials, in a bottom-up approach.

The research carried out in this axis is highly collaborative and involves partners at Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne (EMSE), CEA LITEN, CEA LETI as well as industrial partners. Examples of past achievements are listed below.

- Design of graphene-based conductive inks for inkjet printing on textiles. See now

- Synthesis of luminescent particles based on organolanthanides for the marking of materials and anti-counterfeiting. See now

- The study of the structure and mechanics of porous anti-reflection silica films templated by sacrificial latex beads. See now

- Synthesis of multifunctional magnetic latex particles for biological sample processing and analysis in lab-on-a-chip devices. See now

- Development of Si-based composite particles for applications in lithium-ion batteries

- Elaboration of composite film materials with barrier and corrosion resistance properties. See now

Current projects


Pickering stabilization of latex particles

Among the main thrusts of my current activities on the first axis is the synthesis of surfactant-free latexes stabilized by inorganic particles by conventional emulsion or dispersion polymerization. We have pioneered the use of nanosized clay platelets as solid stabilizers of a range of vinyl polymers leading to clay-armored latexes that can be processed into honeycomb structured nanocomposite film materials with remarkable mechanical properties. We currently develop innovative synthetic strategies toward the formation of a variety of inorganic-armored latex particles with desirable functionalities (anti-UV, magnetic, antibacterial, etc.). In collaboration with Nida Sheibat-Othman of the LAGEPP, we have also recently worked on the modeling of the polymerization process using Laponite clay as stabilizer (see now).


Vitrimer latexes and vitrimer-thermoplastic alloys

(collaboration with D. Montarnal and E. Drockenmuller (IMP, Lyon))

Vitrimers represent a new class of crosslinked polymers, where the crosslinks are in permanent exchange through chemical reactions in dynamic equilibrium. Such networks are thus insoluble like thermosets, but flow when heated like thermoplastics. While more and more well-known equilibrium reactions (transesterifications, cross-metathesis, etc.) are currently finding a revival in vitrimers, this versatile concept was so far limited to bulk materials. At CP2M, we recently reported the first example of epoxy-acid vitrimer latexes by miniemulsion polymerization and demonstrated the formation of crosslinked polymer films by sintering of the particles at high temperature (see now). Building on this success, we now want to develop interpenetrating or semi-interpenetrated vitrimer/thermoplastic polymer networks, combining fast exchange dynamics and nanostructured morphologies


Free radical emulsion photopolymerization under near infrared (NIR) light

(collaboration with E. Lacôte of the LHCEP, Lyon)

Photopolymerizations have witnessed a huge interest over the past few years for the production of a variety of polymeric materials. While most traditional photoinitiating systems employ UV radiation to generate the active species, the use of longer wavelengths such as visible or near infrared (NIR) light is attracting increasing attention. Indeed, the shift to longer wavelength allows a better penetration of light and enable to overcome the limitations induced by the light scattering making these photoinitiating systems compatible with turbid media, and especially with conventional emulsion polymerization. Following our previous works in visible-light emulsion photopolymerization using N-Heterocyclic carbene-boranes as co-initiators (ANR PHOTO-B), we now wish to use NIR light with single or multiphoton excitations to trigger the photopolymerization of styrenic or (meth)acrylic monomers in dispersed media using redox initiators or NIR dyes specifically designed for multiphoton absorption and compatible with water or hydroalcoolic media (ANR IR-EMULSION).


RDRP-mediated synthesis of organic/inorganic nanostructured colloidal materials

The research activities carried out under this heading will build on the strong expertise gained over the past ten years on the use of living polymers (macroalkoxyamines or macroRAFTs) to promote the nucleation and growth of hydrophobic polymers on the surface of inorganic particles, leading to the formation of composite latexes of various morphologies. We now wish to deepen our understanding of the underlying mechanisms with the view to further improve morphological control and create robust and predictable organic/inorganic assemblies. In parallel, we will extend the approach to a larger range of inorganic materials of potential industrial interest such as zinc oxide and progress towards industrially viable materials and processes, with emphasis on microstructure-properties relationships.


Composite latexes for thermochromic coating applications

(collaboration with J. Faucheu and R. Charrière of EMSE, St Etienne)

This multidisciplinary project aims at developing a nanocomposite thermoactive polymer coating containing vanadium dioxide (VO2) particles. VO2 is a thermochromic compound known to undergo an Insulator-Metal Transition leading to a high dielectric constant change, in particular in the near infrared. Above the transition temperature (Tc), VO2 behaves like a metal and reflects the sun light while below Tc, near IR wavelengths are transmitted by the material. The coatings developed within this project will thus exhibit a different behavior in cold (winter) conditions and hot (summer) conditions to perform an optimized thermal effect on the coated substrate.

Supervision and partners

I am currently (co)supervising :

  •  Ms. Nedjma Beldjoudi (PhD Student, starting in November 2021) will be working on the ANR project DEFINED, and will develop new synthetic routes towards non aqueous pigmented polymeric dispersions, for use as electrophoretic inks. She will be cosupervised with my colleagues Dr. Cyril Brochon (LCPO, Bordeaux), Pr. Stéphane Daniele and Dr. Fabrice Brunel.
  • Mr. Enrique Folgado is a post-doctoral fellow funded by the ANR THERMOCOAT coordinated by Dr. Renée Charrière (EMSE, St Etienne). Enrique is working on the development of a thermooactive coating loaded with thermochromic vanadium dioxide nanoparticles for building energy saving applications.
  • Mr. Leo Gazetta (PhD Student) is working on the scalable synthesis of nanostructured thermoplastic-based vitrimer latexes and film materials through the combination of conventional radical polymerization and different cross-link exchange chemistries (transesterification, trans-N-alkylation, etc.) in multiphase systems. Leo is funded by the ANR project MATVIT and is cosupervised with my colleagues Dr. Damien Montarnal and Pr. Eric Drockenmuller (IMP, Lyon). Leo benefits from the highly stimulating scientific environment of the VITRIMAT ITN project coordinated by the University Claude Bernard Lyon1.
  • Ms. Huanhuan Ma (PhD Student) is working on the self-assembly of novel electrosterically stabilized inorganic colloids to form composite particles and film materials with tailored microstructures and properties. Huanhuan has been awarded a Chinese Government Scholarship and is cosupervised with my colleague Pr. Emmanuel Beyou (IMP, Lyon).
  • Ms. Magalie Schoumacker (PhD student starting in October 2021) will join our group to work on the development of new photoinitating systems for the synthesis of polymer latex particles using multiphoton absorption and NIR light in collaboration with Pr. Jacques Lalevée (IS2M, Mulhouse), Dr. Chantal Andraud, Cyrille Monnereau and Akos Banyasz (ENS Lyon) (ANR project : IR-EMULSION). Magalie will be cosupervised with my colleagues Dr. Muriel Lansalot and Dr. Emmanuel Lacôte (LHCEP, Lyon).

Among my other current involvements, I am also a partner of three other ANR projects starting in 2021/2022: POEM coordinated by Fabrice Brunel, VITRIPSA coordinated by Damien Montarnal and POLYBORA coordinated by Jean Raynaud. See their personal pages for more details.


Extra links :

Hal      Google Scholar      Research Gate       Publons


Keywords : 

Colloidal nanocomposite particles. Heterophase polymerizations. Pickering stabilization. Reversible deactivation radical polymerization. Polymerization induced self-assembly. Multi-responsive microgels. Functional (nano)materials. Kinetics and mechanism.




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43 Bd du 11 Nov. 1918
(B. P. 82007)
69616 Villeurbanne CEDEX FRANCE

Contact details

+33 (0)4 72 43 17 67 (team PCM)
+33 (0)4 72 43 17 94 (team MMAGICC)
+33 (0)4 72 43 17 56 (Communication)

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