Scientific context

A Network of Excellence in Chemistry

Strasbourg has a long tradition of scientific excellence in molecular science, not only on a European level but also worldwide. Chemistry has always been a core strength upholding its reputation of excellence both in Research and Education.

In 2013 the Shanghai Academic World Ranking of Universities ranked Strasbourg 16th worldwide in the field of chemistry, being the only French entity appearing in top 100 positions. The Strasbourg chemistry is also characterized by its large volume of contracts and grants, its technology transfer efforts (many patents, start-ups and industrial links) and its international attractiveness (50% of the PhD students come from abroad).

Chemistry of Complex Systems

Historically, chemistry was centred on the molecule and its construction from atomic building blocks through covalent bonding. During the second half of the 20th century, chemists began to consider non-covalent interactions as a powerful design paradigm to generate molecular architectures resulting from intermolecular interactions.

Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry is pioneer in this research topic which he called “supramolecular chemistry”. Jean-Marie Lehn also inspired and initiated the project for the creation of the Cluster Chemistry of Complex Systems.

The core of the project relies on the development of complex supramolecular systems. These molecular units are able to express a specific property and to perform a well-defined task by virtue of their architectures. It involves chemical objects and systems capable of responding to external stimuli, leading to a change of their constitution through component reorganization or conversion.