Clément Sanchez#

A short laudatio by Gérard Ferey#

Clément Sanchez is a pioneer in the field of the physical chemistry of hybrid organic_inorganic solids, a domain which is at the interface between solid state chemistry, organic and organometallic chemistry and engineering. No doubt that he is currently one of the very few international leaders of the domain.

Clément Sanchez received in 1978 an engineer degree from l’Ecole Natinale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris (1st of the promotion) and, the same year, was nominated as an ‘Attaché de Recherches’ at CNRS (French Council Research). Three years after, and under the supervision of Prof. Jacques Livage, he got a ‘Thése d’Etat’ (PhD) in physical chemistry from the University of Paris VI (Sorbonne). After a post-doctoral work in Berkeley, he took his scientific independence and was promoted Director of Research as soon as 1988, which is exceptional in the French system. He was simultaneously during 17 years Assistant Professor at the famous ‘Ecole Plytechnique’. He is now Director of the ‘Laboratoire de Chimie de la Matière Condensée’ at the University Pierre et Marie Curie, in Paris, and Head of the nanochimistry division of Cnano Ile de France. 2011 he was elected a Professor at the prestigious Collège de France and as a Member of the French Academy of Sciences.

From his research activity over the years, six qualities can be evidenced:

  • the spirit of adventure, which lead him to explore new fields, whereas the community keeps its habits
  • a permanent concern of creativity
  • his need for understanding and explanation of the mechanisms which govern the formation and the evolution of the hybrid phases
  • his attraction for pluridisciplinarity, which allows him to develop the physical and biological aspects of his topics
  • his concern of a global approach which, starting from academic research, arrives to applications of his results (35 patents + 3 submitted)
  • his faculty to communicate with colleagues and students and to create scientific networks all over the world. He is a great promoter of the ideas of his domain.

Among his themes of research, which relate to:
  1. the texturation and the meso-organization of metallic oxides on organic interfaces, including the synthesis and the study of (i) the mechanisms of formation of new nano-or mesostructured hybrid materials and (ii) the self-assembly processes
  2. the materials with hierarchic structures (biomimetic approach of materials)
  3. the synthesis and the characterization of functional hybrid nano-objects (clusters and particles) and their assembly in networks
  4. the synthesis by ‘chimie douce’ and the characterization of new hybrid materials obtained from the polymerization of heterofunctionnal molecular precursors (Si, Sn 3d metals)
  5. the study of the optical, electronic and mechanical properties of these hybrids

One can cite as breakthroughs
  • the study of the mechanisms of formation of hybrid materials from the molecule to the material
  • the chemistry of the inorganic polymerization from precursors like transition metal alcoxides
The in situ studies of the mechanisms of formation of films and aerosols of oxides and hybrids with a periodic meso-porosity
  • his results on the chemical morphogenesis and on the new textures of hierarchic bio-inspired materials

Quantitatively (source Web of Science, 1st 2010), Clément Sanchez is the author of over 365 scientific publications (24 cited more than 100 times and one close to 1,000 times), with an H factor of 61, which corresponds to more than 16,500 citations and an average citation by item higher than 45. He is the owner of 35 patents and delivered ca. 120 invited lectures at international conferences. He appears in the top 30 classification for Materials Science (where he is the first French scientist and the second European one). He belongs also to the Thomson Scientific’s ISI Highly Cited list of the most cited authors from the last twenty years (http://isihighlycited.dom). He is the co-editor of 12 books related to hybrid materials and organized numerous international meetings related to the domain of hybrids, for example five Materials Research Symposia.

Member of the Materials Research Society and of the French Society of Chemistry, Clément Sanchez received many awards. In France, he received the IBM Materials premium in 1988, the Silver Medal of CNRS (1995), the Yvan Pueches Award (2000) and the Grand Prix IFP (2010) of the French Academy of Sciences and the Grand Prix P. Süe of the French Chemical Society (2009). His successes make that now, he is also recognized by international Awards: the 2007 Catalan-Sabatier prize from the Royal Spanish Chemical Society and the prestigious Alexander von Humbolt Award (2008).

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