The Institute

Un peu d’histoire

The IPCM: a quality house founded in 2009

Under the impetus of Max Malacria, its first director, the Paris Institute of Molecular Chemistry was created in January 2009, reflecting the desire of the university and those involved in chemistry to bring together several components of the CNRS research federation “Molecular Chemistry of Paris-Centre: Organic, Inorganic and Biological”(*), which were already developing a number of joint research topics. The aim of this merger? To increase the visibility of Parisian molecular chemistry and to promote the transversality of research that it wanted to display.

(*) The Organic Chemistry Laboratory, the Inorganic Chemistry and Molecular Materials Laboratory (director Yves Journaux) and two teams from the Biomolecules Laboratory (directors J.-C. Tabet and J.-M. Valéry) were thus brought together.

2014: the IPCM expands

The Polymer Chemistry Laboratory (director Alain Fradet) of the former Pierre et Marie Curie University (now Sorbonne University) and the Bioorganometallic Chemistry team of the Friedel Laboratory of the ENSCP ChimieParis Tech (director Anne Vessière-Jaouen) joined the Institute headed by Corinne Aubert, who was previously deputy director. This association was motivated by the strong links that these teams had with the Institute on common molecular chemistry subjects.  One example is the LabEx MiChem (Multi-Scale Integrative Chemistry: from Single Molecules to Nano-Edifices), created in 2010 and led by the IPCM (coordination: Corinne Aubert and Matthieu Sollogoub)

2015: the teams come together

All these teams, geographically dispersed (Jussieu, Ivry sur Seine, ENSCP) finally have the opportunity to gather in the renovated premises of the Jussieu campus. The move will take two long years… to arrive at a configuration detailed on the site plan where everyone is on two floors between towers 32-33 and 42-43-53 and 43-44!

2018: a new management

In order to prepare the 2019-2024 contractualisation, the tandem Louis Fensterbank (director) and Anna Proust (deputy director) succeed Corinne Aubert.

The IPCM in the university research landscape

A few pointers to help you navigate the complex environment of French research structures.

The Institute is :

  • A joint Sorbonne University-CNRS research unit
  • Member of the FR CNRS research federation “Chimie Moléculaire de Paris-Centre: organique, inorganique et biologique” (director Alejandro Perez Luna)
  • Coordinator of the LabEx MiChem “Multi-scale Integrative Chemistry: from single molecule to nanoedifices” (2011-2019) and of the Molecular Sciences and Engineering Initiative (iSiM) of the Alliance Sorbonne Université ( (coordinator: Matthieu Sollogoub)
  • Attached to two Doctoral Schools: ED406 Molecular Chemistry Paris Centre (director Cyril Ollivier) ( ) and ED397 Physics and Chemistry of Materials (

Research at the IPCM

The research activities are in the field of molecular chemistry in the broadest sense. The skills present and the know-how cover all facets of the molecular scale, from inorganic chemistry to organic chemistry and polymer science, right up to the interfaces with biology, materials and, more generally, the sphere of molecular nanosciences.
Major efforts are devoted to their applications in various scientific fields and in relation to major societal issues (health, sustainable development, energy and information technologies, etc.)

Four major poles for 9 teams

Four priority research areas, called “Poles”, bring together the skills of the laboratory’s 9 teams

  • Reactive intermediates, organometallic catalysis and coordination

Pole 1 brings together expertise in the conceptual development of new synthetic methods in organometallic chemistry, coordination chemistry, radical chemistry and photochemistry, as well as the use of renewable resources as starting substrates in the application of these methods. These areas include catalysis, the rational preparation of chiral or luminescent compounds and the synthesis of high-value molecules, particularly in pharmaceutical chemistry or in the field of materials.

  • Functional molecular buildings and nanostructures

Pole 2, which conducts its research in inorganic molecular chemistry and coordination chemistry, operates more particularly in the sphere of molecular nanosciences. The projects are focused on the development and study of components and molecular materials – inorganic, organic or hybrid – and even devices to meet various economic and societal challenges in the fields of the environment and renewable energies (valorisation of bio-sourced molecules, solar energy conversion, photovoltaics) and information technologies (magnetic storage of information, molecular electronics, etc.).

  • Bioorganic, structural and supramolecular chemistry

Pole 3 is at the interface with biology.

One of the teams gravitates around the triptych “Sugar mimes/Cyclodextrins/Supramolecular chemistry”, to develop new methodologies in covalent synthesis, supramolecular assembly and metallic coordination, with all the applications in catalysis, therapeutic chemistry and in numerous biological problems that result from this.

The second team focuses its research on the eco-responsible synthesis of novel heterocycles, fluorescent and infrared markers for biology, in organometallic medicinal chemistry or in the design of artificial metalloenzymes.

It is within a third team that numerous instrumental and analytical developments in mass spectrometry are orchestrated, for its use in thermochemistry, in theoretical chemistry and to progress in understanding the nature of chemical interactions in biological systems.

  • Polymer chemistry

Pole 4 is a unique and strong component in macromolecular chemistry within the laboratory and also within the community of chemists at Sorbonne University. Its activities range from the understanding and control of polymerisation and (macro)molecular self-assembly processes to the design and development of functional self-assembled and/or nanostructured organic systems and their applications.

Instrumental and administrative platforms

The Institute, the CNRS research federation “Chimie Moléculaire de Paris-Centre: Organique, Inorganique et Biologique” and the MS3U provide the teams with skills and equipment :

  • Mass Spectrometry
  • NMR
  • X-ray Diffraction
  • Low Temperature Physical Measurements
  • Chemical Analysis

The managers of these platforms provide services for all the teams of the Institute, the federation, external laboratories and industry.

The administrative, management and logistical tasks, which are numerous in a structure of this size, are carried out by a team of 7 people.