Materials based on metal oxides

The non-hydrolytic sol-gel process was invented in the laboratory in the early 1990s. It is based on the formation of oxo bridges by condensation reactions in an anhydrous medium, e.g. the condensation between M-Cl and M-OR groups with elimination of alkyl chloride. Changing the reactions and medium overcome several problems met in conventional sol-gel. This non-hydrolytic process allows us to obtain oxides and mixed oxides displaying original structure, texture, or morphology (amorphous non-hydrated aluminas; mesoporous xerogels, organosoluble nanoaparticles...).

Over the last 10 years we have been developing the one-step and template-free synthesis of mesoporous mixed oxide catalysts (Si-Ti, Si-Zr, Ti-V5, Si-Al-Mo, Si-Al-Re, Ag-Al-Nb...) with high activity and selectivity in various reactions (mild and total oxidation, DeNOx, metathesis, etc.). This demonstrates that the interest of non-hydrolytic sol-gel is far from being purely academic. We also used non-hydrolytic sol-gel for the surfactant-free synthesis of organosoluble oxide nanoparticles (SiO2-TiO2, SnO2, TiO2).

Recently, we started investigating the use of cellulose-based materials (cotton, paper, aerogels...) as templates, oxygen donors, and carbon source to prepare metal oxides and carbon/oxide nanocomposites with hierarchical architectures. The growth of metal oxide nanocrystals nucleating from the surface of the cellulosic material leads to a large variety of morphologies depending on the conditions. These materials appear promising for applications in (photo)catalysis and in energy storage (electrode material for batteries).


Main research activities

  • Mesoporous mixed oxides and nanoparticles by non-hydrolytic sol-gel processing
  • Metal oxides and carbon/oxide nanocomposites by minéralization of biopolymers in non-aqueous medium or by non-hydrolytic sol-gel

Selected publications

Collaborations (outside ICGM)

  • Dr. Michèle Besson (IRCELyon)
  • Dr. Véronique Bounor-Légaré (IMP Lyon)
  • Prof. Damien Debecker, Prof. Eric Gaigneaux (Université Catholique de Louvain)
  • Prof. Emil Dumitriu (Université de Iasi)
  • Dr. Alexandra Chaumonnot (IFPEN)
  • Dr. Laurent Heux (CERMAV, Grenoble)
  • Dr. Helena Kaper (CREE Saint-Gobain)


CNRS, University of Montpellier, FUI REDNOX, French Embassy in India (Sandwich PhD Fellowship), Sumitomo Chemical, IFPEN, European commission (FAME NOE, H2020 IA project POROUS4APP), ANR (NHYSCAB, SYNCOPE).

Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier - Direction

  • Pôle Chimie Balard Recherche
  • CC 043 - 1919 route de Mende
  • 34293 Montpellier cedex 5
  • Tel: +33 (0)4 67 61 36 14
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