Surface modification of inorganic materials

For biomaterials as well as heterogeneous catalysts, the surface plays a prominent role by interacting directly with the cells and biomolecules or with the reactants. For a multi-component system, such as a nanocomposite or an electronic device, the interface governs mechanical or electronic properties.

In this transverse theme, we modify surfaces or interfaces at the molecular scale by grafting organic monolayers. This approach allows us to control physical, chemical, or biological surface/interface properties with an extremely small amount of organic compound (<1 nmol/cm2). We develop organosilicon (e.g. organotriacoxysilanes) and organophosphorus (e.g. phosphonates) compounds terminated by a variety of functional groups ("coupling agents") and methods for the functionalization of of a wide range of inorganic surfaces (silica, oxides, phosphates, metals, nanodiamonds...).

The modified surfaces are characterized by complementary methods (contact angle measurements, XPS, FTIR, solid state NMR).

The main applications are diverse: hydrophobation, compatibilization, adhesion, tribology, bioadhesion (antimicrobial coatings), separation, catalysis, Pickering emulsions...

Main research activities

  • Functionalization of flat surfaces (metals, oxides), of porous materials (hybrid materials for supported catalysis, separation, electrochemistry) or layered materials (exfoliation, selective grafting), of nanoparticles (nanocomposites, phase transfers)
  • Organosilicon coupling agents: anchoring of biomolecules (peptides) for biomedical applications
  • Organophosphorus coupling agents: phosphonic acids and derivatives, modification of metallic and oxide surfaces, model interfaces
  • Modification of carbon surfaces: sels de diazonium, réaction de Diels-Alder, organophosphorus acid chlorides 

Selected publications

Collaborations (outside ICGM)

Prof. G. Ramanath (Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY); Prof. Y. Sugahara (Waseda University, Tokyo); Dr. Christel Gervais (UPMC, Paris); Dr. Rosario Nunez (ICMAB, Barcelona); Dr. Danièle Noël, Dr. Marc Mathieu (INM, Montpellier); Dr. G. Subra (IBMM); Dr. Julian Oberdisse et Dr. Caroline Genix (LCC, Montpellier); Dr. Franck Martin, (Sikémia).


CNRS, Université de Montpellier, Labex CHEMISYST, Arc International, Rhodia, Saint Gobain, IFPEN, Sikémia.

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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