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Among the different approaches towards the synthesis of materials with intriguing physical properties, the use of molecular motifs and their controlled assembly into architectures of various dimensionalities has been a major focus for the past 30 years. This molecular strategy has led to the rational design of numerous new materials including systems with fascinating magnetic, conducting or superconducting properties but, also those with rare or in some cases previously unknown physical behavior, such as Spin-Crossover complexes, Single-Molecule Magnets and Single-Chain Magnets. Another advantage of the “bottom-up” approach is the fine control over physical properties afforded by modification of the molecular precursors.

The work of the Molecular Materials & Magnetism (M3) group is focused on molecule-based materials exhibiting electronically active (i.e. displaying charge or exciton transport properties) and/or magnetic properties as well as their processing into useful forms such as nanocomposites, liquid crystals, films or solutions. These molecule-based systems are built from transition metal complexes, organic radicals and extended aromatic systems. Our research can thus be described as the synthesis, characterization and use of molecular materials resulting from a rationally engineered bond architecture in order to promote and control interesting electromagnetic and more generally physical properties.

Four main themes are currently being developed in the Molecular Materials & Magnetism team : (i) macroconjugated polyaromatic molecules, (ii) single-molecule magnets and single-chain magnets (and their derivatives), (iii) paramagnetic complexes possessing metal-metal bonds, and (iv) magnetic and/or electro-active solutions and liquid-crystals. In all these projects, our approach is comprehensive, from synthesis to detailed studies of the physical properties and their theoretical description.

These different projects benefit from many national and international collaborations and also our involvement in different national and European networks.