Tomasz K. Piskorz attended conference ScotCHEM 2016: Advancing Computational Chemistry in Scotland held by the University of Edinburgh on the 14th June 2016. He gave a presentation entitled “Self-assembly of functionalized long-chain alkanes on graphite”, which was awarded the best talk of the conference.

Research Highlight in Nature Nanotechnology


A recent publication by Dr. Beatriu Escuder and Dr. J.H. van Esch about tandem reactions by self-sorted catalytic hydrogelators published in Chemical Science (!divAbstract) has been highlighted in the latest July, 2016 edition of Nature Nanotechnology.

Gels, Formulations and Supramolecular Materials:

Conference on new trends in this field

Gel form products (organogels and hydrogels) are already used in several Solvay applications (O&G, HPC, Coatings …). This gel form can also offer stimuli responsive materials with different triggers (temperature, pH, ionic strength, shear induced…) to give different responses (gel/liquid transition, gel/solid transition, color change, active delivery…). It is a source for innovations in the field of energy such as gel electrolyte for safer batteries, gel electrolyte for electrochromism (avoid leaking).

This is why Solvay hosted a SMARTNET* conference on soft matter and gels at RIC Paris, on June 9-10, 2016. This conference was the opportunity to have a large overview about gel technologies, physical and chemical properties to identify new fields of interest and potential key applications.

On 68 participants, around 40 Solvay colleagues (R&I and GBUs) attended this conference which gave a large overview where gels and supramolecular chemistries can serve different fields such as: materials, energy, soft matter, bio-engineering, drug release…

The conference was organized in 3 sessions (see Program). Each session was introduced by a Solvay expert to give context and background information from an industrial point of view and point challenges need to be tackled in the field.

Session 1: Gel rheology and structure-property relationships. (P. Hervé)

The different lectures gave us insights in very varied fields from aqueous gels made out of controlled polymerization block copolymers to supramolecular self-assembled small molecules organogels and the rational behind self-assembly where interactions are dictated by the medium in which the self-assembly occurs to very complex hierarchical protein assemblies leading to phenomenal material properties based on spider and silk worm fibers; finishing the session on self-standing supramolecular hydrogels. It was a very inspiring session indeed.

Session 2: Transport of charges in gels and gel-interfaces (M.D. Braida)

This session focused in two main areas: gelification study of electrolyte mainly for batteries with the challenge to keep a high level of ionic conductivity into gel form materials as a key performance for battery applications. Gel self-assembly approaches for self-healing applications has been presented, but this concept can be also applied regarding how to improve material interfaces/interphases (avoid delamination, material continuity…).

Session 3: Strategies for multi-component gel applications and characterization of molecular raw material integration (M. Airiau)

During plenary lectures, speakers made efforts to rationalize the many different scenarii which may lead to gelification, either through low molecular weight gelators, associative polymers, surfactants, double networks, .. in aqueous or organic solvent. Investigation of mechanisms (like autocatalysis phenomena, self-sorting) was also addressed. Oral communications were dedicated on characterization techniques like fluorescence microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Potential eas of applications were discussed like controlled release and energy storage.

Contacts: B. Pavageau, L. Dalencon, A. Del Guerzo

Smartnet @ 2016 MRS Spring Meeting

From the 28th March till the 1st April, Ines attended the 2016 MRS Spring Meeting. This is a conference that needs no introduction, and it was held for the first time in Phoenix, Arizona.

She gave an oral talk entitled “Enzymatically Activated Emulsions Stabilized by Interfacial Self-Assembled Structures” as part of the SM5 seminar “Surfaces and Interfaces for Biomaterials”.



Conference on Gels, Formulations and Supramolecular Materials

RIC Paris, June 9-10, 2016

Solvay_Smartnet logo

Solvay will host a SMARTNET* conference on soft matter and gels.

Open to all Solvay colleagues interested by knowledge, handling and applications/use of soft matter/gel systems, the conference will cover topics such as chemical synthesis, physical chemistry, toward gel physics etc.

This is a unique opportunity to meet world class academic researchers in this field.

This conference will be organized in three sessions:

  1. Gel rheology and structure-property relationships.

  2. Transport of charges in gels and dynamics in gel-interfaces.

  3. Strategies for multi-component gel applications and characterization of molecular raw material integration.

SMARTNET @ 26th IUPAC International Symposium on Photochemistry

Christiaan de Vet and Philip Schäfer went to the 26th IUPAC International Symposium on Photochemistry, 3rd – 8th April 2016, Osaka, Japan. They contributed with oral presentations “Photoinduced 2D-patterning of a supramolecular pi-conjugated gelator” and “N-acene based self-assembled nano-ribbons: growth mechanisms, color-tuning fluorescence and an orthogonal network”. Philip was awarded The Journal of Physical Chemistry Student Oral Presentation Award.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Student Oral Presentation Award

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Student Oral Presentation Award


Matija Lovrak and Tomasz Piskorz attended CHAINS 2015 held from 30 November-2 December in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. Matija presented his research titled Freestanding Supramolecular Hydrogels Objects by Reaction-Diffusion.