The Cantat Research Group at CEA Saclay

The Cantat group gathers a group of molecular chemists who are passionate about making and breaking bonds using organic and organometallic catalysts. These efforts are devoted to converting CO₂, CO, waste plastics and biomass by-products to useful chemicals in a sustainable manner and facilitate energy storage with the development of alternative liquid fuels. Following a knowledge-driven approach, we synthesize novel molecular catalysts (organic and organometallic) and investigate their modes of action through mechanistic studies. Our group is part of the NIMBE research unit of the IRAMIS Institute at the CEA in Saclay (France), conveniently located 15 km south of Paris. Research in the group is conducted in close collaboration with other staff members from the Laboratory of Molecular Chemistry and Catalysis for Energy (LCMCE): Dr. Michel Ephritikhine and Dr. Pierre Thuéry (X-ray diffraction). Our research interests focus on multidisciplinary approaches for energy and sustainability challenges.

Efficient catalytic reduction of C-O bonds

While petrochemistry has focused on developing efficient oxidation transformations to utilize fossil ressources as carbon feedstocks, our aim is to discover energy efficient and sustainable reduction methods, to utilize renewable feedstocks such as CO₂ or biomass for the production of organic chemicals.

Mechanisms

We believe that the precise knowledge of molecular mechanisms leads to the rational design of improved catalytic systems. The detailed mechanisms at play in the novel transformations developped in the group are explored using both experimental (kinetics, isotope labelling; etc.) and theoretical methods.

Organometallic chemistry

Highly reactive and selective metal complexes are designed and prepared to promote the activation and catalytic conversion of stable C─O bonds in renewable organics. Novel ligand platforms and organometallic architectures are explored, based on earth abundant metal ions.

Funding

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