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ERC - PhotoFreeze

ERC - PhotoFreeze

PhotoFreeze is a project funded by an ERC Starting Grant granted in 2023 by the European Research Council (Grant N° 101116355). PhotoFreeze is led by Dr. Antoine Goujon and aims at combining the dynamicity and synthetic advantages of dynamic covalent bonds with the robustness and performances of conjugated materials to discover new n-type organic semiconductors. The key of PhotoFreeze is the development of a light-frozen dynamic covalent synthetic methodology that can be applied to a wide variety of π-extended 1/2/3D structures.


Designing the materials of tomorrow requires the development of conceptually new synthetic methodologies. Creating large conjugated molecular scaffolds often requires many synthetic steps, hindering their exploration and the discovery of new organic semiconductors. PhotoFreeze is a synthetic methodology that combines the best features of dynamic covalent chemistry and conventional covalent synthesis. With this novel chemical approach, a wide range of new functional materials will be developed, namely underrepresented electron-poor organic semiconductors, studied for their important optoelectronic properties. These materials have become essential to the development of organic electronic devices such as Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs), Organic Solar Cells (OSCs) or Organic Field Effect Transistors (OFETs) among others and are also essential in biomedical/bioelectronics applications. 
The key concept of PhotoFreeze is that a complex dynamic covalent library of nanographene-based polyimines in exchange can be quickly and irreversibly “frozen” by visible-light irradiation via photocyclization. Such reaction retains and even strengthens the electronic conjugation between the starting materials. This method holds a great promise in the development of a wide variety of imide-based complex conjugated molecular architectures. By varying the reactants stoichiometry, composition, geometry and reaction conditions, a specific target molecule can be prepared in a one pot-sequence. The proposed materials hold a great promise for novel high performances organic electronics and will be integrated into relevant devices, guiding the design of future n-type organic semiconductors.

We are hiring!

Open positions are available for PhDs, Postdocs, a temporary Assistant Professor (teaching in French) and a lab technician. 
All details regarding these positions, the requirements and guidelines for application can be found in the link below:

The Team

Dr. Antoine Goujon – Principal Investigator

Antoine Goujon received his PhD in organic chemistry in 2016 from the University of Strasbourg (France) under the supervision of Prof. Nicolas Giuseppone. His thesis was focussed on the macroscopic amplification of collective motions of nanoscopic molecular machines. In 2017 he joined the group of Prof. Stefan Matile in Geneva (Switzerland) where he worked on the development of mechanosensitive fluorescent probes for cell membrane tension sensing and imaging. This work has led to the co-invention of three organelle-selective probes now commercially available. He was appointed Maître de Conferences (Associate Professor) in 2019 at the University of Angers in the MOLTECH-Anjou laboratory (PulSAr Team) to develop new n-type organic semiconductors. He was distinguished as “Rising Star” by the Région Pays-de-la-Loire in 2021 and was awarded an ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) JCJC funding the same year. He was awarded the Marc Julia “Emergent Scientist” 2023 price from the Organic Chemistry Division of the French Chemical Society. Antoine now develops dynamic light-driven synthetic methodologies to control the growth of semiconducting conjugated polymers and n-type nanographenes and nanoribbons.


Dr. Elarbi Chartir (Postdoctoral Researcher – ANR PhotoSynth)

Elarbi was born and raised in Ait Melloul, Morocco. In 2016, he earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Ibn Zohr University in Agadir (Morocco). He later moved to Grenoble, where he obtained another bachelor's degree in chemistry in 2017 and a master's degree in Organic Synthesis for Pharmaceutical and Agrochemical Industries in 2019 from Grenoble Alpes University.  In October 2019, he start his Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Saioa Cobo at the University of Grenoble Alpes. His research focuses on the development and study of photo and electro-switchable molecular materials based on dithienylethene derivatives. Elarbi is currently a postdoctoral researcher in PulSAr group and works on the visible light driven synthesis of semiconducting polymers with Antoine Goujon (ANR PhotoSynth).

Dr. Tapasi Chand (Postdoctoral Researcher)

Tapasi was born in West Bengal, India and received her B.Sc. degree from the Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University in 2015. In 2017, she received her M.Sc. degree from Visva-Bharati University. In 2023, she earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal (IISER Bhopal), India under the guidance of Prof. Manmohan Kapur. Her Ph.D. research focused on transition metal-catalyzed site-selective C-H bond functionalization of perylene imides and 1,8-naphthalimides. Tapasi is currently a postdoctoral researcher working on the light frozen dynamic covalent synthesis of electron-deficient conjugated materials with Dr. Antoine Goujon.

Dr . Maxime Roger (Temporary Assistant Researcher)

Maxime ROGER earned his Bachelor's degree in chemistry and his Master's degree in chemistry and life science from the University of Lille (France). In 2018, he relocated to Montpellier (France) at the Charles Gerhardt Institute (ICGM) to pursue his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Philippe Gerbier and Prof. Sébastien Clément. His research focused on the development of π-conjugated systems with Aggregations Induced Emission (AIE) properties. He explored various structures based on siloles, diphenylbutadiene (DPB), tetraphenylbutadiene (TPE), and quinoline malononitrile (QM) for potential applications in health, such as photodynamic or photothermal therapy (PDT, PTT) and as stimuli-responsive materials. Upon completing his Ph.D., Maxime moved to the University of Angers (France) to work on synthesizing π-conjugated polymers starting from nitro-perylene diimide (PDI) through Suzuki-Miyaura coupling and phosphinimine derivatives with Prof. Piétrick HUDHOMME. Currently still in Angers, he works with Dr. Antoine Goujon as a temporary Assistant Professor. His research focuses on the light-frozen dynamic covalent synthesis of electron-deficient conjugated materials. In addition, he actively teaches first and second-year bachelor's degree students.

Clara Pasgrimaud (Engineer Assitant)

Clara obtained a DUT in Chemistry in Rennes in 2020 then a professional Bachelor in Fine and Synthetic Chemistry in Le Mans in 2021. Clara made simultaneously worked in the MOLTECH-Anjou laboratory where she developed the synthesis of helicenic derivates (CIMI Team) and of thiophene derivatives (SCL Team). Then, she worked for one year as a technician on Antibody Drug Conjugates at the University of Tours. She followed-up as a technician for 6 months on the synthesis of perfumed molecules from terpenes at Demeta (Rennes). Subsequently, she worked for 9 months as a production technician on Antibody Drug Conjugates at Axplora (Le Mans). She’s currently an assistant engineer working with Antoine Goujon.


Coming Soon


Dr. Antoine Goujon – Maître de Conférences (Associate Professor)
+33 (0)2 41 73 50 99
Twitter/X : @antoinegoujon1
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PulSAr Team