French-Australian International Research Project in Chemistry


Frederic Paul,



The IRP “REDOCHROME” focusing on redox-active and multipolar organometallic assemblies for photonics and molecular electronics is a joint CNRS-ANU and UWA initiative in chemistry. It focuses on molecular photonics and electronics and involves 24 Australian and French researchers. It is the continuation of a Franco-Australian PICS project initiated in 2015 between French researchers at the Institute of Chemical Sciences of Rennes (ISCR), a joint CNRS-University of Rennes 1 unit (UMR CNRS6226), and Australian researchers at ANU.

Missions and research themes

The main research theme concerns the chemical synthesis of redox-active carbon-rich organometallics and related molecular-based materials. These discrete molecular assemblies are often endowed with remarkable electronic and optical properties. Such assemblies are amongst the most complex systems at the nanoscopic scale and are challenging to model theoretically, a situation which calls for more experimental insight into these paradigmatic molecules. The Redochrom LIA involves French researchers from Rennes (UR1) and Toulouse (UPS) universities and Australian partners located at two top-ranking universities, namely the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra and the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth. This group of French and Australian organic and organometallic chemists has additional expertise in spectroscopy, linear and nonlinear optics (LO and NLO) and electron-transfer, and unique instrumentation. The purpose of this LIA is to develop an understanding of these fascinating architectures, so as to permit their use as discrete molecular-based devices in various applications related to photonics and electronics.


In a continuation of ongoing collaborative projects that link the French and Australian team members, one part of the project is aimed at establishing reliable structure-property relationships for designing (electro-)switchable two-photon absorbers based on redox-active organometallics, which constitute a little-explored class of compounds from the standpoint of their NLO properties. Such materials have potential applied outcomes in all-optical information treatment and other societal uses. A key focus of the Redochrom consortium is to elucidate the role of the metal center(s) on these optical properties.

The second part of the project will progress molecular electronics research beyond two-terminal metal/molecule/metal junctions, based on linearly conjugated organic molecules.

Chemical synthesis, electro- and photo-chemistry and quantum chemical calculations will be deployed to develop understanding of molecular electronic structure as a function of redox state. This highly collaborative research program will create structures in which molecular electronic properties directly impact on the room temperature operating characteristics of the device. By providing both tools and chemical concepts that address the issues of molecule-surface interactions, charge transport across these interfaces, and function, we will advance the field of molecular electronics, increase the critical mass of activity in the area, and improve bilateral research capacity. Furthermore, the synergy between these two complementary facets (molecular photonics and electronics) will facilitate study of each topic in greater detail than in a project concerned with only one of these areas. This synergy is expected to foster more rapid strides towards realization of practical devices made from carbon-rich organometallics.

institutions and laboratories involved


  • Frederic Paul (DR CNRS, PI), UMR CNRS 6226 (ISCR-COrInt Team)
  • Jean-François Halet (DR CNRS, co-PI), UMR CNRS 6226 (ISCR- CTI Team)

The consortium of French researchers at Institut des Sciences Chimiques de Rennes (ISCR).led by F. Paul and J.-F. Halet belongs to different groups and teams at ISCR. Besides the strong organic or organometallic chemical synthesis component which is shared by most French participants of ISCR (iron alkynyl complexes; porphyrins; organic chromophores and fluorophores), some team members bring more specific expertise in various physico-chemical fields (silicon surface functionalization and electrochemistry, mixed-valent compounds, second-order and third-order NLO studies). The latter are complemented by ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopic facilities at the Institute of Physics of Rennes (M. Lorenc, IPR). There is also a strong computational component present among the French delegates (led by J.-F. Halet and A. Boucekkine at ISCR), complemented by a specialist in excited-state calculations in Toulouse (I. Dixon, LCPQ-UPS).


  • M.G. Humphrey (Prof, PI), Research School of Chemistry,  ANU (Canberra)
  • P. J. Low (Prof, co-PI), School of Chemistry and Biochemistry  UWA (Perth)

The group of M. G. Humphrey at ANU in Canberra is fully equipped to study the nonlinear optical properties of molecules with Z-scan experiments for measuring cubic nonlinearities and optical limiting properties recently complemented by a hyper-Rayleigh scattering setup for measuring quadratic nonlinearities.

Laser suite for the study of nonlinear optical properties of molecules (Australian National University).

P. J. Low at UWA (School of Molecular Sciences) has leading expertise in intermolecular electron-transfer processes and molecular electronics. His group is equipped with a spectroscopic and experimental setup to characterize and study eletron-transfer processes through single molecules deposited on surfaces. This complements and extends the long-standing interest and expertise in the synthesis of metal-alkynyl and organometallic derivatives led by G. A. Koutsantonis.

SPM platform for electrochemical AFM/STM experiments (University of Western Australia).

Single molecule electronic studies and spectroelectrochemical facility (University of Western Australia).

International Exchanges

Participants of the Molecular Electronics and Photonics Meeting (MEP 2018), July 10-13, 2018, UR1)

Signing of the first French-Australian SCF-RACI kindred agreement (2018-2022) by the Presidents of SCF (G. Chambaud, left) and RACI (P. Junk, right).

G. A. Koutsantonis at the French-Australian Scientific Day (FASD 2019), April 2019, UR1 (left)

Docteur Honoris Causa nomination of M. G. Humphrey by UR1 (F. Paul left, F. Mongin Right).

Participants of French-Australian MC2R meeting (MCR2 2018), ANU, November 20, 2018.

Program of first French-Australian School on Molecular Electronics and Molecular Photonics (MEMP 2019), ANU, July 4-8, 2019.