Soft matter at LCMCP

History to present
      The historical activity of LCMCP is focused on sol-gel science and technology. However, with the development of hybrid materials, including covalent or non-covalent interactions between inorganic and organic scaffolds, more and more soft systems became a topic of research. From mid/late 90’s, a number of competences on soft molecular systems such as polymers, biopolymers and surfactants integrated the research activity of LCMCP, initially in relationship with inorganic systems, and along the years more and more as inorganic-free, stand-alone, scaffold materials.
The development of soft materials constitute an important well of knowledge at LCMCP, as soft systems are nowadays among the major research axes of at least three Teams, to which one could consider minor side activities of other teams within LCMCP. In this regard, LCMCP has developed a broad instrumental panel, but also a set of scientific competences, able to study and understand soft matter. Both university and CNRS researchers represent today the research activity of LCMCP across a wide range of scientific communities, spanning from biology, biomimetism, polymer science, colloid and interface science, physics.

Invited seminars – 2024 –
     LCMCP invites renowned experts to share their knowledge in the field of soft matter. Lectures will occur approximately once a month and are open to anyone interested.
The full list of seminars (present, past, future) is given on the MM@LCMCP seminar page. The next upcoming seminar is given below.

May 2024

Prof. Atul Parikh
Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
Institute for Digital Molecular Analytics & Science, NTU, Singapore

Mixing Water, Tranducing Energy, Shaping Membranes
24/05/2024 – 11h
Salle Levissalle
Tour 42-43 Sous Sol -1
Campus Pierre et Marie Curie
Sorbonne Université
4, Place Jussieu Paris 5
Online Link

  The physical properties of membrane interfaces, quasi-two dimensional, bilayer lipid membranes, which together with membrane proteins delimit cellular boundaries, are now largely well-understood at thermodynamic equilibrium. But generic descriptions of far-from-equilibrium behaviors of membranes – which allow living cells to sense, respond, and adapt to environmental perturbations while displaying extraordinary stability – are conspicuously lacking. Here, non-equilibrium activities of membrane-proteins, underlying cytoskeleton, and osmotic activities of water bathing the membrane, all couple with membrane’s physical, chemical, and mechanical degrees of freedom producing long-lived out-of-equilibrium structures with emergent reconfigurable morphologies and cooperative behaviors.
Drawing from recent experiments in our labs employing simple models for the cellular chassis (i.e., giant vesicles composed of amphiphilic lipids and polymers), this talk considers how the osmotic activity of water is transduced across cell-like compartments. It highlights how water activity and accompanying dissipation of osmotic energy couples with the compartmental boundary, mechanically remodeling the membrane shape and spatially reorganizing membrane and the aqueous-phase components through well-orchestrated cooperative dynamics. Comparing these processes as elemental events in the homeostatic working of a living cell, these findings support the idea that water is not a mere solvent for life – a blank canvas on which biomolecules become animated – but an active medium that directs the molecular-level organization and mesoscale dynamics in complex, subtle, yet essential ways.

Topics of research
Research involving soft matter can be found across several teams within LCMCP, although none of them has a full activity in this domain.

SMiLES Team. The team is expert in understanding the complex self-assembly processes of soft matter (hydrogels, polymers, lipids, etc.). The activity in the past years has focused on two themes: 1/ understanding the self-assembly process of microbial amphiphiles and the development of soft materials such as hydrogels, complex coacervates, emulsions. 2/ The study of the relationships between the structure, local dynamics and macroscopic rheological behavior of polymers, may them be neutral or charged.

Baccile, N.; Seyrig, C.; Poirier, A.; Castro, S. A.; Roelants, S. L. K. W.; Abel, S. Self-Assembly, Interfacial Properties, Interactions with Macromolecules and Molecular Modelling and Simulation of Microbial Bio-Based Amphiphiles (Biosurfactants). A Tutorial Review. Green Chem. 2021, 23, 3842–3944.

Poirier, A.; Griel, P. Le; Perez, J.; Hermida-Merino, D.; Pernot, P.; Baccile, N. Metallogels from Glycolipid Biosurfactant. ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng. 2022, 10, 16503–16515.

Laquerbe, S.; Carvalho, A.; Schmutz, M.; Poirier, A.; Baccile, N.; Ben Messaoud, G. PH-Switchable Pickering Emulsions Stabilized by Biosurfactant-Polyelectrolyte Complex Coacervate Colloids. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 2021, 600, 23–36

Sandrine Laquerbe, Julien Es Sayed, Cédric Lorthioir, Christophe Meyer, Testuharu Narita, et al.. Supramolecular Crosslinked Hydrogels: Similarities and Differences with Chemically Crosslinked Hydrogels. Macromolecules, 2023, 56, 18, 7406–7418

Nancy Desgardin, Agnès Aymonier, Cédric Lorthioir. Network Topology of the Interphase between Cross-Linked Polyurethane/Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer Elastomers for Adhesion Applications. ACS Applied Polymer Materials, 2023, 5, 11, 8972–8984

Julien Es Sayed, Cédric Lorthioir, Patrick Perrin, Nicolas Sanson. PEGylated PNiPAM Microgels : Synthesis, Characterization and Colloidal Stability. Soft Matter, 2019, 15, pp.963-972.

MatBio Team. The team develops a wide diversity of materials and processes to address very diverse areas of application. Most relate to the use of biopolymers in the biomedical field and concern engineering or development approaches for biomaterials (mainly for connective tissues). The integration of new skills has made it possible to develop other fields of research, particularly through the exploitation of the physics of bio-interfaces. Furthemore, based on its experience in handling dense collagen solutions and their extrusion, the Team has developed the 3D collagen bioprinting.

Cleo Parisi, Bénédicte Thiébot, Gervaise Mosser, Léa Trichet, Philippe Manivet, et al.. Porous yet dense matrices: using ice to shape collagen 3D cell culture systems with increased physiological relevance. Biomaterials Science, 2022, 10 (24), pp.6939-6950 

Kankan Qin, Rui Pereira, Thibaud Coradin, Verónica de Zea Bermudez, Francisco M. Fernandes. Biomimetic Silk Macroporous Materials for Drug Delivery Obtained via Ice-Templating. ACS Applied Bio Materials, 2022, 5 (6), pp.2556-2566

Stéphanie de Oliveira, Gregor Miklosic, Joelle Veziers, Sébastien Grastilleur, Thibaud Coradin, et al.. Optimizing the physical properties of collagen/hyaluronan hydrogels by inhibition of polyionic complexes formation at pH close to the collagen isoelectric point. Soft Matter, 2023,19, 9027-9035

Prince David Okoro, Antoine Frayssinet, Stéphanie de Oliveira, Léa Rouquier, Gregor Milkosic, et al.. Combining biomimetic collagen/hyaluronan hydrogels with discogenic growth factors promotes mesenchymal stroma cell differentiation into Nucleus Pulposus like cells. Biomaterials Science, 2023,11, 7768-7783 

Xiaolin Wang, Olivier Ronsin, Basile Gravez, Nicolette Farman, Tristan Baumberger, et al.. Nanostructured Dense Collagen-Polyester Composite Hydrogels as Amphiphilic Platforms for Drug Delivery. Advanced Science, 2021, pp.2004213

MHP Team. MHP is formed to bring together members with strong expertise in the synthesis, characterization and shaping processes of materials. Among others, the team gathers up experts, in 1/ nanocomposite polymer materials, with an interest in the development of eco-responsible nanocomposite polymers for the reduction of environmental impacts through the creation of dynamic organic-inorganic hybrid networks; 2/ biology, tissue engineering and biomineralization, with the desire to explore and better understand at the fundamental level the “structure-property” relationship (optical and mechanical) of collagenous materials and couple them with suitable shaping processes, in order to obtain integrated solutions for non-toxic and minimally invasive tissue repair. 3/ Printing functional soft matter across multiple scales, with the focus on controlling the composition and structure at the molecular and nanoscale via chemical synthesis and at the microscale and macroscale via 3D printing, enabling the creation of devices with diverse functionalities, including energy devices, printed electronics, sensors, and soft robots.

Milena Lama, Biravena Raveendranathan, Julie Brun, Francisco M C Fernandes, Cedric Boissiere, et al.. Biomimetic Tough Gels with Weak Bonds Unravel the Role of Collagen from Fibril to Suprafibrillar Self‐Assembly. Macromolecular Bioscience, 2021, pp.2000435

Chrystelle Salameh, Flore Salviat, Elora Bessot, Miléna Lama, Jean-Marie Chassot, et al.. Origin of transparency in scattering biomimetic collagen materials. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2020, 117 (22), pp.11947-11953

Milena Lama, Francisco M Fernandes, Alba Marcellan, Juliette Peltzer, Marina Trouillas, et al.. Self‐Assembled Collagen Microparticles by Aerosol as a Versatile Platform for Injectable Anisotropic Materials. Small, 2020, pp.1902224

Stéphane Delalande, Laurence Rozes, Lionel Nicole, Alice Tonnelier, Remi Perrin. Polymère de Polyuréthane thermoréparant et thermoformable. France, N° de brevet: FR3112781. 2021

Fabien Périneau, Sandrine Pensec, Clément Sanchez, Costantino Creton, Laurence Rozes, et al.. Supramolecular design for polymer/titanium oxo‐cluster hybrids: an open door to new organic–inorganic dynamers. Polymer Chemistry, 2011, 2 (12), pp.2785

J. Che, C. Zakri, M. Bronchy, W. Neri, I. Ly, P. Poulin, J. Yuan. Inkjet Printing of All Aqueous Inks to Flexible Microcapacitors for High-Energy Storage, Adv. Funct. Mater. 2023, 33, 2301544

J. Che, C. Zakri, I. Ly, W. Neri, E. Laurichesse, J-P. Chapel, P. Poulin, J. Yuan. High-Energy-Density Waterborne Dielectrics from Polyelectrolyte-Colloid Complexes, Adv. Funct. Mater. 2023, 33, 2213804

Renowed experts work at LCMCP. Link to this page to know more about them, their skills and competences.

A series of books on soft matter, soft matter physics and dynamics is proposed for further reading here (pwd: MM@LCMCP).

LCMCP owns, or has direct access, to a multitude of instruments, which can employed to study soft colloidal systems and materials. Below a list as of Nov 2023, where (O) is Owned and (S) is Shared with other labs at Sorbonne Université.

Small Angle X-ray Scattering (Xenocs) (S)

Rheometer (Anton Paar) (O)

Dynamic light scattering (Malvern) (O)

Polarized light microscope (O)

Fluorescence microscope (O)

Dynamic scanning calorimetry (O)

Nuclear magnetic resonance (Bruker): solid-state 300 MHz (O), 700 MHz (S); liquid-state 300 MHz (O), 500 MHz (S). Probes: HR-MAS 4 mm (O), 1.3 mm (S)

Cryogenic Transmission electron microscopy (O)

Dynamic mechanical analysis (O)

LCMCP has a strong expertise in 1D, 2D and 3D materials processing. Most techniques are developed to be applied to the shaping of inorganic or hybrid materials, but some are extended to process soft matter. One can find the following:

Inkjet printing

3D printing

Spray drying

Supercritical CO2

Freeze drying

Directional freezing


Controlled drying

LCMCP has researchers with established competences in soft matter science and technology. At the same time, LCMCP welcomes internal and external collaborations, seminars and guests to develop its soft matter skills in the next years. The most important skills at LCMCP are:

Use of cryo-TEM

Use of SAXS/SANS/SLS, data recording and analysis (model fitting)

NMR theory, pulse program writing, sample environment, use of NMR to study dynamics in soft materials


Basics rheology