September 2020 

The short movie introducing our research activities on artificial photosynthesis presented by Murielle (assisted by Kun, Manos and Duc) is now availble! This movie was made in collaboration with Le Temps des Sciences and filmed and assembled by Bonnie&Clark Production in the framework of the science festival "Baie des Sciences".


Watch the film HERE or click on the picture! (Disclaimer: movie in french!)

Many thanks to all the participants, Le Temps des Science and Bonnie&Clark for all the work!

Inspired by work pionneered by the group of Daniel Nocera, the SolHycat team, in collaboration with the group of Dr. Phong Dinh Tran at the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi, are developping a new design of artificial leaf.

This new animation video explains how this type of devices can use solar energy to produce sustainable H2, a potential step forward a green hydrogen economy.

Special thanks to Ghislain who edited the entire video and to Andrew for giving a voice to the speech!

August 2020 

Early October, Vincent and the SolHyCat team are taking part to the festival "Baie des Sciences", organised by the french association Le temps des Sciences, based in Saint-Brieuc, which carries out science outreach activities. 

This year, the festival is making a focus on biomimetism and bioinspiration, topics at heart of the SolHyCat team research interests.

Vincent's conference "Préparer la transition énergétique" (in french) will be broadcasted live on Monday the 12th of October and will highlight some of the group's research activities.

In addition to the conference, Le temps des Sciences and Bonnie and Clark production also filmed a short movie in the lab, where Murielle, Kun, Manos and Duc presented some of our research activites on artificial photosynthesis, in immersion in the lab!

The film will also soon be available, stay tuned!

May 20th, 2020 Murielle presents at the Dyenamo web workshop 
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Murielle was invited to present our most recent achievements towards the development of dye sensitised photocathodes for hydrogen production at the Dyenamo web workshop along with four other prestigious speakers of the field: Licheng Sun (KTH Stockholm and Westlake University Hangzhou), Elisabeth Gibson (Newcastle University), Haining Tian (Uppsala University) and Julien Warnan (Technical University of Munich)

May 7th, 2020 Duc wins CBH Graduate School photo contest!

Congratulations Duc!

On May the 7th Duc won the best "unusual photo prize" of the CBH Graduate School photo contest.

Check out the list of all of the contest winners and their photos here

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December 12th, 2019 Cristina at the Elysée Palace!

Cristina was invited to visit the Elysee Palace and meet with Président E. Macron on December 12th 2019. This was the second anniversary of the Make Our Planet Great Again program and Cristina is one of the very few laureates of this program


October 22nd, 2019 SolHyCat at Biomim'expo

The SolHycat team, through the labex Arcane, was represented at the Biomim expo 2019 at the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie de la Villette (Paris)

Vincent presented how artificial photosynthesis could pave the way to more sustainable strategies to produce, store and consume energy. You can watch Vincent's presentation here.


September 28th , 2018  Congratulations

Nathan Coutard defended  his PhD work on the development of bioinspired anodes for H2/O2 fuel cells and their analysis using EIS and Tafel modelling ;).

Congratulation Dr Coutard!


August 2018 : Poster Prize for Sebastian!

Sebastian Bold received a poster award for his contribution at the LightChec summer school. Congratulations!

July 09 2018 : New group members, new group picture!
From left to right : Back row : Vincent Artero, Matthieu Koepf, Sebastian Bold, Tim Rosser, Murielle Chavarot-Kerlidou, Nathan, Bertrand Reuillard
Front row : Kun Yang, Camille Roiron, Nick Randell, Manos Giannoudis, Adina Morozan, Jennifer Fize, Chengbo Li
June 20 2018 : Prix Forscheur Jean-Marie Lehn

Vincent Artero and Benjamin Dietzek (IPHT and Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena) have been awarded the 2018 Forcheurs Jean-Marie Lehn Prize sponsored by BASF, Sanofi and the French-German University. 

February 2018  : Visit to Deb at UCI

Sunset at Laguna Beach with Deb at UC Irvine !

January 2018 : New AE position for V. Artero at Chemical Science

Dr Vincent Artero is now Associate Editor for Chemical Science, the flagship journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. 

Your submissions in the field of molecular science for energy research are welcome!

January 2018 : visit at IACS, Kolkata, India

Again enjoying scientific discussion ( not shown) and Indian hospitality in the group of Abhishek Dey at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS, Kolkata) and in the group of Arnab Dutta at IIT Gandhinager  the during a CEFIPRA visit.

December 15th , 2017  Congratulations

Murielle Chavarot-Kerlidou defended her habilitation on molecular approaches for artificial photosynthesis and solar fuels. 

Congratulations and best wishes for future science!

November 15th , 2017  Congratulations

Solène Gentil defended  her phD work on the development of nanostructured electrodes based on enzymes and bioinspired catalysts for noble metal-free H2/O2 fuel cells

Congratulation Dr Gentil!


October 12th , 2017  Congratulations

 Dongyue Sun defended  his PhD work on diimine-dioxime cobalt complexes for H2 evolution electrocatalysis: mechanistic study and optimization through coupling with an electron reservoir

Congratulation to our new French doctor Dr Sun!


October 2017: Welcome to Gabriel and Océane: We're working hard to prepare a better world for you:
 2017: A great year for SolHyCat graduates


Nicolas KAEFFER is one of the 7 laureates of the Prix de Thèse 2017 de

l'Université Grenoble Alpes


Deborah Brazzolotto won the Prix de Thèse 2017 of the Physical Chemistry Division of the French Society of Chemistry


Nicolas Queyriaux won the Prix de Thèse 2017 of the Energy Division of the French Society of Chemistry

January 13th , 2017 : visit at IACS, Kolkata, India

Very warm welcome from the students of the Dey group at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS, Kolkata, India) during a CEFIPRA visit.

October 2016 : AE position for V. Artero at Sustainable Energy and Fuels

Dr Vincent Artero is now Associate Editor for Sustainable Energy and Fuels, the new journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. 

Your submissions in the field of molecular science, bio-isnpired catalysis and artificial photosynthesis are welcome!

October 11th , 2016  Poster

Excellent poster award of the 5th symposium on solar fuels and solar cells awarded to Dongyue :

"Novel hydrogen evolution catalysts containing a redox-active moiety"

Congrats !

We thank the FrenchBIC for the travel grant to Dongyue for attending this conference.

Excellent poster award of the 5th symposium on solar fuels and solar cells awarded to Dongyue :

"Novel hydrogen evolution catalysts containing a redox-active moiety"

Congrats !

We thank the FrenchBIC for the travel grant to Dongyue for attending this conference.

Excellent poster award of the 5th symposium on solar fuels and solar cells awarded to Dongyue :

"Novel hydrogen evolution catalysts containing a redox-active moiety"

Congrats !

We thank the FrenchBIC for the travel grant to Dongyue for attending this conference.

October 5th , 2016  Congratulations

 Deborah Brazzolotto defended  her PhD work the same day of announcement of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. A great day for molecular chemistry. 

This work was carried out in the framework of the Arcane Labex for Bio-driven chemistry in Grenoble

05.09.2016  Dye-Cat : Nicolas and Julien's JACS paper out
 Dye-sensitized photo-electrochemical cells (DS-PECs) for water splitting hold promises for the large-scale storage of solar energy in the form of (solar) fuels, owing to the low cost and ease to process of their constitutive photoelectrode materials. Nicolas and Julien could prepare the first noble-metal free and covalent dye-catalyst assembly able to achieve photo-electrochemical visible light-driven H2 evolution in mildly acidic aqueous conditions when grafted onto p-type NiO electrode substrate.
14.03.2016  Amorphous MoSx
 HER-active a-MoSx, prepared either as nanoparticles or as films, is a molecular-based coordination polymer consisting of discrete [Mo3S13]2– building blocks. Such a molecular structureprovides a basis for revisiting the mechanism of a-MoSx catalytic activitybased on molybdenum(V)-hydride active species. Our findings open up new avenues for the rational optimisation of this HER electrocatalyst as an alternative to platinum.
March 11th  and 24th , 2016  Congratulations

 This month, Nicolas Kaeffer and Nicolas Queyriaux superbly defended their work and achievements during these 3.41 years in the lab. This is the end of their tour in Grenoble and the start of a promising career for both of  them.

29.01.2016 New year, new faces!
Group photo in front of the lab
Team members have been trying to keep their smile during the group photo organized by 5°C for the new year. From left to right : First row : Jennifer Fize, Adina Morozan, Murielle Chavarot-Kerlidou, Vincent Artero, Christopher Windle, Julien Massin, Nicolas Queyriaux. Second row : Matthieu Koepf, Jean-François Lefèbvre, Nathan, Dongyue Sun, Sundar Chandrasekaran, Nicolas Kaeffer.
28.09.2015 Gold-CNT Nanohybrid for oxygen reduction
Published in NanoScale in collaboration with E. Doris and E. Gravel at CEA-Saclay (Ibitec-s)
A carbon nanotube-gold nanohybrid was used as catalyst for the reduction of molecular oxygen in acidic and alkaline media, the relevant cathode reaction in fuel cells. In alkaline medium, the nanohybrid exhibits excellent activity with a dominant 4e-reduction of O2 and low overpotential requirement compared to previously reported nano-gold materials. This property is linked to its capability to efficiently mediate hydroperoxide anion dismutation.
A carbon nanotube-gold nanohybrid was used as catalyst for the reduction of molecular oxygen in acidic and alkaline media, the relevant cathode reaction in fuel cells. In alkaline medium, the nanohybrid exhibits excellent activity with a dominant 4e-reduction of O2 and low overpotential requirement compared to previously reported nano-gold materials. This property is linked to its capability to efficiently mediate hydroperoxide anion dismutation.
21.09.2015 Catalytic intermediates
Published in Chem. Eur. J. 
Rational development of efficient photocatalytic systems for hydrogen production requires understanding the catalytic mechanism and detailed information about the structure of intermediates in the catalytic cycle. We demonstrate how time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy in the microsecond time range can be used to identify such intermediates and to determine their local geometric structure. This method was used to obtain the solution structure of the CoI intermediate of cobaloxime, which is a non-noble metal catalyst for solar hydrogen production from water. Distances between cobalt and the nearest ligands including two solvent molecules and displacement of the cobalt atom out of plane formed by the planar ligands have been determined. Combining in situ X-ray absorption and UV/Vis data, we demonstrate how slight modification of the catalyst structure can lead to the formation of a catalytically inactive CoI state under similar conditions. Possible deactivation mechanisms are discussed.
21.09.2015 H2-evolving photoelectrodes
Organic semiconductors have great potential for producing hydrogen in a durable and economically viable manner because they rely on readily available materials and can be solution-processed over large areas. With the objective of building efficient hybrid organic–inorganic photoelectrochemical cells, we combined a noble-metal-free and solution-processable catalyst for proton reduction, MoSx, and a poly(3-hexylthiophene):phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (P3HT:PCBM) bulk heterojunction (BHJ). Different interfacial layers were investigated to improve the charge transfer between P3HT:PCBM and MoSx
21.09.2015 Benchmarking methodology
Published inChemSusChem
We describe here a systematic, reliable, and fast screening method that allows the comparison of H2-forming catalysts that work under aqueous conditions with two readily prepared chemical reductants and two commonly used photosensitizers. This method uses a Clark-type microsensor for H2 detection and complements previous methods based on rotating disk electrode measurements. The efficiencies of a series of H2-producing catalysts based on Co, Ni, Fe, and Pt were investigated in aqueous solutions under thermal conditions with europium(II) reductants and under photochemical conditions in the presence of two different photosensitizers. 
23.06.2015 Nickel bis-diphosphine Complexes
Published in Comptes Rendus Chimie
We herein report on a novel, simple and straightforward method for the preparation of nickel bisdiphosphine hydrogen-evolving catalysts, so-called DuBois catalysts, from commercially available nickel hexaaqua salts. This method yields coordination complexes with the same physical characteristics as previously described for compounds prepared from the [Ni(CH3CN)6]2+ precursor. However, if hexaaquanickel(II) chloride is used as a precursor, a different nickel bisdiphosphine complex is formed, which incorporates chloride as an axial ligand. This complex displays a significantly different electrochemical behavior and a diminished activity for proton reduction as compared to classic DuBois catalysts.
26.05.2015 Oxygen Tolerance
We report here that a bioinspired cobalt diimine–dioxime molecular catalyst for hydrogen evolution immobilized onto carbon nanotube electrodes proves tolerant toward oxygen. The cobalt complex catalyzes O2 reduction with an onset potential of +0.55 V vs RHE. In this process, a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide is produced in a 3:1 ratio. Our study evidences that such side-reductions have little impact on effectiveness of proton reduction by the grafted molecular catalyst which still displays good activity for H2 evolution in the presence of O2. The presence of O2 in the media is not detrimental toward H2 evolution under the conditions used, which simulate turn-on conditions of a water-splitting device.
04.05.2015 International Solar Fuels Conference
Poster session at Uppsala Konsert & Kongress
Some of the team members have been presenting the latest results from the group at the International Solar Fuels Conference organized by the Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis. From left to right : Souvik Roy, Nicolas Queyriaux, Vincent Artero, Nicolas Kaeffer, Bianca Cecconi, Jean-François Lefèbvre and Reuben Jane.
28.04.2015 Molecular-engineered photocathodes
Published in Interface Focus

Moving from homogeneous water-splitting photocatalytic systems to photoelectrochemical devices requires the preparation and evaluation of novel p-type transparent conductive photoelectrode substrates. We report here on the sensitization of polystyrene-block-poly-(2-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P2VP) diblock copolymer-templated NiO films with an organic push–pull dye. The potential of these new templated NiO film preparations for photoelectrochemical applications is compared with NiO material templated by F108 triblock copolymers. We conclude that NiO films are promising materials for the construction of dye-sensitized photocathodes to be inserted into photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells. However, a combined effort at the interface between materials science and molecular chemistry, ideally funded within a Global Artificial Photosynthesis Project, is still needed to improve the overall performance of the photoelectrodes and progress towards economically viable PEC devices.

10.01.2015 Technological Implementation
Published in Chemical Science 

Hydrogen is a promising energy vector for storing renewable energies: obtained from water-splitting, in electrolysers or photoelectrochemical cells, it can be turned back to electricity on demand in fuel cells (FCs). Proton exchange membrane (PEM) devices with low internal resistance, high compactness and stability are an attractive technology optimized over decades, affording fast start-up times and low operating temperatures. However, they rely on the powerful catalytic properties of noble metals such as platinum, while lower cost, more abundant materials would be needed for economic viability. Replacing these noble metals at both electrodes has long proven to be a difficult task, so far incompatible with PEM technologies. Here we take advantage of newly developed bio-inspired molecular H2 oxidation catalysts and noble metal-free O2-reducing materials, to fabricate a noble metal-free PEMFC, with an 0.74 V open circuit voltage and a 23 μW cm−2 output power under technologically relevant conditions. X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements confirm that the catalysts are stable and retain their structure during turnover. 

Towards a rational benchmarking of H2-evolving catalysts

In collaboration with Jean-Michel Saveant ( Laboratoire d'Electrochimie Moléculaire- Univ. paris diderot-CNRS), we show how “catalytic Tafel plots” allow comparison of the performances of molecular H2-evolving catalysts. 

Cobaloxime-based artificial hydrogenases

Two artificial hydrogenases have been prepared through insertion of the cobaloxime moieties {Co(dmgH)2} and {Co(dmgBF2)2} (dmgH2 = dimethylglyoxime) in apo Sperm-whale myoglobin (SwMb). Both biohybrids exhibit catalytic activity for H2 evolution in near neutral aqueous conditions. 

A SOFI-funded collaborative project

The Solar Fuel Institute has decided to fund a collaborative project between our group and the BISfuel Energy Frontier Research Center at Arizona State University. Nicolas Kaeffer has then left on Monday October 7 for 2 months to experience the sunny weather of Arizona and combine our H2-evolving cathodes with photoanodes developed at BISFuel.

New in Nature !
Biomimetics takes a short-cut

​A new  biomimetic process bypassing much of the biosynthesis of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzyme results in the introduction of synthetic analogues of the enzyme's [2Fe] subsite and its activatation when the subsite mimic contains the azadithiolate ligand, definitively confirming its presence in the native enzyme

New lab space for SolHyCat


After a lot of preparation and work, the new lab space is now operational and fully installed.

Welcome to Olbelina !

Olbelina Ulloa, from the Rauchfuss group  at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain, visits us for a few months (until ICBIC16). She will prepare dinuclear nickel-iron mimics of the active site of NiFe hydrogenases and study their electrocatalytic properties.

New in Journal of Material Chemistry A !

We report the preparation and characterization of dye-sensitized nanostructured mesoporous ITO (templated nano-ITO) electrodes and its application for photo-electrocatalytic application under visible light irradiation in presence of a redox mediator in solution. This represents the first step toward the construction of a photoelectrochemical device!


This work has been carried out in strong collaboration with Pr. Christel Laberty-Robert and Pr. Clément Sanchez from LCMCP  (Univ. Paris 6-CNRS-Collège de France)

New in Energy & Environmental Science !

A covalent Ir(III)-photosensitized polyoxotungstate acts as a  functional and modular system for the development of charge photoaccumulation devices and subsequent H2 evolution photoelectrocatalysis for artificial photosynthesis.


This work has been carried out in strong collaboration with Dr. Guillaume Izzet and Pr. Anna Proust from IPCM  (Univ. Paris 6-CNRS)

Artificial Photosynthesis, a european initiative

The European Community of Solar Fuels gathers within AMPEA, a joint program of the European Energy Research Association (EERA) aiming at developing Advanced Materials and Processes for Energy Applications.  The joint paper in Green relates this initiative.

ArtipHyction Workshop

On February 11st and 12nd, some of the partners of the Artiphyction project (CEA-Grenoble, CEA-Saclay and Solaronix SA) have met at the headquarters of Solaronix SA in Aubonne (Switzerland) to discuss about the last progress of each team.

These two days have been dedicated to the sharing of new know-how and discussing on the pursuit of this european project.


The SolHyCat team organized the Annual meeting of the ArtipHyction project in Grenoble (June 27).

New in Nature Chemistry !

In a new paper in Nature Chemistry, we recently report the construction of a really efficient material for H2 electro-production. This new material relies on grafted diimine-dioxime complexes onto carbon nanotubes (CNTs) surfaces.


SolHyCat Research Group / Site maintained by  Bertrand