Sophie Hermans

Sophie Hermans

University of Louvain, Belgium

Hybrid nanomaterials elaboration from carbon surface functionalization and applications in sensing and biomass valorization catalysis


Carbon solids might take many forms from natural graphite to nano-structured materials such as nanotubes and graphene. These different forms vary by their structural, textural and surface properties but all share common features such as polyaromatic C-only surfaces amenable to chemical functionalization but also defect and hetero-atom sites that can be exploited for further derivatization. In this contribution, various functionalization strategies will be described to graft organic or metallic entities at the surface of carbon solid materials with a tight control at the molecular level. This allows the elaboration of hybrid materials, ideally of single-site nature that can become useful in a variety of applications. In particular, the immobilization of organometallic catalysts for fine chemistry catalytic reactions will be described. In addition, covalent and non-covalent strategies allow elaborating gas sensors based on a connected graphene single sheet platform. Finally, carbon-supported nanoparticles can be obtained or even bifunctional acid/redox catalysts that are efficient for multistep ligno-cellulosic biomass valorization processes.


Sophie Hermans is an Inorganic Chemist who obtained her first degrees (‘Licence en Chimie’ and DEA) at UCLouvain in Belgium. She carried out her PhD at the University of Cambridge (UK) under the supervision of Prof. Brian F. G. Johnson, working on mixed-metal clusters synthesis, then pursued postdoctoral studies in Cambridge (as JRF, Newnham College) with Prof. Sir John M. Thomas to immobilize the mixed-metal clusters in MCM-41 for heterogeneous catalytic applications. After moving back to UCLouvain with a FNRS ‘Chargée de recherches’ post, she started working on carbon-supported catalysts for sugar transformations and chemical functionalization of (nano)carbon surfaces. She obtained the FNRS ‘Chercheur Qualifié’ and Assistant Professor positions in 2005 and since then was promoted to ‘Professeur Extraordinaire’ and FNRS Research Director in 2020. Her research interests are still connected to inorganic molecular chemistry, carbon-based catalysts for biomass valorization, surface functionalization and nanostructured materials preparation.

Key Topics: Carbon ● Supported catalysts ● Functionalization ● Nanomaterials ● Biomass ●

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