CERMA covers a wide range of materials: from biological molecules to synthetic molecules, including materials in the solid or viscoelastic state, nanomaterials and hybrid materials. It therefore concentrates its activities in the field of “soft” materials, ie organic or hybrid materials. The targeted applications range from energy to health, through the wood industry, electro-optics and photonics or the environment. These various research themes are broken down into four main and non-exclusive axes:
Synthetic and natural macromolecules
Surfaces and interfaces
Synthetic and natural macromolecules
Biopolymers have very interesting properties that researchers are trying to learn from. Moreover, by combining different types of monomers, it is possible to obtain very different mechanical, structural and electronic properties from the starting molecules. Coming from natural and synthetic sources, these macromolecules are of great interest and are the subject of exhaustive research at the Centre.
This research axis includes the group of Prof. Denis Rodrigue whose laboratory specializes in the field of polymers, whether in terms of synthesis, implementation or mechanical properties.
This axis also involves Professor Véronic Landry, whose research focuses on the production of coatings for wood and on the introduction of cellulose in various nanocomposites in order to give these materials a more durable and “green” character. We also find in this area the team of Prof. Tatjana Stevanovic Janezic, who is interested in the processes of extracting lignin from wood and its use to develop new innovative materials.
Professor Mario Leclerc’s group, meanwhile, is focusing its work on new ways of synthesizing electroactive and photoactive polymers, in particular direct heteroarylation. This work is supported by the laboratory of Prof. Paul Johnson, thanks to a modeling approach to optimize the synthesis work. Several applications in organic electronics can be imagined, particularly in field effect transistors and solar cells, making these technologies more affordable and less damaging to the environment.
Nanomaterials are at the heart of a revolution in materials. They are increasingly considered to respond to problems in a multitude of fields. Whether in electronics, medicine or pharmacology, CERMA researchers have great expertise in this area.
The teams of Professors Anna Ritcey and Marc-André Fortin are working on the synthesis and characterization of hybrid nanoparticles for applications in the field of optics and biophotonics, or in medical imaging as contrast agents or for radiotherapy. These nanoparticles are often luminescent or magnetic with particular spectral signatures. This axis also includes the laboratory of Prof. Jean-François Morin, whose work focuses on carbon nanomaterials. Research is focused on the synthesis of conjugated semiconductor materials for organic electronics and the development of organic nano-objects (carbon nanotubes, graphitic nanoparticles, graphene nanoribbons, etc.) in order to modulate their properties.
Prof. Élodie Boisselier and her team are working on the development of drug vectors based on gold nanoparticles to increase the effectiveness of ophthalmology treatments. Finally, we also find in this research axe Professor Mohammad Seyed Taghavi who uses microfluidics to study the flows of different materials and to generate nanofibers.
This line of research focuses on the study, development and use of artificial and natural materials in biological and medical applications.
It notably involves Professors Gaétan Laroche and Diego Mantovani, whose work consists of developing new biocompatible materials by treating their surface. The engineering of biodegradable materials, orthopedic prostheses and artificial tissues and organs are also part of their research interests.
Professor Hendra Hermawan is also part of this axis with his research on the development of new bioactive and biodegradable metals and on the control of corrosion. Professor Jesse Greener, meanwhile, focuses on the detection and characterization of biofilms using microfluidic techniques. Microfluidics is also used by Professor Amine Miled as part of his projects on the design of biomicrosystems, biosensors for implantable and biomedical devices.
The work of Prof. Nicolas Bertrand’s team focuses on the development of new biomaterials and the study of their interactions with their environment in order to increase the efficacy and safety of active pharmaceutical compounds. Prof. Roxane Pouliot’s laboratory uses tissue engineering to develop psoriatic skin substitutes to better understand the pathology and facilitate the discovery of new treatments.
In the forestry sector, Prof. Blanchet’s team is developing advanced wood-based products for the eco-construction sector. The overall goal is to develop eco-responsible solutions that use wood to reduce the ecological footprint of buildings from a multidisciplinary and integrated approach that works across the entire value creation network of the construction sector.
Surfaces and interfaces
Developments in materials science require the study of surfaces or interactions at the interface between systems. Several applications are critical depending on the response of surfaces or the behavior at interfaces. They may then require surface treatments to improve the properties of the materials. These phenomena are crucial for biomaterials. The work of Prof. Gaétan Laroche’s group focuses on how to ensure the adequate implantation of synthetic prostheses. Plasma treatment is one of the preferred avenues. Likewise, the work of Prof. Diego Mantovani’s team aims to optimize the properties of metals for biomedical applications, in particular through the use of thin polymer films.
In the field of tissue regeneration, the work of Prof. Roxane Pouliot’s group aims to develop and characterize a new model of skin substitutes to reduce the negative impacts of psoriasis. In order to improve the surface properties of wood, the work carried out in Prof. Véronic Landry’s laboratory aims to increase the performance of interior and exterior finishing products. This involves developing surface treatments for wood, finishing products, impregnation products, and characterizing their effects.
Another aspect of this axis concerns the study of physicochemical phenomena occurring at interfaces. In order to optimize the development of vectors based on gold nanoparticles for medication in ophthalmology, Prof. Élodie Boisselier’s laboratory is studying the interactions of molecules at the phospholipid-water interface of membrane systems. For applications in bioenergy and microfluidics, Prof. Jesse Greener’s group, with the help of Prof. Amine Miled, devotes part of their studies to the development of bacterial biofilms. This work notably sheds light on interactions with surfaces. In optics and photonics, Prof. Anna Ritcey’s team focuses on self-assembly at interfaces and micellar systems with plasmonic properties. The work leverages block copolymers to direct the organization of periodic and ordered nanoscale structures, such as micelles and nanorings.