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Biography

I obtained my Chemical Engineer degree in 2005 as Valedictorian at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania. I received my PhD degree from the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble in 2009, working as a Marie Curie fellow on luminescent lanthanide complexes for opto-electronics in the group of Marinella Mazzanti at CEA Grenoble.

After a first postdoctoral stay at Chimie Paris studying functionalized gold nanoclusters, I worked in the group of Vincent Artero at CEA Grenoble on designing molecular catalytic systems for hydrogen production. I later joined the laboratory of Marc Fontecave in College de France for developping catalysts for the reduction of carbon dioxide to valuable fuels.

Since 2013 I am a permanent research scientist at the Nuclear Energy Division of the CEA.

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Research Synopsis

My current research interests are in the coordination chemistry and separation of heavy metals, particularly for the development of efficient solvent extraction processes for the recycling of nuclear fuels.

My PhD research at CEA Grenoble (M. Mazzanti) was aimed at a better understanding of the structure-property relationship in emissive lanthanide complexes with potential applications in opto-electronic devices. We have achieved this by a careful design of lanthanide antennas based on either organic chromophores or transition metals as ligands, followed by a study of the structural and photophysical properties of the resulting complexes, in order to estimate and further predict the sensitization efficiencies.

In a first line of research, we have described and patented the incorporation of tetrazole groups as carboxylic acid replacements for the sensitization of lanthanide emission. We were able to show how the variation of ligand substituents influences the photophysical properties, allowing us to draw predictions and to adapt the structures for improving the emission efficiency. Some of the compounds have been successfully tested in OLED devices.

I also became interested in designing and studying new types of self-assembled supramolecular hetero-metallic architectures based on iridium complexes for the sensitization of lanthanide emission, as well as studying the photo-induced energy transfer process in such systems. In addition, we investigated the grafting of lanthanide complexes on silicon surfaces.

During my post-doctoral research at Chimie ParisTech (V. Michelet) and Ecole Polytechnique (N. M├ęzailles) I was involved in the study of chiral gold nanocatalysts for enantioselective organic reactions. We have selectively synthesized and fully characterized well-defined gold clusters stabilized by atropisometric diphosphane ligands, and tested their catalytic activity in several addition-carbocyclization reactions. I also investigated the influence of various parameters (reducing agent, ligand, counterion) on the structure of the resulting gold nano-clusters.