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Dr Julien Boixel

CNRS Researcher fellow in organometallic chemistry

Institut des Sciences Chimiques de Rennes
UMR 6226 CNRS - Université Rennes 1
Campus de Beaulieu - Building 10C - Room 927
35042 Rennes Cedex. France

Phone : 33 (0) 2 23 23 57 68
Fax : 33 (0) 2 23 23 69 39

Education and professional experience

  • Since oct. 2012: CNRS research fellow “Institut des Sciences Chimiques de Rennes”, Véronique GUERCHAIS’s group
    “Photochromic cyclometallated platinum complexes for molecular optics”, in collaboration with V. Guerchais (DR CNRS)
  • 2011 – oct. 2012: Post-doc fellow in organometallic chemistry: ENS Cachan, France with Dr. Keitaro NAKATANI and Dr. Isabelle LEDOUX-RAK: in collaboration with the “Institut des Sciences Chimiques de Rennes”, France (GUERCHAIS’s group)
    “Synthesis of bipyridine ligands bis-DTE : single or double photochromism?”
  • 2010 – 2011: Post-doc fellow in supramolecular organic chemistry: University of Geneva, Switzerland. MATILE’S group:
    Self-Organizing Surface-Initiated Polymerization (SOSIP) for organic photovoltaics
  • 2006 – 2009: PhD. in organic chemistry: Université de Nantes, France Supervised by Dr. Fabrice ODOBEL:
    “Synthèse et caractérisation d’édifices moléculaires pour la séparation et l’accumulation de charges photo-induites”

Research interests

The common thread running through my research interests is the development of molecules for molecular photonics and I develop this field in collaboration with V. Guerchais (DR CNRS). It is mainly based on a molecular engineering approach including chromophores design and organometallic platinum complexes chemistry for the synthesis of new molecular materials precursors for luminescence and nonlinear optics (NLO). An important aspect of these investigations deals with the control of the optical properties via the photo-isomerization a dithienylethene (DTE) photochromic moiety. By combining photochromism with a second optical property such as luminescence or NLO, new multi-functional molecular systems can be achieved. This work is currently divided in two parts:
I - DTE-based cyclometalated platinum complexes as NLO- and lumino-phores
II - Synthesis of photo-active molecules by C-H bond activation

Topic I: Cyclometalated platinum(II) complexes with photochromic ligands: Photo-control of NLO and luminescence properties.


  • NLO: D. Roberto (Milan, Italie).
  • TD-DFT: D. Jacquemin (CEISAM, Nantes), A. Boucekkine (ISCR, Rennes).
  • NIR Luminescence: K. M.-C. Wong (Shenzhen, Chine)

Various combinations of Pt(II) fragments and photochromic units can be designed to achieve original optical active molecules. For example, by connecting differently the Pt(II) fragments to the DTE cores, three different complexes have been studying, exhibiting unique optical properties:

  • A photo-modulation of the NLO activity in thin films, described for the first time with complex 1.
  • A double sequential modulation of the NLO activity triggered by protonation and controlled by photochromism with complex 2.
  • A near infra-red luminescence due to intramolecular interactions with complex 3.

    Topic 2: Synthesis of photo-active molecules by C-H bond activation


  • Catalysis: H. Doucet & J-F Soulé (ISCR, Rennes).
  • NLO: D. Roberto (Milan, Italie).
  • TD-DFT: D. Jacquemin (CEISAM, Nantes), A. Boucekkine (ISCR, Rennes)

This work in collaboration with Dr. H. Doucet and J.F. Soulé (Rennes) aims at developing a simple and straightforward methodology to synthetized new photochromic diarylethene-type (DAE) compounds by pallado-catalysed C-H bond activation reactions.

Taking advantage of the C-H bond activation reaction, we developed a novel series of cyclometallated platinum(II) complexes bearing dissymmetric 1,3-bis(heteroazolyl) benzene ligands. The NLO activity of such dissymmetric platinum(II) complexes has been found dependent of the structure of the cyclometalated ligand.


  • Prof. Keitaro Nakatani and Dr. Rémi Métivier (ENS Cachan, PPSM, France): Photochromic studies on ligands and complexes.
  • Prof. J. A. Gareth Williams (University of Durham, department of chemistry, United-Kingdom): Luminescence of organometallic complexes.
  • Prof. Dominique Roberto (University of Milan, department of chemistry, Italy): Nonlinear optical measurements in solution and thin films.
  • Prof. Abdou Boucekkine (University of Rennes 1, ISCR, France): TD-DFT calculation on metal complexes.
  • Prof. Denis Jacquemin (University of Nantes, CEISAM, France): TD-DFT calculation on photochromic compounds.
  • Dr. Keith M.-C. Wong (South University of Science & Technology of China, SUSTC, China): Near infra-red luminescence measurements.

Selected recent publications

  • Contrasted Photochromic and Luminescent Properties in Dinuclear Pt(II) Complexes Linked Through a Central DTE Unit
    J. Boixel, Y. Zhu, H. Le Bozec, M. A. Benmensour, A. Boucekkine, M. C. Wong, A. Colombo, D. Roberto, V. Guerchais, D. Jacquemin
    Chem. Commun. (2016) 52, 9833-9836.
  • Sequential double second-order nonlinear optical switch by an acido-triggered photochromic cyclometallated platinum(II) complex
    J. Boixel, V. Guerchais, H. Le Bozec, A. Chantzis, D. Jacquemin, A. Colombo, C. Dragonetti, D. Marinotto, D. Roberto
    Chem. Commun. (2015) 51, 7805-7808.
  • Second-Order NLO Switches from Molecules to Polymer Films Based on Photochromic Cyclometalated Platinum(II) Complexes
    J. Boixel, V. Guerchais, H. Le Bozec, D. Jacquemin, A. Amar, A. Boucekkine, A. Colombo, C. Dragonetti, D. Marinotto, D. Roberto, S. Righetto, R. De Angelis
    J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2014) 136, 5367-5375.
  • Benzothiophene or Benzofuran Bridges in Diaryl Ethenes: Two-Step Access by Pd-Catalyzed C_H Activation and Theoretical/Experimental Studies on Their Photoreactivity
    K. Yuan, J. Boixel, A. Chantzis, D. Jacquemin , V. Guerchais, H. Doucet
    Chem. Eur. J. (2014) 20, 10073-10083.
  • Perfluorocyclohexene bridges in inverse DiArylEthenes: synthesis through Pd-catalysed C–H bond activation, experimental and theoretical studies on their photoreactivity
    K. Yuan, J. Boixel, H. Le Bozec, A. Boucekkine, H. Doucet, V. Guerchais, D. Jacquemin
    Chem. Commun. (2013) 49, 7896-7898.

Publications referenced in HAL since 2006