School of Science research collaboration with French scientists gets off to an illuminating start

On 6th -22nd October 2018, Asst. Prof. Dr. Phimphaka Harding, Head of Functional Materials and Nanotechnology Center of Excellence (FunTech) and the chairman of PhD programme in Chemistry, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. David Harding visited the Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux (ICMCB), Groupe Molécules et Matériaux Commutables, Université Bordeaux, France. This visit was funded by the Franco-Thai Cooperation Programme in Higher Education and Research 2018 – 2019 under the research project “Putting Iron(III) Spin Crossover Materials Under Pressure” which is a 2 years joint project between FunTech and ICMCB.

This visit followed an earlier visit by ICMCB to Walailak University in June this year where members of the ICMCB team gave lectures on many aspects of molecular magnetic materials with researchers from around Thailand attending. The Molécules et Matériaux Commutables group has world-leading expertise in studying the impact that light and pressure have on magnetic materials. During this visit, ICMCB scientists and FuNTech researchers studied the magnetic behaviour of Fe(III) spin crossover complexes under light and pressure. The photomagnetic behaviour of one of the materials is exceptional and a high impact paper in one of the Nature Index listed journals is expected. In addition, Mrs. Sharon E. Lazaro, the 3rd year PhD student in Chemistry is exploring the possibility of using microfluidics to prepare Fe(III) spin crossover complexes with Dr. Mathieu Gonidec, aiming to find a new way to control size of spin crossover nanoparticles. This method might lead to a more tunable method for magnetic materials for electronic devices in the near future. Furthermore, Asst. Prof. Dr. Phimphaka Harding discussed with Dr. Guillaume Chastanet, the Director of Research of the Switchable Molecules and Materials group for more sustainable approach of continued collaboration between the two research groups. The immediate agreement is for the CNRS team to become thesis advisory committee members for the International PhD programme in Chemistry at Walailak University and ultimately to develop a double degree between the two institutes.