Material and light sciences

This department brings together experts in chemistry and physics in order to respond to fundamental scientific challenges and drive the innovations of the future in the fields of photonics, energy, the environment, transport, sustainable development, health, life sciences and sciences of the universe.

© Olivier Got © Olivier Got

The Material and light sciences department is multidisciplinary, boasting every asset required to produce new knowledge and develop and disseminate innovative applications and technologies.

In addition to its far-reaching experimental work based on the expertise of the department's components, the research themes are all linked by strong transversal work in digital modeling, theory and simulation.

Management / leadership 

Director: Jean-Baptiste Verlhac

Deputy director: Jérôme Cayssol


This department is structured around five equally-weighted themes.

  • Molecules and macromolecules
    • Molecular, supramolecular and macromolecular chemistry and engineering
    • Complex adaptive and dynamic molecular and macromolecular systems
    • Methodology and organic synthesis, catalysis, interface chemistry
    • Biomimicry, biocatalysis and green chemistry
    • Analytical chemistry
  • Condensed matter and soft matter
    • Electronic, magnetic, mechanical and transport properties: superconductors, semiconductors, electronic and ionic conductors
    • Nanostructures, new states of matter, phase transitions
    • Inorganic, hybrid and composite compounds
    • Colloids, polymers, active matter, suspensions, emulsions, liquid crystals, biological objects, surfaces and interfaces
    • Micro and nanofluidics
  • Advanced materials
    • Exploratory solid state chemistry
    • Design and formulation of materials, processes, nanostructures, additive manufacturing
    • Material characterization
    • Structure-property-development relationship
    • Life cycle of materials and substitute materials
  • Nuclei, molecules, radiation and universe
    • Nuclear and particle physics
    • Production, characterization and use of ionizing radiation
    • Astrophysics
    • Astrochemistry
    • Large instruments and mega data for sub-atomic physics and exploration of the Universe
  • Photonics
    • Light generation and manipulation: laser systems and secondary sources, non-linear optics, plasmonics, optofluidics
    • Light and interactions in extreme regimes: ultra-fast dynamics in matter, attoscience. Plasmas, particle acceleration, fusion. Nanooptics and quantum systems.
    • Spectroscopy-Imaging: multi-dimensional and multi-scale spectroscopy, biophotonics, photochemistry, optics and digital imaging

Several major programs are associated with this department:

Laboratories of Excellence

Equipments of Excellence

Graduate research program

Key figures

  • 11 joint research units
  • 820 staff incl. 480 researchers & lecturer-researchers
  • 2 doctoral schools & 1 graduate research program, 450 doctoral & post-doctoral students

Component structures of the department

This department is composed of 11 research units.


Component council

The Component council is composed of 30 members, including 16 lecturer-researchers or equivalent, 8 support staff, 4 doctoral and post-doctoral students and 2 external members.

Directors’ council

The Director's council is made up of the 11 unit directors and the director and deputy director of the department.

Scientific council

This scientific council is composed of 5 members who are appointed by the director after consulting the department council.

Other components

Lasers and Plasmas Federation (F2M, FR 2707 – CNRS)
Soft Matter Federation (F2M – FR 4275)


Doctoral schools


  • CEA
  • Bordeaux INP
  • Solvay
  • Safran

Updated on 15/09/2021


Gilbert Bounaud-Devillers
Administrative and financial manager

Building A33
351 Cours de la Libération
33405 Talence Cedex

05 40 00 31 36
Contact by email

Research booklet

Discover our multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and international research!


Materials, environment, sustainable development, information and communication technology, photonics, laser, energy, nanoscience, sciences of the universe, physics, chemistry, biophysics, mathematics, organic synthesis, solid state physics, statistical physics, cold atoms, magnetism, optics, quantum physics, nuclear physics, exobiology, planet, composites, polymers, astrophysics.