Pravya P. Nair – Université Libre de Bruxelles
Novel molecular systems for high CISS effect
I have completed my Integrated Master’s degree in Chemistry from Institute for Integrated Programmes and Research in Basic Sciences (IIRBS), Mahatma Gandhi University Kottayam, Kerala in India. My Bachelors mini project at IIRBS on the isolation of Garcinia acid was guided by Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Ibnusaud. In 2019, I was selected as an IISER Mohali, Summer Intern fellow. My masters review project on Ni catalysts in Sonogashira coupling and fluoro methylation reactions was supervised by Dr. Anilkumar Gopinathan, MG University. I had a 4-month internship at NIT Calicut to complete my master’s thesis from the lab of Dr. Chinna Ayya Swamy P that focused on the development of benzimidazole based NHC catalysts. Later, I worked as a Project Associate at the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow to develop pyrazolo-indole based nucleosides under the supervision of Dr. Kishor Mohanan to study their antiviral activity. In my spare time I love learning about traditional mural paintings, reading fiction books or watching movies.
Within the CISSE project, my research work at Université Libre de Bruxelles is supervised by Prof. Yves Geerts. My project is based on the design, synthesis of novel molecular systems particularly TCNQ derivatives to study the CISS effect. These molecules are anticipated to open up potential application of CISS in the field of Organic semiconductors and Spintronics. The CISS measurements will be done eventually from HUJI and further studies at WWU.
Biswas Mampi – Université Libre de Bruxelles
Enantioselective preferential physisorption, chemisorption, and dimerization at spin-polarized interfaces
I am a PhD student at the Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry at Université libre de Bruxelles, serving as the DC2 of the CISSE project. I embarked on my doctoral journey in August 2023 under the supervision of Professor Yves H. Geerts. I completed my bachelor’s degree in chemistry Honours at the University of Kalyani, West Bengal, India, in 2021. Subsequently, I joined the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Sciences (IACS), Kolkata, West Bengal, India, for my master’s degree. After completing a master’s thesis in the laboratory of Assistant Professor Dr. Anindita Das, specializing in Polymer Science and Soft Matter, I obtained my master’s degree in chemical sciences.
My research during this period focused on two projects: the synthesis and self-assembly study of functional degradable amphiphilic polyesters and the crystallization-driven controlled two-dimensional assemblies from functional Poly-L-Lactides.
My doctoral project revolves around the study of ‘Enantioselective Preferential Physisorption, Chemisorption, and Dimerization at Spin-Polarized Interfaces.’ Currently, I am working on synthesizing enantiomeric molecules with a functional group that adsorbs or reacts differently on spin-polarized metallic surfaces. This research aims to understand how spin controls the fate of reduced or oxidized species on spin-polarized electrodes.
Outside of academia, I have a passion for singing, love to travel worldwide, and enjoy tasting diverse foods, despite being a vegetarian.
My project is about to study ‘Enantioselective preferential physisorption, chemisorption, and dimerization at spin-polarized interfaces’ as DC2 in in the CISSE group. My work is to design and synthesize different molecular systems with functional group having reactivity on spin-polarized interface and adsorb differently on spin-polarized metallic surfaces and that spin controls the fate of reduced or oxidized species on spin-polarized electrodes. 1H NMR, 13C NMR and mass spectrometry (MS) will be used to characterize each molecular system. Specially, we are looking for developing a thiol or dithiol functionalities as an active group, in our molecular designs (enantiomers) as they have strong interaction on gold (Au (111)) surface through van der Waals interactions and easy production through gas-phase or solutions. These molecules can form self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on top of the spin-polarized metallic surface. The assessment of enantiomeric excess will be conducted locally using scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) for systems with a preference for physisorption and chemisorption on the metallic surface. The atomic force microscopy (AFM) analysis will be performed to investigate more about the self-assembly of those dithiol compounds. The adsorption kinetics of the substances will be investigated using quartz microbalance. Enantioselective oxidative coupling of prochiral monomers to produce chiral dimers will be carried out using spin-polarized electrodes. The study will utilize conglomerate-forming atropisomers and conformers with different racemization barriers to investigate their nucleation on a variety of spin-polarized substrates. The correlation between enantiomeric excess and factors such as molecular systems, crystallization conditions, and spin-polarization will be explored. Additionally, the interactions between enantiomers and spin-polarized surfaces will be examined through contact angle measurements.
Lekshmi Aravindan Geetha – KU Leuven
Visualisation of the impact of spin-polarized surfaces on (supra)molecular physisorption and chemisorption at the nanoscale
I am a doctoral student in the esteemed group of Prof. Steven De Feyter at KU Leuven, Belgium. I hail from a small town in Kerala, India, also known as “God’s own country” because of its beautiful landscapes. I did my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Chemistry from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kollam, Kerala, India. Driven by a deep passion for the subject, I worked for a short period as a student researcher in Prof. Saritha Appukuttan’s lab. During this time, my work focused on the synthesis of nanocatalysts and conducting green photocatalytic polymerizations with these nanocatalysts.
Subsequently, I joined the De Feyter group (SDF) as a PhD student. My research focusses on the fascinating field of Chirality-induced Spin Selectivity Effect. This involves the use of scanning probe microscopy (SPM), i.e. scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM) under ambient conditions at the solid-liquid interface to study the supramolecular physisorption and chemisorption processes occurring at the spin-polarized interfaces. In the course of the research, I aspire to enhance my scientific knowledge and skills through collaborations and research stays. I believe that I can not only deepen my expertise, but also contribute to the advancement of our field and make valuable connections within the global community.
In addition to my academic pursuits, I am also a singer with a passion for reading, travelling and culinary experiences.
Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) techniques such as scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) are used to study the surface chemistry of molecules, i.e., exploring the adsorption, ordering and self-assembly, dynamics, reactivity, and electrical properties of molecules adsorbed on solid surfaces. The research project majorly focusses on the use of SPM under ambient conditions at the solid-liquid interface for probing the supramolecular physisorption and chemisorption processes occurring at spin-polarised interfaces and it also includes the study of the influence that the interface has on the adsorption processes.
The project’s key areas of interest involve preparing and analysing chiral films of various thickness, studying spin-induced enantioselective adsorption process and spin-induced deracemization at the level of the formation of self-assembled molecular networks at the liquid-solid interface. Also, the research aims to induce and probe the enantioselective chemisorption with molecular resolution using SPM. Another major aspect of the research project is to functionalise the STM tips with chiral molecules and then exploring the potential of the chiral functionalized STM tips on the imaging of chiral/achiral interfaces. The project will initially focus on investigating the self-assembly of liquid crystals. This includes the study of induction of chirality in the self-assembly of the liquid crystal using magnetic field, sergeant-soldiers approach and also to study the transmittance of chirality to the bulk of the liquid crystal using STM and non-linear optical spectroscopy.
Maria-Cristina Ghetu – Weizmann Institute of Science
Elucidation of spin-controlled bio-related interactions
In 2019, I achieved a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Bucharest, concentrating my thesis on electroanalytical chemistry. Concurrently, I engaged in an Erasmus program in Gdansk, Poland.
Continuing my academic journey, I pursued the Master of Science program “Chemistry of Advanced Materials” at the same university. My thesis was part of the “Green Chemistry of Advanced Materials” international collaboration between the University of Bucharest and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. This research involved developing a biocatalyst for the valorization of monoterpene.
After my master’s degree, I conducted research at the University of Bucharest, focusing on characterizing biomimetic MOFs with transition metal centers and proposing potential catalytic applications.
Throughout both my academic pursuit during my master’s degree at the University of Bucharest and my professional experience thereafter, I gained extensive expertise in employing diverse characterization methods (IR, UV-VIS, XRD, XPS, NMR). This allowed me to assess structure-property relationships and devise more efficient catalytic processes, ultimately presenting these advancements at an international conference.
My ongoing research centers on exploring how electron spin influences various bio-related interactions, spanning from protein-protein associations to enzyme kinetics. Recent advancements in understanding the chiral induced spin selectivity (CISS) effect highlight the potential of manipulating electron spin, despite its complexities, to innovate new bio-based materials, enhance existing processes, and deepen our comprehension of structure-property relationships within chiral molecules.
Oleg Kuliashov – Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Direct measurement of the spin exchange interactions using chiral AFM
I graduated from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology with a BS in Physics in 2021 and an MS in Physics in 2023. I worked at the Russian Quantum Center in the Condensed Matter Laboratory on dynamical quantum phase transitions and topological quantum sensors. Currently, I am studying for a Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and working at the Quantum Nano Engineering Laboratory. I am interested in the effects of chiral molecules on conventional superconductors.
I am going to explore and utilize the influence of chemically bonded chiral molecules on conventional superconductors . There is strong evidence that such hybrid materials generate triplet surface superconductivity. Unlike in conventional superconductors where electrons flow in pairs with zero total spin, in triplet superconductors such pairs have a total spin of 1. This is called spin-triplet supercurrent. In my work I will study the effect and use it to develop superconducting interconnects for spin currents.
The surface triplet superconductivity also allows the generation of dissipation-less spin current which may lead to energy-efficient spintronic devices.
I will conduct different types of microscopy experiments on superconductors modified by chiral molecules to elucidate the conditions under which the triplet superconductivity emerges. In the 2nd stage ferromagnets will be used to probe spin-triplet supercurrents that are sensitive to the direction of the ferromagnet’s magnetization. This effect can be used to create magnetic field sensors and magnetic memory elements. To create such a supercurrent, I will make a Josephson junction with a ferromagnetic bridge and superconductors modified by chiral molecules.
Sahil Dhir – Eindhoven University of Technology
Chiral electrodes for asymmetric electrochemistry
In 2021, I obtained my Bachelor of Science Honours degree (B.Sc. Hons.) in Chemistry from BJB Autonomous College (under Utkal University, Odisha, India). In July 2023, I graduated from Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) with a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Chemistry. As part of my M.Sc thesis project, I worked under the guidance of Prof. Anbarasan on Transition metal-catalyzed C-H bond functionalization of (hetero)arenes with strained three-membered rings and other π-coupling partners. In August 2023, I joined the group of Prof. Bert Meijer and Asst. Prof. Ghislaine Vantomme as a MSCA PhD researcher. I will be working on synthesizing supramolecular structures for developing stable electrodes to study CISS Effect.
My project is titled “Chiral electrodes for asymmetric electrochemistry”. The objective of the project is to explore asymmetric synthesis using the CISS effect in (photo)redox reactions. In this project, I would be preparing supramolecular structures to create stable chiral electrode. The chiral electrodes would then be used to study asymmetric electrochemical reactions using CISS effect.
The enantioselective reactions that have been reported so far in CISS effect studies have shown less enantiomeric excess. Through the chiral electrodes prepared, I would look to meet this limitation by optimizing the enantioselectivity of the reactions. We could also look for the scope and limitations of the chiral photo-redox studies using the CISS effect by employing the chiral electrodes.
In essence, the project represents a sophisticated and systematic approach to advancing the field of asymmetric electrochemistry, drawing on the principles of supramolecular chemistry and leveraging the CISS effect for enhanced control over chiral induction in redox reactions.
Dibyojeet Bagchi – Eindhoven University of Technology
Photo-switching helical materials for chirality-based magnetic memory device
In 2023, I graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), Mumbai, India with a dual degree (Bachelor plus Master) in chemistry. During my bachelor’s, I worked with Prof. K. P. Kaliappan on the total synthesis of natural products. For my Master’s project, I worked with Prof. Chidambar Kulkarni, and we investigated the effect of n to π* interaction in driving supramolecular assembly. I was also a part of Denmark Technical University briefly as a guest exchange student in the Fall of 2021. In July 2023, I joined the group of Prof. Bert Meijer & Assistant Prof. Ghislaine Vantomme as a PhD Candidate under the Marie Skłodowska Curie Doctoral Network in the “CISSE” project. My project aims to gain more insights into the understanding of CISS effect and apply it for spin control chemistry, and harness novel applications from it.
Our group previously reported the use of the CISS effect to reduce the hydrogen peroxide formation during the water-splitting reaction. Taking inspiration from the spin control mechanism proposed in the work on water splitting, we plan to study electrochemical carbonyl reduction. Under electrochemical conditions, the carbonyl compound first gets adsorbed on the cathode and undergoes one-electron reduction to form a radical anion which can either lead to alcohol by accepting one more electron or can dimerize to give a pinacol-type product. The product distribution under specific electrochemical conditions is known in the literature for many carbonyls. However, this product distribution can be changed and bias can be shifted from the pinacol to the alcohol by using a chiral material on the cathode, which can act as a spin filter and restrict the radical dimerization. We would also study effect of CISS on enantioselectivity and try to achieve excellent enantiomeric excess values in spin control chemical reactions.
Ulrich Pototschnig – Hamburg University
First-principles approach to exchange effects in CISS
When I was still at school, I realized two things: First, I wanted to become a scientist one day. Second, I didn’t want to commit to one subject. It was therefore not a surprise that I decided to study materials science at the University of Leoben, Austria. This gave me new perspectives in various areas such as physics, chemistry and engineering.
After internships at DESY, Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics and ESA, I got to know and love an international environment, which is why I applied for an MSCA-position where explores the CISS effect using ab initio computational methods.
My hobbies are not limited to science, I also love hikes, football and old movies. And weekends are often spent at concerts or festivals with friends.
The origins of the chiral-induced spin selectivity are yet to be fully understood. Present theoretical descriptions still underestimate the effect by several orders of magnitude. Ulrich’s work therefore focuses on investigating the underlying mechanisms using state-of-the-art computational methods based on quantum mechanics, such as density functional theory. My main emphasis is on the so-called exchange interaction which is, for example, responsible for the effect of magnetism.
Berith Pape – Symeres / Eindhoven University of Technology
Spin-induced asymmetric synthesis of chiral scaffolds
In 2020 I obtained my BSc. degree cum laude in Chemistry from Hanze University of Applied Science. In my final year I performed a one-year internship at Symeres. During this year I worked on the total synthesis of “Rhodomyrtone A & related compound” and “MZ-1, a PROTAC for the degradation of BDR4 protein”. After my graduation, I continued as an associate scientist at Symeres in the medicinal chemistry group. In September 2021 I started my master’s in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Gothenburg, where I, during the final year, joined the group of Prof. Leif Eriksson to perform my master thesis in computational drug discovery with as research topic: “Improving proteasome inhibitor effect through adjuvant compounds targeting TSC2-Rheb complex”. I proudly obtained my MSc. degree with honors in June 2023 and in September I started as a doctoral candidate on the MSCA-CISSE project in the group of Prof. Bert Meijer & Ass. Prof. Ghislaine Vantomme hosted by Symeres.
Electron spin is essential for understanding chemical bonding, nevertheless, it is often presumed that spin control is not relevant in synthetic chemistry due to the small energy associated with spin flipping and that the spin therefore does not contribute significantly to the total angular momentum of molecular collisions. While this may be the case for achiral molecules, chiral molecules and chiral catalysts have shown to exhibit significant spin selectivity. It is assumed that to achieve enantioselectivity in a chemical process a chiral inducer is required, such as a chiral catalyst, chiral solvent, or chiral reactant. In recent years the CISS effect has been demonstrated to possibly be a chiral inducer required for enantioselectivity and consequentially could be employed as a new tool for enantioselective synthesis. These early-stage findings will be the starting point of my project. The work that I will carry out within the MSCA-CISSE consortium will be to explore the use of CISS effect in asymmetric synthesis and assess the application of named in multistep synthesis of industrial relevant molecules.
Kajal Mahadev Katkar – JASCO / Università degli Studi di Brescia
Evaluation of CISS effect on chiroptical response and for chromatographic separation
I was born in Pune, India in the year 2000. My academic journey commenced with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with Vocational Biotechnology from Fergusson College, affiliated with Pune University from 2017 to 2020. During my bachelor’s, I did an internship at Nawrosjee Wadia College on the project “Synthesis and application of metal nanoparticles using green route”(for 2 months). Then I pursued a master’s degree at the Department of Chemistry, Savitribai Phule Pune University, specializing in Organic Chemistry from 2020 to 2022. I am proud to have secured the first rank in the Organic Chemistry division during my master’s program. My master’s thesis focused on “the synthesis of Deoxynojirimycin—an iminosugar”, a project that significantly honed my research skills. Aside from academics, I actively engaged in various co-curricular activities, recognizing the importance of a well-rounded education.
Post-graduation, I ventured into the industry, joining Aurigene Pharmaceutical Services Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory, as a Medicinal Chemist (August 2022 to July 2023). In this role, I actively contributed to multistep organic synthesis, purification of organic compounds, troubleshooting challenges, and interpretation of various analytical data. Eager to broaden my horizons, I transitioned to the CSIR- National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, where I worked as a Project Associate in the Organic Chemistry division on the project “Innovative Processes and Technologies for Crop Protection Chemicals.” I am enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead and look forward to further exploration and growth in the field of Chiral Induced Spin Selectivity Effect.
The research project is based on the Chiral Induced Spin Selectivity (CISS) Effect which was first described in the year 1999 and this field is expanding very fast. The Chiral induced Spin Selectivity (CISS) Effect refers to the preferred transfer of electrons with one spin orientation over the other while passing through the chiral molecules. This chiral induced spin selectivity has important applications such as improved control of enantioselective reactions, easier separation of enantiomers, and the spintronic devices development. The research thesis aims to focus on two objectives. Firstly, the investigation aims to find correlations between chiroptical responses and CISS effect and furthermore assess if and how the CISS effect alters a molecule’s chiroptical response. At first, chiroptical responses of materials (films) based on a variety of chiral molecules will be measured by using various spectropolarimetric techniques. Then (in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) the study of the spin polarization of electrons crossing chiral molecules and the resulting transient intramolecular spin polarization of electrons will be conducted. The expected result is a deeper comprehension of how these alterations affect the electric and magnetic dipole transition moments of molecules under evaluation through various spectropolarimetric techniques.
The second objective is to evaluate the applicability of chromatographic enantioseparation on spin-polarised stationary phases. The research will explore the impact of transient intramolecular spin polarization on the adsorption of ferromagnetic substrates. Different types of chiral molecules will be considered for chromatographic separation.
This project will help to determine the importance of chiroptical response onto the CISS effect which is still little known. Moreover, enantioselective chromatographic separation has already demonstrated the potential of CISS effect, especially when working with peptides. Nonetheless, the study aims to assess the applicability and universality of enantio-separation and extend these results to other types of chiral compounds. Since, chiral molecule with one handedness has vital function while its enantiomer may have adverse effect, it is of vital importance to accurately separate both of them. The CISS effect helps the chemical and pharmaceutical industry achieve an inexpensive and generic method for enantiomer separation and large-scale drug purification enabling a future for safe drugs, pesticides, and fertilizers.