IRG PHENICS CNRS International Research Group

PHENICS is acting as a major network of cooperation on photochromism gathering research teams from China, France, Germany, Japan and Russia.

PHoto-switchablE orgaNIC molecular systems & deviceS


The IRG PHENICS is acting as a major network of cooperation on photo-switchable (also called photochromic) systems. It gathers research teams from China, France, Germany, Japan and Russia working on photochromism, and aims to stimulate scientific cooperation between them. Joint meetings are organized every year.

IRG (International Research Group), in French GDRI (Groupe de Recherche International), is a network of research teams/laboratories working on a specified scientific theme, recognized by Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France). Support is given by CNRS to promote scientific contacts and cooperation. The duration of an IRG is limited to 4 years, renewable once.

The Japanese members of PHENICS are gathered in the Japan Network for Photo-responsive Substances (JANET-PRESS, chairman: Yasushi YOKOYAMA, Yokohama National University). Recognized in 2011 by the Presidents of the Universities of the three initiators (J. Abe, T. Kawai, Y. Yokoyama), this network aims at advancing research in fields related to photochromism, and the cooperative education and training of the member research teams.

The history of the IRG PHENICS started in 2006 and Joint meetings were organized every year. The results lead to several recognized bilateral projects and a more than 20 co-authors publications. CNRS has thus renewed its support to the IRG PHENICS for the term 2012-2015. Germany joined the historical group of four (China, France, Japan and Russia), and the network gathers now more than 150 researchers.

Design, synthesis, mechanistic studies, structure and property investigations of such systems, operating as switches, are the main interest of PHENICS teams. PHENICS teams are among front-running research teams, possessing complementary know-how, and contributing to fundamental and applicative knowledge in these fields. Their current original topics include:

the design and synthesis of new photochromic organic molecules, coordination compounds and supramolecular structures,
the investigation of original switching phenomena (photomechanical effects, pH switching, photo-triggered catalysis, multiphotonic and nonlinear optical phenomena, …),
the study of nanoscale materials and interactions (fabrication of nanoparticles, plasmonics, …),
the involvement of photoactive species in biological media (photochromic proteins, imaging, drug delivery, …).

Historical milestones

2006 Launching the network (China-France-Japan-Russia)
2008 Recognition by CNRS (France)
2008-2011 Official 1st term of IRG PHENICS
2008 Signature of the IRG agreement (France-Russia)
2009 Signature of the IRG agreement (France-Japan and China-France)
2012-2015 Official 2nd term of IRG PHENICS