Research Projects

Research Axis 1 - Isomorphous crystals

Our research in the field of crystal engineering with hydrogen bonds (HB) and halogen bonds (XB) focuses mainly on the creation of new materials (Isomorphous crystals, polar crystals, etc.).
Our main research projects at the Cégep de Sherbrooke aim to study the similarities and differences between HB and XB in order to better use them for the design of new materials. By comparing crystals with relatively similar crystalline parameters and molecular stacking (so-called isomorphous crystals), HB and XB interactions can be compared more efficiently.
The ultimate goal is to have a better understanding and control of these interactions to allow us to generate crystals with unique and flexible properties.

We are the first research group to report a series of four (4) isomorphous crystals of diacetylenes similarly involved in an HB (with H) or in a XB (with X = Cl, Br, I).

The next part of our work is now to use this methodology to compare the properties of the isomorphous crystals with each other.

Research Axis 2 - Polar crystals

A second focus of our research is to use our knowledge of molecular interactions to design polar organic crystals. This is relatively difficult to achieve because the molecules tend to organize themselves by opposing their dipoles due to Keesom forces.
The interest for polar crystals lies in the many properties that are exclusive, or at least generally greatly enhanced, with polar crystals (piezoelectricity, pyroelectricity, ferroelectricity, second harmonic generation, electro-optical effect). (ref.1, ref.2, ref.3)
Our first polar crystals published in 2018 were made from vanillylamine.

These crystals are considered as isosteres of eugenol, a natural compound with important biological and medicinal properties.