Centre d’Élaboration de Matériaux et d’Etudes Structurales (UPR 8011)

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Full Professor (PR1), University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse




After my studies in chemistry at Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, I prepared a Ph.D. supervised by Dr Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Christiane Dietrich-Buchecker working on the synthesis and the resolution of double helices and knots (1995-1998). After spending one year as a Lavoisier postdoctoral fellow working on Fullerenes with Prof. François Diederich at ETH Zürich (Switzerland) as a Lavoisier postdoctoral fellow. In 1999, I joined the NanoSciences Group at CEMES (CNRS) led by Prof. Jean-Pierre Launay and Dr Christian Joachim as an Assistant Professor. In 2011, I have been promoted Full Professor. My research interests are in the field of machines and motors in the nanometer range operating at the molecular level. My skills range from multistep organic synthesis, fullerene functionalization and coordination chemistry to the complete set of classical characterization methods of molecular chemistry.

Current projects : Rotating molecular motors - Nanovehicles - Gears

Past projects : Molecular wheelbarrow - Molecular Morse manipulator

Keywords : Polyaromatics - Nanovehicles - Double decker complexes - tripodal ligands - Molecular rotors and motors - Molecular gears - Technomimetic molecules

Academic carreer __________________________________________________________________________________________

2015 Full Professor 1st class, promoted by CNU
Full Professor 2nd class
Associate Professor
Asistant Professo

Research activities __________________________________________________________________________________________

Since 2000
Université Paul Sabatier and CEMES-CNRS, Toulouse
Nanosciences Group

Design and synthesis of single molecular machines and devices operating at the atomic scale and addressed by an STM tip.

E.T.H., Zürich, Switzerland
Laboratory of fullerenes-based materials and molecular recognition
, Prof. F. Diederich
Regioselective syntheses of bis- and tris-adducts of C60. Incorporation of Fullerenes in artificial photosynthetic centers. (Lavoisier fellowship, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France
Laboratoire de Chimie Organo-Minérale
, Prof. J.-P. Sauvage
Synthesis and resolution of double helices and molecular knots, application toenantioselective electron and energy quenching. (French Ministry of Research fellowship)

Downing College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Organometallic Chemistry Laboratory,
Prof. M.J. Mays
Synthesis of dinuclear complexes stabilized by bridging ligands and study of their reactivity with organic molecules of industrial interest. (ERASMUS fellowship) 

University Education

Faculty of Chemistry, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France
1992 DEUG in Chemistry, mention Bien.
1993 Licence (3rd year) in Chemistry, mention Bien.
1994 Maîtrise (4th year) in Chemistry, mention Très Bien.
1995 DEA (5th year) in Transition Metal Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, mention Bien.
1998 Ph.D in Chemistry, mention Très Honorable avec les Félicitations du Jury.
2006 Habilitation à Diriger les recherches, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse.



  • Lecture on “Description of the electronic properties : from single molecule to nanoparticle” (5th year)
  • Lecture on “Molecular engineering for future applications (5th year)
  • Lecture and tutorials "Carbon nano-objects : Fullerenes, nanotubes and graphene" (4th year)
  • Lessons and practicals of organic and organometallic chem, "Agregation de Chimie" (5th year)
  • Tutorials and practicals in organic chemistry (2nd year) 
  • Lab classes "Pluridisciplinarity in chemistry (4th year)


Administrative Tasks


  • 2007 - 2011 Elected member of the National Center of the Universities (CNU32-Paris)
  • 2008 - 2011 Elected member of the Scientific council of the Université Paul Sabatier
  • 2012 - 2015 Elected member of the CEVU of the Université Paul Sabatier
  • From 2004 Member of the “International Relations Commission“ of the University
  • From 2004 Institutional Student Exchange Program Coordinator (all scientific fields)
  • From 2013 Elected member at the Scientific College of the Université Paul Sabatier
  • From 2014 Elected member at the Promotion Group of the Université Paul Sabatier
  • From 2015 Elected member at the Scientific Council of the Université Paul Sabatier


Prizes and distinctions

  • 1998 Laureate of a Lavoisier fellowship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • 2006 Invited Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA
  • 2011 Invited Professor at the University of Saitama, Japan
  • 2012 Invited Professor at INZIT, Maracaibo, Vénézuela
  • 2016-2017 Invited Professor in NAIST, Japan


Publications (h-index 26, > 1500 citations - last update May 2016)


[1] Resolution of a molecular trefoil knot
G. Rapenne, C. Dietrich-Buchecker, J.P. Sauvage, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1996, 118, 10932-10933. Download

[2] Efficient synthesis of molecular knots
G. Rapenne, C. Dietrich-Buchecker, J.P. Sauvage, Chem. Commun. 1997, 2053-2054. Download

[3] Resolution of topologically chiral molecular objects
J.C. Chambron, C. Dietrich-Buchecker, G. Rapenne, J.P. Sauvage, Chirality 1998, 10, 125-133. Download 

4] Copper(I)- or iron(II)-templated synthesis of molecular knots containing two tetrahedral or octahedral coordination sites
G. Rapenne, C. Dietrich-Buchecker, J.-P. Sauvage, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 1999 121, 994-1001. Download 

[5] A dicopper(I) trefoil knot with m-phenylene bridges between the ligand subunits : Synthesis, resolution and absolute configuration
C. Dietrich-Buchecker, G. Rapenne, J.-P. Sauvage, A. De Cian, J. Fischer, Chem. Eur. J. 1999, 5, 1432-1439. Download

[6] Synthesis of catenanes and molecular knots by copper(I)-induced formation of the precursor followed by ruthenium(II)-catalysed ring closing metathesis
C. Dietrich-Buchecker, G. Rapenne, J.-P. Sauvage, Coord. Chem. Rev. 1999, 185, 167-176. Download 

[7] Molecular knots : from early attempts to high-yield template synthesis
C. Dietrich-Buchecker, G. Rapenne, J.-P. Sauvage, Molecular Catenanes, Rotaxanes and Knots, Wiley-VCH, New-York, 1999, 107-142. Download

[8] Regioselective one-step synthesis of trans-3,trans-3,trans-3 and e,e,e [60]fullerene tris-adducts directed by a cyclotriveratrylene tether
G. Rapenne, J. Crassous, A. Collet, L. Echegoyen, F. Diederich, Chem. Commun. 1999, 1121-1122. Download

[9] Resolution, X-ray structure and absolute configuration of a double-stranded helical diiron(II) bis(terpyridine) complex
G. Rapenne, B.T. Patterson, J.-P. Sauvage, F.R. Keene, Chem. Commun. 1999, 1853-1854. Download

[10] A new synthon for the incorporation of [60]fullerene in macrocycles
G. Rapenne, F. Diederich, New J. Chem., 1999, 23, 1125-1127. Download

[11] Chiroptical properties of an optically pure dicopper(I) trefoil knot and its
enantioselectivity in luminescence
S.C.J Meskers, H.P.J.M. Dekkers, G. Rapenne, J.-P. Sauvage, Chem. Eur. J. 2000, 6, 2129-2134. Download

[12] Regioselective one-step synthesis and topological chirality of e,e,e and trans-3, trans-3,trans-3 [60]fullerene-cyclotriveratrylene tris-adducts. Discussion on a topological meso form.
G. Rapenne, J. Crassous, L.E. Echegoyen, L. Echegoyen, E. Flapan, F. Diederich, Helv. Chim. Acta 2000, 83, 1209-1223. Download

[13] The design of a nanoscale molecular barrow
C. Joachim, H. Tang, F. Moresco, G. Rapenne, G. Meyer, Nanotechnology 2002, 13, 330-335. Download

[14] Technomimetic molecules : Synthesis of a molecular wheelbarrow
G. Jimenez-Bueno, G. Rapenne, Tetrahedron Lett. 2003, 44, 6261-6263. Download

[15] Le mouvement de rotation à l’échelle moléculaire : Synthèse de moteurs moléculaires
A. Carella, G. Rapenne, J.-P. Launay, BUP Phys. Chim. 2003, 858, 23-32. Download 

[16] Machines moléculaires : Mécanique des molécules
G. Rapenne, J. Electron. Electrotech. Automat. 2003, 2, 1-4. Download

[17] Technomimetic molecules : Synthesis of ruthenium(II) 1,2,3,4,5-penta(p-bromophenyl) cyclopentadienyl hydrotris(indazolyl)borate, an organometallic molecular turnstile
A. Carella, J. Jaud, G. Rapenne, J.P. Launay, Chem. Commun. 2003, 2434-2435. Download

[18] Progress towards a rotary molecular motor
G. Rapenne, A. Carella, R. Poteau, J. Jaud, J.-P. Launay, in Electronic properties of synthetic nanostructures edited by H. Kuzmahy, S. Roth, M. Mehring and J. Fink, AIP Conference Proceedings, New York : American Institute of Physics, 2004, 723, 503-507.

[19] Design and synthesis of the active part of a potential molecular rotary motor
A. Carella, G. Rapenne, J.-P. Launay, New J. Chem. 2005, 29, 288-290. Download

[20] Molécules “technomimétiques” à commande électrique
J.-P. Launay , C. Coudret, G. Rapenne, Act. Chim. 2005, 287, 51-54. Download 

[21] Imaging of a molecular wheelbarrow by scanning tunneling microscopy
L. Grill, K. H. Rieder, F. Moresco, G. Jimenez-Bueno, C. Wang, G. Rapenne, C. Joachim, Surf. Science , 2005, 584, 153-158. (Letter) Download 

[22] Synthesis of technomimetic molecules : Towards rotation control in single molecular machines and motors
G. Rapenne, Org. Biomol. Chem. 2005, 3, 1165-1169. Sélectionné pour la couverture. Download + Cover

[23] Synthesis of new tripodal tri-functionalized hydrotris(indazol-1-yl)borate ligands and X-ray structure of their ruthenium cyclopentadiene complexes
A. Carella, G. Vives, T. Cox, J. Jaud, G. Rapenne, J.-P. Launay, Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2006, 980-987. Download

[24] Design and synthesis of mono-molecular machines
G. Rapenne, J.P. Launay, C. Joachim, J. Phys. : Condens. Matter 2006, 18, S1797-S1808. Download

[25] A star-shaped ruthenium complex with five ferrocenyl-terminated arms bridged by trans-platinum fragments
G. Vives, A. Carella, J.P. Launay, G. Rapenne, Chem. Commun. 2006, 2283-2285. Download

[26] Synthesis of triester-functionalized molecular motors incorporating bis-acetylide trans-platinum insulating fragments
G. Vives, S. Sistach, A. Carella, J.P. Launay, G. Rapenne, New J. Chem. 2006, 1429-1438. Download

[27] Launching and landing single molecular wheelbarrows on a Cu (100)surface
G. Rapenne, L. Grill, T. Zambelli, S. Stojkovic, F. Ample, F. Moresco, C. Joachim, Chem. Phys. Lett. 2006, 431, 219-222. Download 

[28] Breaking the symetry in the molecular motor family : Synthesis of a dissymetrized pentaphenyl cyclopentadienyl ligand and its ruthenium trisindazolylborate complexe
G. Vives, G. Rapenne, Tetrahedron Lett. 2006, 47, 8741-8744. Download 

[29] A Morse manipulator molecule for the modulation of metallic Shockley surface states
F. Ample, S. Ami, C. Joachim, F. Thiemann, G. Rapenne, Chem. Phys. Lett. 2007, 434, 280-285. Download 

[30] Electron-triggered motions in technomimetic molecules
A. Carella, C. Coudret, G. Guirado, C. Hortholary, G. Rapenne, G. Vives, J.P. Launay, Dalton Trans. 2007, 177-186. Download

[31] Molecular Machines : Synthesis and characterization of two prototypes of molecular weelbarrows
G. Rapenne, G. Jimenez-Bueno, Tetrahedron 2007, 63, 7018-7026. Sélectionné pour la couverture. Download 

[32] HPLC separation and VCD spectroscopy of chiral pyrazoles from dihydrocarvone
E. Tur, G. Vives, G. Rapenne, J. Crassous, N. Vanthuyne, C. Roussel, T. Lombardi, T. Freedman, L. Nafie, Tetrahedron : Asymmetry 2007, 18, 1911-1917 Download 

[33] Synthesis of substituted indazoles and their trisindazolyl borate tripodal derivatives as building blocks for the preparation of molecular rotary motors
G. Rapenne, A. Carella, G. Vives, in Targets in heterocyclic systems, chemistry and properties Volume 11, édité par O. Attanasi and D. Spinelli, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 2007, 244-257. Download 

[34] Synthesis of molecular motors incorporating bicyclo [2-2-2] insulating fragments
G. Vives, A. Gonzalez, J. Jaud, J.-P. Launay, G. Rapenne, Chem. Eur. J. 2007, 13, 5622-5631. Download

[35] Rolling single "nano-wheels" with the STM tip
L. Grill, X. Bouju, G. Rapenne, S. Stojkovic, C. Joachim, K.-H. Rieder, F. Moresco, Nature Nanotech. 2007, 2, 95-98. Sélectionné pour la couverture. Download + Cover

[36] Study and manipulation of single functionalized molecules by low temperature STM
L. Grill, M. Alemani, K.-H. Rieder, F. Moresco, G. Rapenne, S. Stojkovic, C. Joachim, C. Joachim, M.V. Peters, S. Hecht, J. Scan. Probe Microsc. 2007, 2, 19-23.

[37] The chemistry of 1,2,3,4,5-pentaphenylcyclopentadienyl hydrotris(indazolyl)borate ruthenium(II) complexes, building blocks for the construction of potential organometallic molecular motors
G. Vives, A. Carella, J.P. Launay, G. Rapenne, Coord. Chem. Rev. 2008, 252, 1451-1459. Download 

[38] A family of electron-triggered molecular motors based on aromatic building blocks
H.P. Jacquot de Rouville, G. Vives, G. Rapenne, Pure Appl. Chem. 2008, 80, 659-667. Download

[39] Self-alignment of organic molecular lines at room temperature by template effect of pre-structured Sm/Si(111)-8x2 interface
F. Palmino, Y. Makoudi, E. Duverger, M. Arab, F. Chérioux, G. Rapenne, F. Ample, X. Bouju, Chem. Phys. Chem. 2008, 9, 1437-1441. Download

[40] Directed synthesis of symmetric and dissymetric molecular motors built around a ruthenium cyclopentadienyl tris(indazolyl)borate complex
G. Vives, G. Rapenne, Tetrahedron 2008, 64, 11462-11468. Download 

[41] Synthesis and reactivity of penta(4-halogenophenyl)cyclopentadienyl hydrotris (indazolyl)borate ruthenium(II) complexes : Rotation-induced Fosbury flop in an organometallic molecular turnstile
A. Carella, J.P. Launay, R. Poteau, G. Rapenne, Chem. Eur. J. 2008, 14, 8147-8156. Download

[42] Synthesis and analytical resolution of chiral pyrazoles derived from dihydrocarvone
H.P. Jacquot de Rouville, G. Vives, E. Tur, J. Crassous, G. Rapenne, New J. Chem. 2009, 33, 293-299. Download

[43] Prototypes of molecular motors based on star-shaped organometallic ruthenium complexes
G. Vives, H.P. Jacquot de Rouville, A. Carella, J.P. Launay, G. Rapenne, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2009, 38, 1551-1561. Download

[44] Synthesis of substituted indazoles and their corresponding tris(indazolyl)borate tripodal ligands as key building blocks for molecular motors
G. Rapenne, Inorg. Chim. Acta 2009, 362, 4276-4283. Download 

[45] Synthesis of an azobenzene-functionalized hydrotris(indazol-1-yl)borate ligand and its ruthenium cyclopentadiene complexe
H.P. Jacquot de Rouville, D. Villenave, G. Rapenne, Tetrahedron 2010, 66, 1885-1891. Download 

[46] Regioselectivity in tether-directed remote functionalization. The addition of a cyclotriveratrylene-based tris-malonate to C60 revisited
A. Kraszewska, P. Rivera-Fuentes, G. Rapenne, J. Crassous, A.G. Petrovic, J.L. Alonso-Gómez, E. Huerta, F. Diederich, C. Thilgen, Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2010, 4402-4411. Download

[47] Bridging the Gap : Making the Link in Mechanically Interlocked Chiral Molecules
I.M. Dixon, G. Rapenne, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 8792-8794. Download

[48] Synthesis and electrochemical characteristics of a donor-acceptor porphyrinate rotor mounted on a naphthalocyaninato europium complex
R. Stefak, N. Ratel-Ramond, G. Rapenne, Inorg. Chim. Acta 2012, 380, 181-186. Download

[49] Synthesis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-based nanovehicles equiped with triptycene wheels
H.P. Jacquot de Rouville, R. Garbage, R.E. Cook, A.R. Pujol, A.M. Sirven, G. Rapenne, Chem. Eur. J. 2012, 18,3023-3031. Download

[50] Synthesis and STM-imaging of symmetric and dissymmetric ethynyl-bridged dimers of boron-subphthalocyanine bowl-shaped nano-wheels
H.P. Jacquot de Rouville, R. Garbage, F. Ample, A. Nickel, J. Meyer, F. Moresco, C. Joachim, G. Rapenne, Chem. Eur. J. 2012, 18, 8925-8928. Download

[51] STM Manipulation of boron-subphthalocyanine nano-wheel dimers on Au(111)
A. Nickel, J. Meyer, R. Ohlmann, H.P. Jacquot de Rouville, G. Rapenne, C. Joachim, G. Cuniberti, F. Moresco, J. Phys. : Condens. Matter, 2012, 24, 404001. Download

[52] Directional molecular sliding at room temperature on a silicon runway
X. Bouju, F. Chérioux, S. Coget, G. Rapenne, F. Palmino, Nanoscale  2013, 5, 7005-7010. Download

[53] Molecule concept-nanocars : chassis, wheels and motors ?
C. Joachim, G. Rapenne,ACS Nano, 2013, 7, 11-14. Download

[54] Controlled clockwise and anticlockwise rotational switching of a molecular motor

U.G.E. Perera, F. Ample, H. Kersell, Y. Zhang, J. Echeverria, M. Grisolia, G. Vives, G. Rapenne, C. Joachim, S.W. Hla, Nature Nanotech. 2013, 8, 46-51. Download

[55] Un moteur électrique tournant à volonté dans un sens ou dans l’autre
C. Joachim, G. Rapenne, Act. Chim., 2015, 392, 8-11. Download

[56] Single molecular rotating machines : Nanovehicles and motors
C. Joachim, G. Rapenne, Top. Curr. Chem. 2014, 354, 253-277. Download

[57] Triptycene or subphthalocyanine wheels and polyaromatic hydrocarbon nanovehicles
H.-P. Jacquot de Rouville, R. Garbage, A.M. Sirven, C. Kammerer, G. Rapenne, in Single Molecular Machines and Motors, Ed. G. Rapenne, Springer, Berlin, 2015, 5, 65-79. Download 

[58] Single molecular motors and gears based on star-shaped ruthenium complexes
R. Stefak, J. Echeverria, C. Joachim, G. Rapenne, in Single Molecular Machines and Motors, Ed. G. Rapenne, Springer, Berlin, 2015, 5, 109-126. Download  

59] Improved synthesis of 6-((ethylsulfanyl) méthyl)-1H- indazole
A.M. Sirven, R. Stefak, G. Rapenne, Heterocycl. Comm. 2015, 21, 5-8. Download 

[60] Desymmetrization on both ligands of pentaphenylcyclopentadienyl hydrotris(indazolyl)borate ruthenium(II) complexes : Prototypes of organometallic molecular gears and motors
R. Stefak, A.M. Sirven, S. Fukumoto, H. Nakagawa, G. Rapenne, Coord. Chem. Rev. 2015, 287, 69-88. Download 

61] Synthesis of functionalized mono-, bis- and tris-ethynyltriptycenes for one-dimensional self-assembly on surfaces
A.M. Sirven, R. Garbage, Y. Qiao, C. Kammerer, G. Rapenne, Chem. Eur. J. 2015, 21, 15013-15019. Download 

[62] Scorpionate hydrotris(indazolyl)borate ligands as tripodal platform for surface-mounted molecular motors and gears
C. Kammerer, G. Rapenne, Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2016, 2214-2216. Download 

[63] Controlled directional motions of molecular vehicles, rotors and motors : from metallic to silicon surfaces, a strategy to operate at higher temperature

F. Chérioux, F. Palmino, O. Galangau, G. Rapenne, Chem. Phys. Chem. 2016, 1742-1751. Download

64]  Simultaneous and coordinated rotational switching of all molecular rotors in a network
Y. Zhang, H. Kersell, R. Stefak, J. Echeverria, V. Iancu, G. Perera, Y. Li, A. Deshpande, K.-F. Braun, C. Joachim, G. Rapenne, S.-W. Hla, Nature Nanotech. 2016, 11, 706-713. Download