Established since 1968 in the greenfield campus of Louvain-la-Neuve, the Université catholique de Louvain (www.uclouvain.be) is Belgium's largest French-speaking university. With more than 2000 researchers, three scientific parks, and around 200 laboratories, UCL is further recognized as an university of international standard.

The Université catholique de Louvain is organized in three sectors that are composed of 20 research institutes and 14 faculties and schools. The institutes develop and implement research policies in scientific fields of concern, and further articulate these policies around research divisions.

Both fundamental and applied research is conducted at UCL covering various fields of science and technology. The University follows an interdisciplinary approach through numerous joint activities involving different research teams, and also works with several other universities and research centres in Belgium and abroad.


  • Tailoring and characterization of surfaces and interfaces;
  • Fabrication and characterization of materials and devices;
  • Synthesis, processing and characterization of polymers

Research in Bio- and Soft Matter

Bio & Soft matter

The division of Bio- and Soft Matter (www.uclouvain.be/en-bsma) of the Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences (www.uclouvain.be/imcn) of the Université catholique de Louvain (www.uclouvain.be) hosts about 100 researchers and technicians active in the field of soft matter taken in its broader meaning.

From controlled synthesis of functional polymers to hybrid or even purely inorganic nanowires integrated in prototypic devices, the activities of BSMA cover scientific topics as diverse as self-assembly, biosensing and biointerfaces, polymer science, surface science, (nano)composites, organic electronics, or even spintronics, for applications in medicine, electronics and information technology, materials, or energy.

These research activities are supported by a strong expertise in synthesis, nanofabrication and processing, as well as in the characterization of surfaces, materials and devices.


Activities in BSMA are notably focused on the development and characterization of functional and smart nano-structures and surfaces. To achieve these objectives, BSMA researchers have developed expertise in fields including: synthesis and fabrication of functional nano-structures ranging from organic to inorganic or hybrid nano-wires/tubes, etched membranes, alumina templates; surface modification and functionalizationtechniques such as nano-patterning and nano-lithography, layer-by-layer assembly, polymer brush synthesis bio-functionalization; nanoscale characterisation of the structural, mechanical, physical, and chemical properties of nanomaterials and surfaces.


The BSMA division also has great expertise in the fields of supramolecular chemistry (H-bonds, metal coordination, topological links), polymerization techniques, self-assemblyof (co-)polymers in solutions as in solid state, design of structured and smart materialsfor advanced applications in mechanics, drug delivery and energy storage. To this end, BSMA researchers have developed a practical knowledge of a large variety of physico-chemical characterization methods involving spectroscopy, microscopy, light scattering/diffraction and thermo-mechanical analysis.


BSMA is finally active in basic and oriented research on a wide range of macro- and supramolecular materials. The overall objective is to link the structure, in a broad sense, to desired properties, either structural or functional. State of the art experimental characterization and processing techniques are complemented by molecular modelling, focusing on a mesoscale description of material structure. Recent research interests include smart materials like, e.g., stimuli-responsive supramolecular gels, dental composites, nano-composites, high performance composites for aeronautics, multifunctional and hierarchical materials, to name just a few examples.

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