Thomas Zemb / CV



  • "Heat-sensitive compounds having a dissociation point and suitable as extractants agents for separation of metals in aqueous solution. (2002)" Madic, Charles; Berthon, Laurence; Zorz, Nicole; Coulombeau, Helene; Testard, Fabienne; Zemb, Thomas; Gibanel, Sebastien; Larpent, Chantal; Baczko, Krystyna (2003). (Commissariat à L'Energie Atomique, Fr.) Fr. Demande (2003), 54 pp.
  • M. Dubois and Th. Zemb: Catanionic molecular boxes and adsorption layers of catanionic nanodiscs for corrosion and friction control. ( 2 European patents)

Selected Publications

related to the main theme of research in 1998-2008 the newly discovered “catanionic” off-stoechiometry microcrystals:

  • Dubois, M., Gulik, T., Demé, B., and Zemb, T.: Rigid organic nanodisks of controlled size : a catanionic formulation. Comptes rendus de l'Academie des Sciences t. 1, Serie II c, p. 567-575 (1998).
  • Zemb, T., Dubois, M., Demé, B., and Gulik-Kryzwicki, T.: Self-assembly of flananodiscs in salt-free catanionic surfactant solutions. Science 283: 816-820 (1999).
  • Dubois, M., Belloni, L., Zemb, T., Demé, B., and Gulik-Krzywicki, T.: Formation of rigid nanodiscs edge formation and molecular separation. Prog. Colloid Polym. Sci. 115: 238-242 (2000).
  • Dubois, M., Demé, B., Gulik-Krzywicki, T., Dedieu, J., Vautrin, C., Désert, S., Perez , E., and Zemb, T.: Self-assembly of regular hollow icosahedra in salt-free catanionic solutions. Nature 411: 672 (2001).
  • Meister, A., Dubois, M., Belloni, L., and Zemb, T.: Equation of state of self- assembled disc- like and icosahedral crystallites in the dilute range. Langmuir (2003) 19, 7259-7263.
  • Zemb, T., and Dubois, M.: Catanionic microcrystals: organic platelets, molecules over one Gigadalton or ultimately cleaved ionic solids? Australian Journal of chemistry



European Prize in Colloids and Interfaces (2004) for the work on catanionics.
French National prize in Physical chemistry in 2004 (Chemistry section of the Academy of Science): Prix Paul Pascal

Research interests are centered on colloidal interactions beyond DLVO since 1985.

He is author of over 200  publications referenced in “web of science”, with an H-factor of 38  (2012) mainly about strongly interacting colloidal systems, studied by scattering experiments, as well as applications such as ion separation, targeted delivery and nano-materials for long-term storage.


Thomas Zemb is founding Director of  the Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule (UMR 5257 CEA/CNRS/UM2/ENSCM) since March 2007.  This newly created Institute has been planned since June 2005 and open in January 2010, with a staff of 80 out of the planned staff of 90 scientists as in February 2012.

He was formerly Director of  the Laboratoire Claude Fréjacques (URA 331 CNRS-CEA) in Saclay.  This laboratory included 25 tenured staff scientists, with main expertise in physical chemistry via statistical thermodynamics of soft-condensed matter, NMR applied to engineering, uranium organo-metallic chemistry and  radiolysis in complex fluids.

He is Full Professor at Institut des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires since 1994 : teaching colloidal chemistry, nuclear chemistry, general physical chemistry, and  cosmetics in three different masters programs.

He was in Charge the Group of Chemistry of ultra-divided matter in the French Atomic commission from 1992 to 2004 (CEA/DSM/DRECAM/SCM).  This group discovered the unique properties of “salt-free” catanionic materials, their preparation and usage, including two general patents.

He has finished nuclear engineering study at ETH Zurich in 1973, with a Diplomarbeit with Prof Marmier on an open laboratory scale neutron activation elemtnetar anlayis based on neutrosn produced by d-t fusion.

He has been nominated “Professeur agrégé des Universités” in the national promotion of 1976, mention “Sciences physiques”.  As high-school teacher ( September 1976 till September 1978), he participated in writing 5 books for students in last years of high school) at Editions Hatier. These books, and the exercises and introduction to science history) were used by 70% of French high school pupils/teachers between 1978 and 1991. He was co-founder, with Professor Louis Soulié, of the “ADELIE” enterprise (1977_1983) , devoted to simulation physics and chemistry practicals of using 6809-based microcomputers and using formal as well as self-coiling flexible programation derived from the IBM-developed language APL.

He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics at Institute Curie in 1978 Pr M. Duquesne about “single photon fluorescence on intercalating molecules in DNA” and Habilitation (these d’Etat)  in Solid state Physics, University Orsay (1985), including 18 papers on microstructures of micelles and microemulsions via combined SAXS/SANS and NMR studies. This work motivated the award of national price of the “physical chemistry” section by “Société Française de Chimie” the same year.

Visiting scientist at Australian National University in Canberra (Australia) 1985- 1989, both in department of applied mathematics (Pr Barry Ninham) and Chemistry (Pr J W White).

Co-Chairman of the French collaborative research group in Colloids “Systèmes colloïdaux mixtes (1993-1997) with Isabelle Rico-Lattes and  jean-Luc Popot.

Elected President of the European Colloid and Interface society (1999-2001).