Sautet, Philippe

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Physical Chemistry
Nanoscience and Materials
French Academy of Sciences

Contact Information

5531-J Boelter Hall


Philippe Sautet has studied at “Ecole Polytechnique” in Paris and defended his doctorate in Theoretical Chemistry at Orsay University (Paris XI) in 1989. He then entered CNRS at the Institute of Research on Catalysis in Lyon, where he developed and lead a group devoted to the applications of theoretical chemistry to heterogeneous catalysis. He spent a sabbatical at Berkeley University. After being the director of the laboratory of Chemistry at the ENS of Lyon for 8 years, he was director of the “Institut de Chimie de Lyon”, a cluster of chemistry laboratories in Lyon, from 2007 to 2015. Philippe Sautet is now Professor at the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department and at the Chemistry and Biochemistry department of UCLA

He has published over 300 scientific papers. The impact of his research is illustrated by more than 100 invited lectures at conferences and by a H factor of 61. He received several awards including the silver medal of CNRS in 2007, the Paul Pascal Prize of the French Academy of Science in 2008 and the Pierre Süe Grand Prize of the French Chemical Society in 2012. He was elected at the French Academy of Science in 2010. In addition France distinguished him as “Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite” for his action in research and research organization and as “Chevalier de l’ordre des palmes académiques” for his teaching and action towards students. He is nominated in several councils or committees and is associate editor of ACS Catalysis, an international journal published by the American Chemical Society.

Research Interests

Professor Philippe Sautet's research interests are in the theory of the electronic structure at the interface between a solid surface and molecules and the modeling of elementary steps of heterogeneous catalysis.  His work on the simulation of the atomic scale image of surfaces obtained with the scanning tunneling microscope brought him to international attention. He is worldwide recognized for his theoretical study at the molecular scale of catalysts and catalyzed reactions. He collaborates with several experimental groups in the field.

Research Web Site >>

Honors & Awards

  • Pierre Süe Grand Prize of the French Chemical Society  2012
  • Member of the French Academy of Sciences, 2010
  • Silver medal of the CNRS 2007
  • Descartes-Huygens prize 1998, awarded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Award of the Catalysis Division of the French Chemical Society 1993
  • Bronze medal of the CNRS 1991
  • Raymond Berr student research award of the École Polytechnique 1985



[ Selected Recent Papers ]


  • Federico Calle-Vallejo, David Loffreda, Marc T. M. Koper and Philippe Sautet
    Introducing structural sensitivity into scaling relations between adsorption energies by means of
    coordination numbers
    Nature Chem. 7, 403-410 (2015)

  • Aleix Comas-Vives, Maxence Valla, Christophe Copéret and Philippe Sautet
    Cooperativity between Al–sites promotes H-transfer and carbon–carbon bond formation upon
    dimethylether activation on alumina
    ACS Cent. Sci., 1, 313−319 (2015)

  • Federico Calle-Vallejo, Jakub Tymoczko, Viktor Colic, Quang Huy Vu, Marcus D. Pohl,
    Karina Morgenstern, David Loffreda, Philippe Sautet, Wolfgang Schuhmann, Aliaksandr S.
    Finding optimal surface sites on heterogeneous catalysts by counting nearest neighbors
    Science, 350, 185-189 (2015)

  • Carine Michel, Jérémie Zaffran, Joanna Matras-Michalska, Marcin Jedrzejczyk,
    Agnieszka M. Ruppert, Jacek Grams, and Philippe Sautet
    Role of water on metal catalyst performance for ketone hydrogenation. A join experimental and
    theoretical study on levulinic acid conversion into gamma-valerolactone
    Chem. Comm. 50, 12450 (2014)

  • Federico Calle-Vallejo, José I. Martínez, Juan M. García-Lastra, Philippe Sautet and David
    Fast prediction of adsorption properties for platinum nanocatalysts with generalized coordination
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 8316-8319 (2014)

  • Florian Göltl, Rosa E. Bulo, Jürgen Hafner, Philippe Sautet
    What makes copper-exchanged SSZ-13 zeolite efficient at cleaning car exhaust gases?
    J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 4, 2244-2249 (2013)

  • D. Loffreda, C. Michel, F. Delbecq, P. Sautet
    Tuning catalytic reactivity on metal surfaces: Insights from DFT
    J. Catal. 308, 374-385 (2013)

  • Etienne Grau, Anne Lesage, Sébastien Norsic, Christophe Copéret, Vincent Monteil, Philippe
    Tetrahydrofuran in TiCl4/THF/MgCl2: a non-innocent ligand for supported Ziegler-Natta
    polymerization catalysts
    ACS Catalysis 3, 52-56 (2013)

  • R. N. Kerber A. Kermagoret, E. Callens, P. Florian, D. Massiot, A. Lesage, C. Copéret, F.
    Delbecq, X. Rozanska, P. Sautet
    Nature and structure of aluminum surface sites grafted on silica from a combination of high field
    aluminum-27 solid-state NMR spectroscopy and first principle calculations
    J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134, 6767-6775 (2012)

  • R. Wischert, P. Laurent, C. Copéret, F. Delbecq, P. Sautet
    γ-alumina: The essential and unexpected role of water for the structure, stability, and reactivity of
    “Defect” sites
    J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134, 14430-14449 (2012)

  • Emiel de Smit, Matti M. van Schooneveld, Fabrizio Cinquini, Hendrik Bluhm, Philippe
    Sautet, Frank M. F. de Groot and Bert M. Weckhuysen
    Size dependence of the surface chemistry of iron oxides in reactive gas atmospheres
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 50, 1584-1588 (2011)

  • R. Wischert, C. Copéret, F. Delbecq, P. Sautet
    Optimal water coverage on alumina: a key to generate Lewis acid-base pairs reactive towards the
    C-H bond activation of methane
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 50, 3202-3205 (2011)