The conference is organized around three main topics dealing with the structure, dynamics and function of molecular and supramolecular objects of increasing complexity: small building blocks, biological systems and materials. At each stage a combination of different experimental and theoretical techniques is employed. The techniques include: time-dependent UV/VIS and vibrational spectroscopy, microwave, x-ray and neutron crystallography, inelastic neutron scattering, liquid and solid state NMR, all methods of theoretical chemistry, numerical simulations; photoinduced processes, isotope substitution. The capabilities of the local large scale neutron and X-ray facilities available at Ile de France (reactor Orphée of Laboratoire Léon Brillouin and SOLEIL) will be exemplified.


The most detailed studies of hydrogen bonds are possible in small building blocks, from which progressively more complex systems with extended hydrogen bonded networks can be constructed. Phenomena like hydrogen bond vibrations, coherent vs. incoherent proton tunneling, or femtosecond dynamics may be studied as a function of system size. Hydrogen bond cooperativity and anti-cooperativity can be unravelled and proton transfer processes may be investigated in detail. Effects of reduced dimensionality become accessible in studies of molecules at air-liquid, liquid-liquid as well as the inner surfaces of organic and inorganic porous compounds with bound guests.

A1-Isolated hydrogen bonds (gas phase, clusters, molecules, molecular jets)
A2- Embedded hydrogen bonds (matrices, droplets, cryosolutions, solutions, encapsulations)
A3- Interfacial hydrogen bonds (surfaces, liquid-liquid interfaces, porous surfaces, aerosols)
A4- Condensed phases (solids, liquids, glasses of small molecules, water in particular)


Hydrogen bonding plays an important role in biological systems in determining the three-dimensional structures adopted by proteins and nucleic acids. Interactions between parts of the same macromolecule cause it to fold into a specific shape, contributing importantly to its physiological or biochemical role. Examples of crystallographic structures combining neutron and x-ray diffraction will be presented. Beyond structure, emphasis will be put on the functionality of hydrogen bonds at active sites in biomolecules and on the specific role of individual water molecules.

B1- Biomolecular solvation, in particular hydration
B2- Biomolecular recognition and cooperativity
B3- Functional hydrogen bonds in biomolecules, active sites, mechanisms
B4- Biomembranes


By increasing the complexity of the covalent framework in hydrogen bonded systems, one arrives at synthetic materials with more or less pronounced short- and long-range order and a broad spectrum of tuneable physico-chemical properties. They are usually constructed with a specific functionality and application in mind. Biologically inspired materials start to play a growing role in this field. Energy storage is another important area where hydrogen bonded materials are gaining significance.

C1- Crystals (crystal engineering, ferroelectrics)
C2- Liquid crystals
C3- Polymers (e.g. proton sponges, proton conductors, smart materials, coatings)
C4- Hydrogen storage, fuel cells, ionic liquids, etc.

XVIII International Conference on
"Horizons in Hydrogen Bond Research"
14-18 September 2009, Paris, France
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