In the field of quantum mechanics, the scientific links between theorists from Bordeaux and theorists from Donostia – San Sebastián started in 1992 when the Bordeaux-based researcher Antoine Salin spent a sabbatical year in Donostia working together with Pedro Miguel Echenique and Andrés Arnau. At the time, these researchers were interested in the collision of neutral and charged particles with solids and surfaces, a topic of long tradition in condensed matter physics. The joint project that they developed together can be considered as the seed of a long-term fruitful collaboration on the couplings between nuclei and electron dynamics in solids. 

Almost 25 years later, many are the researchers that have enrolled into the collaboration and the topics of common interest have been certainly expanded. In the 2000’s, research focused mainly on the understanding of chemical reactivity at gas-solid interfaces. More recently, joint investigations on electron transport and light-matter interaction have been started as well.  Along the years, methodological developments in molecular dynamics simulation and electronic structure calculations have been necessary. The expertise acquired along the years lies at the heart of modern theoretical physical chemistry/chemical physics.

The joint collaboration between Bordeaux and Donostia has already led to more than 45 scientific publications, 3 transnational projects, 1 ANR project, the mobility of 11 researchers (at all professional levels) between the two cities, as well as to the organization of 10 international meetings (conferences, workshops or symposia), in Bordeaux, Donostia, and Bayonne. 7 joint PhD projects are currently under way, and 1 additional joint PhD thesis has already been defended.

In order to reinforce the scientific projects, develop new and ambitious lines of research, and facilitate the sharing of resources among researchers and institutions, a new formal framework was required. For this reason, UBx, UPV/EHU, and DIPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding on November 26th 2015, in the context of the 2015 Euskampus-Bordeaux Symposium, for the development of a Transborder Joint Laboratory (LTC) in the field of Theoretical Chemistry and Physics at the Quantum Scale. About 20 researchers from Bordeaux and Donostia are currently working together in this framework, focusing on “the theoretical aspects of chemistry and physics at the quantum scale”.