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ICMAB PhD Programme Severo Ochoa fellowships

Within the programme, 4 PhD fellowships are offered by the ICMAB-CSIC for the academic year 2017-2018

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 3 DE OCTUBRE 2017

 

  • About

    ICMAB-CSIC is an internationally renowned public research institute in Advanced Functional Materials integrated in the National Research Council of Spain (CSIC). The mission of ICMAB is to generate new knowledge in Materials Science through excellent scientific research useful for society and industry.

    ICMAB has 57 permanent and 90 non-permanent scientists and a total of 220 people divided in eight Research Groups. The center has outstanding international competitiveness, with a large number of high impact articles and citations and European research projects participation (5 ERC grants at present), with the strongest international leadership position in the specific domains of Functional molecular, supramolecular and oxide materials. The center has been recently awarded with the label of Center of Excellence “Severo Ochoa” by the Spanish Ministry.

    The Strategic Research Program includes five mission-oriented Research Lines to face three social grand-challenges: clean and secure energy, smart and sustainable electronics and smart nanomedicine. The strategic Research Lines are: 1/ Energy storage and conversion; 2/ Superconductors for power applicaations; 3/ Oxide electronics; 4/ Molecular electronics; 5/ Multifunctional nanostructured biomaterials.

    The ICMAB - CSIC is one of the top research institutions named as a Severo Ochoa Research Centre by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) in charge of research and innovation policy in Spain, which recognizes excellence at the highest international level in terms of research, training, human resources, outreach and technology transfer. The Severo Ochoa award provides 4M€ over 2016-2019 to implement ICMAB’s Research and Human Resources Programmes.

  • Eligibility

    -Candidates should be ready to enter an official doctoral programme in September 2017 (under Spanish Law). By this time, they must have obtained a university degree and a master degree; or must hold an official university qualification from a country of the European Higher Education Area with a minimum of 300 ECTS of official university studies, of which at least 60 are at masters’ level.

    - Candidates must have a strong commitment to scientific research and an excellent academic record.

    - Candidates must have good working knowledge of English.

  • PhD Research Topics and Projects

    MATERIALS FOR ENERGY STORAGE OR CONVERSION

    IPPROJECT
    Dino Tonti and Andrea Sorrentino


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    Metal/air batteries could allow 3-5 times the specific energy of current Li-ion batteries at a lower cost, making an ideal choice for electric vehicles. However, their durability is often limited, and the mechanisms that lead to their failure are generally poorly understood. The research line lead by Dr. Dino Tonti aims to contribute to this rationalization and improve performance by combining new materials and advanced characterization. The present work will be directed by Dr. Dino Tonti in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Sorrentino, beamline scientist at the Synchrotron ALBA, where part of the experiments will be designed and carried out. Materials will be prepared within the frame of a project focusing on the development of materials and applications based on bacterial cellulose, lead by Prof. Anna Roig. The starting cellulose material will be provided by ICMAB’s Nanoparticles and Nanocomposites group (www.icmab.es/nn). Dr. Dino Tonti is a chemist, staff scientist at ICMAB. He has worked on surface science and optical techniques, synthesis of colloidal nanoparticles, carbons and battery materials. As CSIC responsible within the EU project LABOHR he has gained considerable insight in Li-air batteries, and remains involved in metal-air batteries within several topics: development of novel electrode architectures, study of electrolyte additives, and characterization of electrochemical processes by analysis of discharge products and in situ monitoring. Dr. Andrea Sorrentino is scientist at MISTRAL, ALBA’s transmission soft X-ray microscopy beamline. His current research interests focus on the study of samples using different techniques: cryo transmission tomography, X-ray magnetic circular dichroism and spectromicroscopy, the latter in particular on battery materials.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    All battery components have strong influence on the performance, however the interplay between the design of the positive electrode, the operating conditions and the electrolyte composition is extraordinarily complex and leads to a wide range of performances. A key factor to understand the reaction mechanism and to control rechargeability is the composition and architecture of the discharge products. Combining lab- and synchrotron-based methods, this work will study the morphology and composition of products precipitated during the cell discharge, and relate them to several factors such as the electrode texture, the presence of solid or soluble catalysts or other additives in the electrolyte able to control the stability of reaction intermediates. This information will help to minimize formation of side products, and produce precipitate architectures that promote the most efficient removal. As substrate we use bacterial cellulose, a high purity, renewable, safe and easily processable material, consisting of cross-linked nanometric fibers. After pyrolysis it provides electrodes with suitable architecture, and conductivity comparable to those from carbon nanotubes or graphene. It provides at the same time a well-defined model system for basic studies as a scalable material for practical applications. The student will participate to the development of more efficient metal/air batteries in the team, and share materials and setups with other students. In particular he/she will: • Process bacterial cellulose as functionalized binder-free electrodes • Investigate their electrochemical behavior in batteries. • Investigate the electrode and cell materials before, during and after operation using imaging and spectroscopic techniques, with emphasis on • Required degree: MSc or equivalent in Physics, Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Chemical engineering or Materials Science. • Valuable experience: electrochemical energy storage, interfacial electrochemistry, electron microscopy, x-ray absorption.

    GROUP LEADER

    Dino Tonti dino@icmab.es

    Xavier Torrelles and José Luis García


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    One of the most promising technologies capable of providing high energy yield without pollutant byproducts is the photocatalytic water splitting (PWS) using sunlight. To achieve overall water splitting the redox reactions of water splitting are first initiated by photon absorption to generate electron-hole pairs. The charge carriers migrate to the surface of the catalysts and react with surface active sites to reduce water to form hydrogen, while the holes oxidize water molecules to give oxygen. TiO2 is one of the most studied photocatalysts, however, its fast charge carrier recombination (electron-hole pairs) results in the release of unproductive energy. Ferroelectric (FE) film systems showing spontaneous polarization (SP) oriented along the film normal direction exhibiting an open-circuit photovoltage under illumination can drive charge carriers to opposite surfaces (bulk photovoltaic effect). The FE-field acts to drive electrons and holes to different locations on the surface, thus creating spatially separate sites for reduction and oxidation reactions. The FE’s dipolar field can be exploited covering the FE with the appropriate photocatalyst (TiO2). Assuming that the Fe-field is not completely screened by charge at the interface, it will influence carriers in the film. BiFeO3 and BaTiO3 are semiconductors with a relatively narrow band gap (2.5, 3.42 eV) and well defined SP along their pseudo-cubic <111> and <001> directions, respectively. Their internal polarization will reduce recombination of the photogenerated carriers and will enhance the photocatalytic efficiency. The TiO2 films will be grown on BaTiO3(001) and on BiFeO3(111) films over SrTiO3(001) and SrTiO3(111), respectively. Several TiO2 film thicknesses will be grown by PLD to understand: the evolution of the TiO2 film structure, its interface, polarization decay dependence with film thickness, surface and electronic film properties under operando electrochemical conditions with external applied bias.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    As part of the Advanced Structural and Functional Characterization research group, the Crystallography of Magnetic and Electronic Oxides (CMEOS) group provides the platform and expertise for sample preparation (thin films by Pulsed Laser Deposition and powder oxides) and characterization using conventional techniques (high resolution X-ray diffraction, local probe microscopies, electron microscopy and UHV sample characterization in ALBA partner laboratory) as well as advanced surface structural and electronic characterization using synchrotron radiation techniques. As PhD involved in the project “Use of highly ordered switchable ferroelectric films to enhance the water splitting activity of TiO2 photo-catalysts” for the CMEOS group, your missions will be the following: - Play and active role in the synthesis of the thin films specified in the project by PLD - Play an active role in the accomplishment of all those measures that are necessary for the correct characterization of the samples - Play an active role in the electrochemical characterization of the selected compounds - Availability to attend training courses in any of the areas of the group: advanced characterization in synchrotron radiation techniques, training in UHV technologies... - Availability to travel (participation in experiments carried out in large facilities, training courses, attendance to workhops and or conferences, ...) - Active collaboration in the design and testing of a photoelectrochemical cell Profile, skills and experience: - You should hold a BSc in Physics or Materials Science with a Master’ degree in Materials Science or preferably in Electrochemistry - Experience in conventional characterization tools, knowledge on diffraction techniques mandatory - Experience in thin film synthesis using PLD, preferably RHEED assisted. - Ability to work in group and methodical in laboratory work - Proficiency in English

    GROUP LEADER

    Xavier Torrelles – torrelles@icmab.es José Luis Garcia-Muñoz – garcia@icmab.es



    Elies Molins


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    The research project is the basis of the current collaboration between the group at the ICMAB, with long experience in preparation of porous materials, and the group at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), dedicated to the development of the technology for hydrogen production. The personnel currently involved in this collaboration include chemists, physicists and engineers. The objective of the project is the building of microreactors for the production of hydrogen from water and/or ethanol using in most cases solar light. The microreactors are expected to generate hydrogen on demand for feeding fuel cells used for powering devices, avoiding the problems of hydrogen storage and transport. The microreactors are composed of channels filled with porous catalysts through which liquid water and/or ethanol flow. Two important parts of the project are the design of the channel structure and the preparation of the catalysts. Both parts are not independent, as the flow through the reactors depends both on the channels and on the porosity of the catalysts, and the microreactors need to ensure a flow large enough as for feeding continuously the fuel cells. The group at the ICMAB is in charge of developing new catalysts that are tested by the group at the UPC. These catalysts are composed of one or more metal oxides (titania, zirconia and ceria, at the moment) in some cases doped with noble metal nanoparticles. The preparation consists on synthesizing a gel, which is a continuous pore structure of metal oxide with a liquid filling the pores, then removing the liquid while preserving as much as possible this pore structure, and finally applying a thermal treatment to crystallize the metal oxide into the phase active in catalysis. The main challenge of this part of the project is to get an adequate control on the characteristics of the catalysts, allowing their preparation with tailored compositions and pore structures.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    The researcher will integrate in a group that is developing a project about new nanoporous catalysts for hydrogen production in microreactors built by 3D printing. He/she will be in charge of preparing the catalysts, of characterizing them, determining their microstructure and composition, and of analyzing the relationship between their characteristics and the results of the hydrogen production tests. He/she is also expected to play an active role in the design of preparation routes for the catalysts. The position is based at the ICMAB, where the laboratories for the preparation of the catalysts are available together with most of the facilities needed for the characterization. He/she will also work in close collaboration with the team in charge of building the microreactors and performing the hydrogen production tests, which is based at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, in Barcelone. The preparation of the catalysts will require simple chemical synthesis and the operation of freeze-dryers, supercritical fluid facilities and ovens. The characterization will involve a wide range of techniques of common use in nanotechnology, such as electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, nitrogen isotherms, inductively coupled plasma, etc. So, the formation received will be extremely valuable for future work in nanotechnology related developments, an area in growing expansion. As the research group is able to provide all the training needed, the only mandatory requirement is a degree in Chemistry, Materials Science or a related discipline. However, given the tasks to develop, previous experience in a chemistry laboratory is highly envisaged. Knowledge of the sol-gel process and the involved chemistry for preparing porous materials is also an asset. The researchers should be able to work autonomously and have easiness in acquiring new knowledge. It is expected for him/her to take part in defining the requirements of the catalysts needed for the microreactors, as well as taking decisions on the methodologies used to prepare and characterize them.

    GROUP LEADER

    Elies Molins elies@icmab.es



    Ángel Pérez del Pino


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    The main purpose of the proposal is to synthesize carbon-based hybrid nanostructures and films on flexible metallic electrodes, using earth-abundant, low cost and eco-friendly materials for the fabrication of high performance electrochemical energy storage devices. In particular, versatile and novel laser methodologies (laser surface processing and matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation) will be used to obtain carbon nanostructures / metal oxides (MeO) nanocomposite films based on vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNTs) and nanowalls, reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and MeO nanostructures. The chemical composition and structure at the micro-nanoscale of the obtained materials will be fully characterized, in addition to their functional properties. The final goal is to complete the fabrication of hybrid supercapacitor devices. The suitable combination of laser-based technologies will offer the possibility to produce electrodes with high energy storage density, high capacitance/mass ratio, and more stable life-cycles. These techniques are expected to be of low-cost and easy to integrate in industrial processes. In particular, the methods applied in this proposal will put forward new ways in order to fabricate CNT- and graphene-based hybrid nanocomposite electrodes eluding many problems related to conventional synthesis methods with complex, expensive and toxic pathways. The Laser Processing Research Group at ICMAB has wide expertise on the laser surface processing and MAPLE immobilization of hybrid nanocomposites based on carbon nanostructures (nanotubes, graphene derivatives) and transition metal oxide nanoparticles, leading to innovative compositional-structural transformation of the irradiated materials. Current research is focused in the development of new laser-based routes for the controlled modification (non-conventional doping) of the materials for enhancing their functional properties. These investigations are pioneer in the scientific international scenario.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    The student will join the Laser Processing Research group (LPR) and she/he will be trained in the laser-induced chemical transformation and deposition of low dimensional carbon-based materials, for inducing the controlled chemical doping and functionalization with transition metal oxide nanostructures for energy storage applications. The candidate will prepare hybrid VACNTs-, nanowalls- and graphene- MeO nanocomposites by means of pulsed laser irradiation and UV-MAPLE deposition of carbon nanostructures-metal oxide precursor dispersions in different chemical environments. The applicant will be trained in the nanomaterials’ structural-compositional characterization techniques (SEM, TEM, FTIR, XPS, XRD, Raman spectroscopy, SPM) and functional analyses (electrochemistry, electric characteristics, UV-Vis spectrophotometry). The student will be trained in scientific writing and will be coauthor at the publications concerning her/ his results during her/ his period in the group. Moreover, she/he will be encouraged to assist to national/international congresses, workshops and courses related to the research area for ensuring a further development of competencies. The required skills of the candidate are: (i) physics / chemistry / nanoscience or related degree; (ii) master related to physics, chemistry, materials science or nanotechnology; (iii) good English (writing-speaking) level.

    GROUP LEADER

    Ángel Pérez del Pino aperez@icmab.es



    OXIDE MATERIALS FOR ELECTRONICS

    IPPROJECT
    Ferran Macià


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    Within the context of technology, the biggest challenge of our society is to develop low-energy consuming, intelligent and efficient computing systems. The above requirements are already satisfied by human brain and thus brain-like computing is a target of major interest. Two ingredients are essential to emulate (with all respects) brain: low-energy consuming data writing schemes on suitable memory elements and adjustable/reconfigurable interconnects. Magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ) may accomplish some of these requirements. Indeed, it has been recently shown that by using only four coupled MTJ-based oscillators human voice patterns can be recognized. In these devices, information (the direction of the magnetization in a bit) is written by current pulses. However, the energy consumption of each writing step is still too large (100 pJ). Frontiers of knowledge are being explored trying to find other ways to dictate the magnetization orientation without relaying in a flow of charge (current). Two alternatives are considered: a) avoid using charge currents and use instead spin currents, which are free from Joule dissipation and b) use open-circuit electric field control rather than a charge current. Pure spin current-based devices are promising. Spin currents can be produced and subsequent spin accumulation at sample edges, creating a magnetic torque on a neighboring magnetic layer, can be used to switch its magnetization. An illustrative example could be a Platinum (Pt)/FMI bilayer where FMI stands for a ferromagnetic insulator. Platinum transforms charge current into a spin current and the magnetic layer absorbs and reacts to the magnetic torque. This PhD project has two specific goals. A. One is device-oriented: Achieve magnetic switching of the FMI layer by a spin current, by proper selection of suitable materials, their growth, characterization and device testing. B. A higher scientific risk fundamental one: Search for alternative materials for charge-spin conversion (Pt in the current example) getting rid of the expensive heavy metals (Pt, Pd, Ir, etc) that are being currently used.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    The research plan includes: a) growth and fabrication of the proposed materials by using worldwide state-or-the art growth techniques, b) structural and morphological characterization by using X-ray diffraction techniques and proximity probe microscopy and c) exhaustive electric and magnetic testing using suitable magnetometers, radio-frequency magnetic resonance facilities and probe stations. Use of large European facilities, such as ALBA synchrotron, will be also scheduled. This scientifically demanding project, requires a very motivate candidate with a solid back ground degree and Master on solid state physics, material’s science or nano-engineering. We are seeking for a candidate enthusiastic about the job, able to fluently communicate in English and ready to travel to international scientific forums and specialization schools, and to foreign laboratories. We expect independent minded candidate that can contribute much to the definition of critical aspects of the project. The candidate will joint of a team (MULFOX) with a large expertise on all aspects of the work plan, excellent records of scientific production, impact and international recognition [1,2,3,4, 5,6,7,8,9,10] and with access to all necessary facilities for a fast progression. Visit: MULFOX web site at http://www.icmab.es/mulfox/ [1] I. Fina, et al, Nature Comm. 5, 4671 (2014) [2] M. Isasa et al, Appl Phys . Lett. 105, 142402 (2014); [3] X. Marti et al, Nature Materials 13, 367–374 (2014) [4] G. Radaelli et al, Adv. Mater. 27, 2602 (2015) [5] E. Khestanova et al. >Advanced Functional Materials, 26, 6446–6453 (2016) [6] D. Pesquera et al., Physical Review Applied 6, 034004 (2016) [7] M. Isasa et al., Physical Review Applied 6, 034007 (2016) [8] M. Valvidares et al., Phys. Rev. B. 93, 214415 (2016) [9] M. Foester et al. Nature Comm 2017 (in press) [10] F. Macià et al, Nature Nanotechnology 9,992 (2014)

    GROUP LEADER

    Ferran Macià fmacia@icmab.es

    Gervasi Herranz


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    When light interacts with metals at the nanoscale, free electrons –which resonate collectively at their natural frequency– reemit electromagnetic waves in the form of plasmons. These are evanescent waves, which have the property of squeezing and boosting the energy density into subwavelength regions. Because of these properties, plasmons are used in nanophotonic applications, e.g., biochemical sensing. The present project aims at exploring the possibility of using plasmons as data carriers along nanoscale circuits. The underlying premise is that plasmons should enable more efficient data routing between electronic computing units through optical interconnects in hybrid electronic/photonic chips. Two main strategies will be explored: (i) First, by exploiting plasmon propagation through metal/ferroelectric interfaces, to change the optical properties by electric fields. Secondly, by incorporating magnetism, so that the propagation of plasmons occurs along magnetic metal/ferroelectric interfaces. In this case, the control of plasmons is sought by the combined action of electric and magnetic fields. The student will be supervised by Dr. Gervasi Herranz, research leader in functional oxide interfaces and photonics. Dr. Herranz aims his scientific activity at the research on new materials for electronics and photonics. Main topics and selected publications are: (i) Manipulation of the electronic states in quantum wells: Physical Review Letters 109, 226601 (2012), Scientific Reports 2, 758 (2012), Physical Review Letters 113, 156802 (2014), Nature Communications 3, 1189 (2012); Nature Communications 6, 6028 (2015) (ii) Tailoring optical activity exploiting photonic effects (ACS Nano, 5, 2957(2011), Nanoscale 3, 4811 (2011)), plasmons (Langmuir, 28, 9010 (2012), Physical Review Applied 2, 054003 (2014) or polarons (Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 026401 (2016)). More information of the activity led by Dr. Herranz can be reached through the Researcher ID: G-2770-2014.As described in the Research Project, the candidate will follow his/her PhD Thesis in the field of plasmonics and nanophotonics. To achieve the scientific objectives, he/she will have access to all required laboratories, all located within ICMAB premises. In particular, he/she will access our advanced optical laboratory, which includes optical spectroscopy and high-resolution imaging tools. The candidate will follow an intensive training, so as to ensure a solid understanding of the techniques. Particularly important, the student will be acquainted with state-of-the art techniques that allow real-space mapping of optical responses with diffraction limitation [see our Reference 5]. That allows the visualization of features below the micron down to just a few of hundreds of nanometers, enabling direct imaging of small devices and high sensitivity to magnetic fields (see Ref. [1]). The optical lab at ICMAB is suited to visualize plasmon propagation in real space as well as in reciprocal space, i.e., plasmonic and photonic band dispersions can be obtained from throughout near-IR to near-UV frequencies. The candidate will be responsible to define the nanophotonic devices. For that purpose, the student will have access the clean room facilities, especially regarding the use of optical and electron-beam lithography to define small optical devices with length scales from around 100 nm up to around 100 microns. The supervisor of the project will provide all the necessary means for the successful candidate to attend schools and relevant international scientific meetings and workshops. RELEVANT REFERENCES: [1] M. Rubio-Roy et al., Langmuir, 28, 9010 (2012); [2] J.M. Caicedo et al., ACS Nano, 5 2957 (2011); [3] J.M. Caicedo et al., Phys. Rev. B 89, 045121 (2014); [4] O. Vlasin et al., Phys. Rev. Applied. 2, 054003 (2014), [5] O. Vlasin et al., Scientific Reports 5 15800 (2015); [6] Casals et a., Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 026401 (2016).

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    As described in the Research Project, the candidate will follow his/her PhD Thesis in the field of plasmonics and nanophotonics. To achieve the scientific objectives, he/she will have access to all required laboratories, all located within ICMAB premises. In particular, he/she will access our advanced optical laboratory, which includes optical spectroscopy and high-resolution imaging tools. The candidate will follow an intensive training, so as to ensure a solid understanding of the techniques. Particularly important, the student will be acquainted with state-of-the art techniques that allow real-space mapping of optical responses with diffraction limitation [see our Reference 5]. That allows the visualization of features below the micron down to just a few of hundreds of nanometers, enabling direct imaging of small devices and high sensitivity to magnetic fields (see Ref. [1]). The optical lab at ICMAB is suited to visualize plasmon propagation in real space as well as in reciprocal space, i.e., plasmonic and photonic band dispersions can be obtained from throughout near-IR to near-UV frequencies. The candidate will be responsible to define the nanophotonic devices. For that purpose, the student will have access the clean room facilities, especially regarding the use of optical and electron-beam lithography to define small optical devices with length scales from around 100 nm up to around 100 microns. The supervisor of the project will provide all the necessary means for the successful candidate to attend schools and relevant international scientific meetings and workshops.

    RELEVANT REFERENCES: [1] M. Rubio-Roy et al., Langmuir, 28, 9010 (2012); [2] J.M. Caicedo et al., ACS Nano, 5 2957 (2011); [3] J.M. Caicedo et al., Phys. Rev. B 89, 045121 (2014); [4] O. Vlasin et al., Phys. Rev. Applied. 2, 054003 (2014), [5] O. Vlasin et al., Scientific Reports 5 15800 (2015); [6] Casals et a., Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 026401 (2016).Gervasi Herranz gherranz@icmab.cat

    GROUP LEADER Gervasi Herranz gherranz@icmab.cat



    Benjamin Martínez – Alberto Pomar


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    Spin-orbit coupling (SOC) is a relativistic effect linking orbital and spin angular momenta of an electron that becomes significant for atoms with high atomic number. Recently research on 5d transition metal oxides (TMOs) with pronounced SOC is flourishing due to the emergence of new topological states and potential application in spintronics. In these 5d transition metal oxides, several energies scales are competing (Hubbard’s interaction, Hund’s coupling, SOC, crystal field and electron kinetic energy) and a rich family of behaviors has been revealed. Moreover, SOC is at the heart of manipulating spin solely by electric fields, an attractive pathway for designing electronic devices, in particular magnetic random access memories with reduced energy consumptions. Much attention is currently devoted to the study of spin-transfer torque (STT) through which it is possible to realize spontaneous magnetization precession and switching. By using the generation of pure spin currents by ferromagnetic resonance (FMR), spin pumping from a ferromagnet (FM) into a non-magnetic (NM) material is one of the most promising candidates for these applications. Our project aims to the study of the efficacy of spin pumping in perovskite-based iridates thin films and multilayers and the influence of critical parameters as epitaxial strain, interface quality or barrier conductance.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    We are looking for highly motivated candidates with a solid background in physics. The candidate will work in a rich and multidisciplinary environment at the “Advanced Characterization and Nanostructured Materials” (ACNM) group at the Materials Science Institute of Barcelona (ICMAB). The group has a long-standing record of high quality publications in the field of functional oxide materials for novel technologies. Our research is both of basic and applied character since it is aimed not only to investigate the relation between the microstructure and properties but also its potential application for the design and fabrication of novel magnetoelectronic devices. The student will be responsible for the preparation of iridate-based thin films and heterostructures and to perform and analyze magnetodynamic properties.

    GROUP LEADER

    Benjamín Martínez – ben.martinez@icmab.es Alberto Pomar – apomar@icmab.es



    Amparo Fuertes – Carlos Frontera


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    The project of this doctoral thesis aims at the development of perovskite oxynitrides as new electronic materials. Transition metal perovskite oxynitrides will be investigated searching for new magnetic, ferroelectric and colossal magnetoresistance properties. Transition metal oxides show important physical properties including colossal magnetoresistance, high temperature superconductivity and ferroelectricity. The partial substitution of the anion oxide by nitride expands and tunes their physical properties, and oxynitrides are an emerging group of solids where the oxidation states of the transition metal, bond covalency, bond polarization and band gaps are modified by nitride. Nitrogen and oxygen show similar electronic and crystal chemistry features and may substitute for each other in the same crystallographic sites. Nitrogen is less electronegative, more polarizable and more charged than oxygen and its introduction in an oxidic compound increases the covalent character of the bonds with the cations and the crystal field splitting. This results in changes in the electronic levels that affect the physical properties. The higher charge of nitride (-3) versus oxide (-2) allows the design of perovskites with high oxidation states of the transition metals increasing the polarization and changing the magnetic properties and the conductivity with respect to oxides. The research group hosting the student has a long experience in the development of new nitrided materials with a diversity of properties including superconductivity, photocatalytic water splitting, colossal magnetoresistance and luminescence. References: (1) A.Fuertes et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132 (2010), 4822. (2) A.Fuertes et al , Nature Chem. 3 (2011), 47. (3) A.Fuertes, Mat. Horizons 2 (2015), 453. (4) C.Frontera, A.Fuertes et al, Chem. Comm., 52 (2016), 4317. (5) C.Frontera, A.Fuertes et al, Dalton Trans., 46 (2017), 5128. (6) H.Kageyama et al, Nature Chem. 7 (2015), 1017. (7) D.Oka et al, ACS Nano 11(2017), 3860.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    Perovskite oxynitrides will be developed to produce new electronic materials containing lanthanides and late transition metals as magnetic cations. The student will be trained in non conventional synthetic methods at high temperatures with strict control of atmosphere and other parameters in order to produce the targeted oxynitrides. The student will perform the preparation of powder samples at high temperatures in nitriding atmospheres as well as the characterization of the chemical composition, crystal structure and physical properties. The investigation of the crystal structure will be performed by using X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and electron diffraction at ICMAB, and also at international facilities like the ALBA synchrotron and neutron diffraction (Institut Laue Langevin in France or ISIS in UK). The electronic properties of the perovskite oxynitrides will be studied by magnetization and electrical resistivity measurements as a function of temperature and magnetic field. The crystal structure will be determined by using the Rietveld method from powder diffraction data and the structural parameters will be correlated with the observed physical properties. Expected academic requirements and skills required for the position: • Degree in Chemistry or Materials Science or Nanoscience and Nanotechnology • Academic grades will be considered in the evaluation • Research experience (less than 4 years) will be considered in the evaluation • High motivation for experimental research • Working aptitudes in a collaborative group • High level in written/spoken English

    GROUP LEADER

    • Amparo Fuertes – amparo.fuertes@icmab.es
    • Carlos Frontera – frontera@icmab.es



    MOLECULAR MATERIALS FOR ELECTRONICS

    IPPROJECT
    Núria Crivillers/Concepció Rovira


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    In the last decades there has been a great effort on the fabrication of solid-state molecular electronic devices. Inexpensive, functional and atomically precise molecules could be the basis of future electronic devices, but integrating them into real devices will require molecular engineer and preparation of novel systems as well as the development of new ways to characterize them and to control the interface between molecules and electrodes. In this project, the main tasks will be focused on the design and synthesis of new redox and magnetically active compounds with the appropriate molecular and electronic structure to be integrated in molecular junctions. That means that the target molecules will be placed between conductive electrodes in a sandwich type structure and the charge transport across them will be studied. For their promising interest in spintronics applications, open shell molecular systems (triphenylmethyl, verdazyl, nitronyl-nitroxide, dithiazolyl radicals) will be investigated. Self-assembled monolayers based on the target compounds will be prepared and the modified substrates will be characterized by several techniques such as AFM, XPS, cyclic voltammetry, etc. To perform the electrical characterization, we will work with a novel technique implemented in the laboratory that basically consists in using a liquid metal as the gallium indium euthectic (EGaIn) to top contacting the molecular active layer. This technique is easy and very versatile and allows forming a soft contact with the layer which is highly desired to avoid molecular damaging or short circuit by the penetration of metal atoms. We will explore the effect of the molecular structure (e.j. conjugation, anchoring group) and electronic properties on the measured output current in order to pursue a robust molecule based device and to gain insights into transport mechanisms through molecules. The candidate will be able to join a pioneer and dynamic group actively involved in implementing nanotechnology and sustainable and economically efficient technologies for preparing advanced functional molecular materials. In our group we focused on the design and synthesis/preparation of new functional molecular materials for their application in organic/molecular electronic devices. Particularly, our areas of interest include synthesis of novel functional molecules, surface self-assembly, crystal engineering, molecular switches, organic field-effect transistors, charge and spin transport, organic-based (bio)-sensors and organic temperature and pressure sensors among others.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    The candidate will perform the PhD in a very interdisciplinary environment and will be part of a research group composed of chemists, physicists and engineers. For this, the candidate should have the ability to work in a team formed by researchers with different backgrounds and from different nationalities. She/He will participate in the weekly group meetings. In addition, the successful candidate might travel to other European countries to develop the project in the framework of established scientific collaborations or to present the results of his/her research in conferences and schools. The candidate should hold a Bachelor degree in Chemistry, Materials Science or Nano-Science and a related master degree with high qualifications (>7,5 over 10). A good level of written and spoken English is required.

    GROUP LEADER

    Núria Crivillers – ncrivillers@icmab.es Concepció Rovira – cun@icmab.es

    Francesc Teixidor


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    Electrochromic materials (EM) need to be deposited on a Transparent Conducting Oxide (TCO) that usually is Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) but Indium is the major component and the world production is limited. In this project it is proposed to produce NanoWires of TCO, NW TCO that can also be NW ITO to facilitate a more intimate contact between the TCO and the EM. We are able to successfully grow NW ITO and expect to extend it to other TCO for either improved properties or to lower the dependence of the TCO on Indium. The new TCO are Nanowires of indium cadmium-oxide (Indium is the minor component), barium stannate, strontium vanadate and calcium vanadate. On the other hand, one of the major drawbacks of faradaic processes in solid state is the intercalation/de-intercalation of ions that weakens the material. The NWs are intended to reduce this problem but it is expected that the use of metallacarboranes [Co(C2B9ClxH11-x)2]- (x= 1, 2, 3, 4, 6) will really contribute to solve the problem, either using dual electrochromic salts, or when the electrochromic material is solubilized at the molecular level or by using Conducting Organic Polymers with electroactive doping anions. Metallacarboranes are stable, are electrochromic and can have the E tuned by controlled halogenations.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    We are looking for a well prepared chemist, chemical engineer or nano-scientist interested in applying different areas of knowledge in his/her research leading to his/her PhD degree. Very importantly is a highly motivated person interested in doing manipulations, not afraid of implementing novel techniques, and not afraid in doing manual labor to do devices to achieve his/her targets. A good level of English written and oral is required. The candidate will participate in the common laboratory practice. Ability to work with lab mates and capacity to defend his/her scientific ideas are good points to work in this lab.

    GROUP LEADER

    Francesc Teixidor teixidor@icmab.es

    Clara Viñas


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    Organic opto-electronic devices such as OLEDs and organic photovoltaic cells are a very active area of research in chemistry and physics. An OLED is a device which emits light under application of an external voltage. Classically there are two main classes of OLED devices: those made with small organic molecules and those made with organic polymers. OLED displays are based on component devices containing organic electroluminescent material (made by small molecules or polymers) that emit light when stimulated by electricity. In this PhD research project we wish to produce QLEDs, Quantum dot LED, that it is expected to be the display technology of the future, similar to OLED but that uses quantum dots to emit light. It is expected that QLED will be more power efficient than OLED and less costly to manufacture. QLED are also ultra-thin, transparent and flexible. The Quantum Dots proposed for this thesis project will be of CdSe. The technology can be seen as a “déjà vue” particularly after Samsung will launch its QLED TV. The novelty we propose is to use QDs, Quantum Rings and Quantum Rods as the electroluminescent material. Quantum Rings have never been used, neither Quantum Rods, simply because they were not available. This group has developed a technology based on colloidal synthesis that is under process of patenting that can massively produce QDs, QRings and QRods.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    We are looking for a well prepared chemist, chemical engineer or nano-scientist interested in applying different areas of knowledge in his/her research leading to his/her PhD degree. Very importantly is a highly motivated person interested in doing manipulations, not afraid of implementing novel techniques, and not afraid in doing manual labor to do devices to achieve his/her targets. A good level of English written and oral is required. The candidate will participate in the common laboratory practice. Ability to work with lab mates and capacity to defend his/her scientific ideas are good points to work in this lab.

    GROUP LEADER

    Clara Viñas clara@icmab.es

    MULTIFUNCTIONAL BIOMATERIALS

    IPPROJECT
    Ana M. López-Periago and Concepción Domingo


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    Metal organic frameworks (MOfs) nanomaterials are crystalline solids that are built via the self-assembly of metals and organic bridging ligands. Due to their structural and functional tunability, MOFs have been studied extensively for multiple applications ranging from gas storage or catalysis. In this project we focus on the development of tailor-made metal-organic frameworks as drug carriers for the sustained release of water insoluble drugs with the aim to increase their bioavailability. In addition, the preparation of gadolinium based MOFs will also be studied as a potential replacement for small molecule positive contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). For the preparation of such materials supercritical CO2 (scCO2) technology will be applied. By using scCO2, the little use of harmful solvents, and the preparation of dry and potentially sterile products are of particular interest to produce systems for this biomedical application. The PhD will be co-directed by Dr. López-Periago and Prof. C. Domingo. Research group. You will work in the supercritical fluids and functional materials group (SFFM) formed by a talented and multi-disciplinary team. The SFFM group is composed by a group leader (Domingo, h28) and a RyC (Lopez-Periago, h17) as PhD directors, a support engineer specialist (Fraile, h14) and one PhD students (N.Portolés) and TFM (A. Borrás). Our expertise in the field of green technologies (more than 100 sci articles) is applied to the preparation and characterisation of porous nanostructured materials (from polymers to metal-organic compounds) with applications mainly of biomaterials and pharmaceuticals. Since our research is widely multidisciplinary we regularly collaborate with specialists in organometallic chemistry, drug release, and synchrotron experts.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    We are seeking a highly talented student with a high quality chemistry or material science for pursuing a PhD in the SFFM group. As PhD student you will work in the development of new materials based on hybrid porous metal-organic frameworks envisaged for nanomedicine applications. You will be directly involved in the rational design, preparation and characterization of the materials obtained as well as a depth understanding of the parameters that control the preparation processes. The project includes mostly the use of supercritical fluid technology as processing media (no experience needed as training will be provided), for the preparation of the MOF materials and the encapsulation of the drug, but the use of convectional chemistry techniques is also part of the plan. The samples will be analysed by standard procedures as well as more sophisticated ones (x-ray crystallography, SEM Microscopy, Alba-synchrotron collaborations). Throughout this PhD you will develop strong skills in the fields engineering, chemistry and materials science. Responsibilities: To - Carry out the design and the experiments needed in each step of the project - Operate with the high pressure apparatus needed in the required experiment - Record, analyse and write up the detail methods, findings and results of the experiments - Present research findings and participate at meetings with other scientists and colleagues - Responsible for ensuring that equipment is safe and maintained in working order. Skills: - Strong background of practical chemistry, engineering or materials science. - Excellent knowledge of common characterization techniques. Familiarity with X-ray diffraction much desirable. - Good report writing and IT skills. - Good interpersonal, presentation and communication skills. - Capable of working without permanent supervision. - Fluent English spoken/written preferred.

    GROUP LEADER

    Ana M. López-Periago – amlopez@icmab.es Concepción Domingo – conchi@icmab.es

    Arántzazu González Campo and Nuria Aliaga Alcalde


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION

    Nanomaterials that can be applied for therapeutic functions together with imaging or sensing properties have attracted interest of scientists from various research areas. To this end, multifunctional surfaces have emerged as an important support to immobilize different components in order to offer a combination of properties. Our objective is to develop materials with a site-specific immobilization of biomolecules that can be applied as functional protein microarrays and clinical theranostics devices. To this end, we develop supramolecular strategies and functional attachments of proteins to solid supports and bifunctional microparticles, obtaining responsive and dynamic substrates. Now, our goal is focused on the preparation of biomimetic interfaces with integral membrane proteins for the study of their function and the development of biosensors and biomolecular electronics. For that, (i) different strategies, covalent and supramolecular, of protein localization on different supports will be explored; (ii) the study of controllable immobilization membrane proteins such as TRPV2 (Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 2) with a selective channel for Ca2+, which can be activated by a thermal stress (iii) development of multifunctional surfaces for theranostics devices using different probes and sensing agents. The research group has experience group has on the preparation of functional surfaces immobilizing porphyrins and proteins. The group combines the synthesis of molecules with the development of devices for chemical/biological sensors, theranostics and transistors.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    A 3-years researcher (predoctoral contract) in the areas of chemistry, materials science or nanotechnology with knowledge of English. The student will in charge i) the study of different surface functions for a supramolecular or covalent biomolecule immobilization ii) prepare and immobilize membrane proteins on different supports (Au, SiO2, graphene); iii) study different probes and sensing agents for cancer theranostics or nanolectronic devices. iii) to develop strategies for the double functionalization of microparticles; v) characterization the final hybrid materials by fluorescent microscope, AFM, ellipsometry, contact angle, among others ; vii) to study the bifuncionality of the particles in solution and on the surface by fluorescence. The student will work in an international group and the work will be developed with collaboration of national and international groups. The student will acquire knowledge on synthesis and surface chemistry and a wide range of characterization techniques (NMR, XRD, SEM, AFM). The student will participate in national and international conferences presenting the work and will also acquire experience in writing papers and supervising undergraduate students.

    GROUP LEADER:

    Arántzazu González – agonzalez@icmab.es Núria Aliaga – naliaga@icmab.es

    José Vidal Gancedo and Jaume Veciana Miró


    RESEARCH PROJECT / RESEARCH GROUP DESCRIPTION
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is one of the best non invasive clinical imaging methods used in medicine which takes benefit of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance principles. One of the main limitations of NMR is its intrinsic low sensitivity. NMR signal is proportional to nuclear polarization, P, which is governed by the Boltzmann distribution of nuclear spins. In order to overcome this intrinsic limitation some instrumental improvements like Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) has emerged as one of the most general methods for nuclear hyperpolarization. The properties of free radicals play a central role in the DNP polarization transfer process, so the choice of free radicals is critical. Although the physical principles of DNP have been described in detail, the chemical ramifications of the nature of the radical are not well understood yet. In NANOMOL-CSIC group we have extensive experience in the synthesis of organic radicals and their characterization by techniques such as Electron Paramagnetic Resonance, EPR. We have also experience in the use of PTM, TEMPO and BDPA mono and/or diradical derivatives for DNP. In this Project we plan to develop stable radicals as DNP polarizing agents. We will synthesize radicals and diradicals based on PTM, TEMPO and BDPA radicals, playing with different types of bonding connection between them to explore the optimal combinations for DNP. Related papers J. L. Muñoz-Gómez, E. Monteagudo, V. LLoveras, T. Parella, J. Veciana, and J. Vidal-Gancedo. “Optimized Polarization Build-Up Times in Dissolution DNP-NMR Using a Benzyl Amino Derivative of BDPA”. RSC Adv. 2016, 6, 27077-27082. L. Pinto, I. Marín-Montesinos, V. Lloveras, J.L. Muñoz-Gómez, M. Pons, J. Veciana, J. Vidal-Gancedo. “NMR signal enhancement > 50000 times in Fast Dissolution Dynamic Nuclear Polarization”. Chem. Commun. 2017, 53, 3757-3760.

    JOB POSITION DESCRIPTION

    The job position consists in the development of a doctoral thesis based on the synthesis of radicals and diradicals playing with different types of bonding between them to explore the optimal combinations for DNP and later on to be used in DNP-MRI applications. The tasks to be developed will consist in: the synthesis and characterization of organic radicals as well as their study as polarizing agents. We are looking for a dynamic student, involved in the work and eager to learn and with a degree in Chemistry or Materials Science. It will be required or very well considered skills in the knowledge of organic synthesis and the usual techniques of characterization in the laboratory (IR, UV-Vis, NMR, etc.) The student will be integrated into a group of recognized prestige working under the direct supervision of a postdoc and will learn the use of specific techniques of characterization of radicals such as Electronic Paramagnetic Resonance among others.

    GROUP LEADER

    José Vidal-Gancedo – pepe@icmab.es Jaume Veciana – vecianaj@icmab.es

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