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Minimalist Biostructures Designed to Create Nanomaterials

  • Researchers from the IBB-UAB fabricate 4 molecules of only 7 amino acids with the ability to self-assemble and rapidly and inexpensively form nanomaterials for biomedical and nanotechnological purposes.
  • Four peptides were used to create one of the most resistant bionanomaterials described to date, nanocables and mini enzymes to act as a catalyst for the formation of nanomaterials.
  • The study, publised in ACS Nano included the collaboration of Isabel Fuentes and Francesc Teixidor from the ICMAB-CSIC.

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SOMMa in the press: "Respiro para la ciencia"

This article was published on May 28, 2018, in La Vanguardia, and is signed by Carina Farreras, Barcelona. We transcribe it here as it is. You can download here the paper version. SOMMa is the alliance of the Severo Ochoa and Maria de Maeztu research centers and units, formed by 41 research centers and units, and by more than 5,000 researchers. SOMMa wants to promote Spanish Excellence in research and enhance its social impact at national and international levels.

Respiro para la ciencia. Una enmienda a ley de Presupuestos desencalla la paralización de los centros.

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Physicists uncover properties of a magnetic soliton of interest for brain-inspired computing

"Solitons are solitary waves, like a tsunami or a tidal bore" explains researcher Ferran Macià, one of the leaders of this study, published in Scientific Reports and in which the ICMAB has participated together with a team of physicists from the New York University (NYU). "In this work, we studied how magnetic solitons are generated and how fast they can be annihilated."

"Like a tsunami, the mechanism behind their formation is complex, and we needed a lot of experiments and simulations to understand them. Solitons are very interesting because they can be used to propagate energy or information, in a similar way as our neurons work. This is why they have promising applications in neuromorphic computing applications, for example" continues Ferran.Nahuel Statuto, PhD student at the MULFOX group, working with Ferran, performed some of the experiments during his secondment at NYU. 

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"Graphene-based photocatalysts to obtain hydrogen" featured in UABDivulga

A study from Dr. Angel Pérez del Pino et al. was featured on 13 April in the website UABDivulga: Graphene-based photocatalysts to obtain hydrogen. We transcribe here the full article:

Graphene-based materials are an efficient, cheap, abundant and non-toxic alternative for catalysing the obtaining of hydrogen, which can be used as a removable fuel, through the photoinduced water splitting. A group of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) has developed, based on laser technology, a nitrogen-doped graphene powder material in different experimental conditions for different catalytic functions through the process, in a simple, versatile and scalable to industry way. 

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New organic and miniaturized photodetectors that absorb light beyond the visible range

A study led by the Technische Universität Dresden, in which the group of Dr. Mariano Campoy-Quiles of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) participated, has developed organic photodetectors that detect light below its absorption band, with high efficiency, in a tunable way and in a very precise wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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Perovskite, the "silicon" of the future to harvest solar energy

An article about the research in perovskite appeared in "Televisión Nacional de Honduras" website, citing ICMAB, together with other research centers in Spain, where advanced research in this material is done: "Spain is one of the countries in which research (in the development of perovskite) is more advanced.

Apart from the research group in the Institute of Materials Science in Sevilla, there are many more groups specialized in its study, in the University Jaume I of Castelló, the Institute of Molecular Science (University of Valencia), the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), the University Pablo de Olavide in Sevilla, and the Catalan Institue of Chemical Research (ICIQ)."

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X-rays reveal "handedness" in swirling electric vortices

This article appeared in Physics Berkeley website on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. 

We transcribe it here, since some previous ICMAB members participated in the study, which was recently published in PNASEmergent chirality in the electric polarization texture of titanate superlattices (Padraic Shafer, Pablo García-Fernández,Pablo Aguado-Puente,Anoop R. Damodaran , Ajay K. Yadav, Christopher T. Nelson, Shang-Lin Hsu, Jacek C. Wojdeł, Jorge Íñiguez, Lane W. Martin, Elke Arenholz, Javier Junquer, and Ramamoorthy Ramesh). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1711652115.

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More than 20 % of ALBA publications from 2017 are in collaboration with ICMAB

Researchers from ALBA Synchrotron and from ICMAB have established an enriching and fruitful collaboration over the years, which is proven by the number of publications published together since ALBA received its first users, in 2012.

In 2017, 24 publications appeared in collaboration between both institutions, which represented a 21 % of the ALBA Synchrotron articles. 

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ICMAB researchers develop flexible materials that switch from nano-porous 3D to 2D structures in a reversible way

  • These materials can have applications in selective gas separation or gas adsorption, as catalysts for chemical reactions, as encapsulation and drug delivery for active substances or hazardous waste adsorption.
  • The strategy is based on the spherical shape of the boron-based linkers used as ligands.
  • Look at this video, that explains the transformation:  https://youtu.be/eO9fMitBfFY

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"Carbon-Gold bonds for robust molecule-electrode junctions" featured in UABDivulga

A group of researchers from the NANOMOL group at ICMAB-CSIC has studied the behavior of an organic radical as a molecular cable formed through the covalent carbon-gold bond between the molecule and the electrodes. This linkage is more stable and geometrically better well-defined than its predecessors, in which other functional groups where used. This improvement opens the door to prepare novel electronic devices for Molecular Electronics applications.

The study has been featured in UABDivulga, and we transcribe here the text. 

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The industry with the Spanish research

Organizations and employers linked to R&D&I show their support for Spanish research and join the request of the Alliance of Severo Ochoa centers and María de Maeztu units (SOMMa) that encourages the political class to address the current administrative problems that affect Spanish science, as soon as possible. 

SOMMa and the organizations that support this initiative represent about 6,800 companies, societies, centers and research units, which employ more than 500,000 people in Spain and their economic activity equals 10.53% of GDP.

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MIT-Spain grant for ICMAB project: new materials for photovoltaics

ICMAB is the recipient of one of twelve MIT-Spain ”la Caixa” Foundation Seed Fund grants under a brand new funding programme in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The presentation of the grants took place on 18 April 2018 at Palau Macaya (Barcelona). A common objective of all the awarded projects is to face some of the challenges of the XXI century: organs on a chip to fight cancer, polymers against antibiotic resistance, in vitro biologic 3D ears, quantic computers for data processing, or new materials to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic cells, to name a few. This latter is the project from Dr. Ignasi Fina, from the MULFOX group at ICMAB, who will work together with Dr. Rafael Jaramillo, at MIT

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Iridescent photonic cellulose, mimicking the structural color of insects, with optical applications

  • The study developed at the ICMAB and published in Nature Photonics describes, for the first time, the technique to provide structural coloration on a cellulose derivative through its nanostructuration
  • The colors obtained do not depend on pigments but on nanostructures that interact differently with the incident light, therefore presenting different colors. 
  • The applications of this technology include eco-friendly production of color in packaging systems or decorative paper, anti-counterfeiting technology, or biocompatible, biodegradable, washable and edible and low cost detectors, sensors or labels for the food or medical industry.

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The Severo Ochoa Centres and Maria de Maeztu Units Alliance (#SOMMa) aims at promoting Spanish excellence science, and preserving its competitiveness

The creation of SOMMa will allow research centres and units to increase their impact, foster their cooperation, work as a network, and enrich the R+D system as a whole. SOMMa has presented the document “SOMMa Position Paper: Actions required to safeguard science competitiveness”, which aims at drawing the attention of politicians to tackle some of the current administrative issues urgently and in a long-lasting manner.

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The revolution of nanomaterials: superabsorbers that trap sunlight

ICMAB researchers have designed ultrathin materials that maximize the absorption of light in a large range of the solar spectrum. The followed strategy, low cost and fully scalable, is based on combining the thin layer deposition of semiconductors on metals, and the nanostructuring of the material forming photonic crystals. The obtained superabsorbers materials have many potential applications, especially in the field of photovoltaic energy and photodetection.

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Nanostructured semiconductors become superabsorbers - Published at nanotechweb.org

This news article, appeared at nanotechweb.org websitee (IOP publishing), features a publication recently published by Agustín Mihi and his team in Advanced Materials "Ultrathin Semiconductor Superabsorbers from the Visible to the Near-Infrared" (Pau Molet, Juan Luis Garcia-Pomar, Cristiano Matricardi, Miquel Garriga, Maria Isabel Alonso and Agustín Mihi). DOI: 10.1002/adma.201705876.

Nanostructuring a thin layer of the semiconductor germanium using a technique called nanoimprinting lithography can greatly boost the amount of light it absorbs across the visible to near-infrared wavelengths. The broadband absorption comes from the strong interplay between Brewster and photonic crystal modes in the material and the effect could benefit optoelectronics applications such as photovoltaics and telecommunications.

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Next generation graphene-based biosensor for the fast detection of xanthine

  • Xanthinuria is a rare disease caused by the accumulation of xanthine in blood, which can lead to serious pathologies, such as renal failure or gout.
  • ICMAB researchers have prepared a novel hybrid graphene-based electrochemical biosensor for the fast and 100 times more sensitive detection of xanthine, with respect to previously reported sensors.
  • The study, published in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces, combines the properties of reduced graphene oxide and those of the organic radicals to prepare next generation, low cost electrochemical biosensors.

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