Open call for the INPhINIT “La Caixa” Doctoral Fellowship Programme - Opportunities at ICMAB-CSIC

INPhINIT, ”la Caixa” Doctoral Fellowship Programme is devoted to attracting international Early-Stage Researchers to the top Spanish research centres in the areas of Bio and Health Sciences, Physics, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
ICMAB-CSIC is one of the “Severo Ochoa” centers selected, and has published in this year's call, 36 PhD open positionsunder the INPhINIT programme in excellent research groups to perform challenging and stimulating PhD project. Three INPHINIT fellows have started this year their PhD at ICMAB within the call of 2017. 

INPhINIT is promoted by the “la Caixa” Foundation with the aim of supporting the best scientific talent and fostering innovative and high-quality research in Spain by recruiting outstanding international students and offering them an attractive and competitive environment for conducting research of excellence.

INPhINIT recruits per call 57 Early-Stage Researchers of any nationality, who enjoy a 3-year employment contract at the Research Centre of their choice among those selected and awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (“Severo Ochoa” centres of excellence and “Maria de Maeztu” units of excellence) and the Spanish Ministry of Health (“Carlos III centres of excellence”). In addition, researchers establish a personal career development plan including trasnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility opportunities, and attend a full range of complementary training courses and workshops.

INPhINIT relies on the European Commission’s support through the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – COFUND programme to recruit a larger number of researchers and achieve a broader impact, as well as to further pursue the highest standards for research training. Download complete information about the programme here.


Open projects

Please see here the 36 PhD open positions offered by ICMAB, and feel free to contact our researchers for more information about the project. They will be happy to answer your questions.

BARRENA, Esther and OCAL, Carmen

The emergence of nanomaterials as new building blocks to construct light energy harvesting assemblies has opened up new ways to utilize renewable energy sources. For instance, by mimicking photosynthesis with donor-acceptor molecular assemblies to produce fuels and water-splitting. Over the past decade, fundamental progress has been made in developing novel material structures for water-splitting reactions. However many challenges persist in achieving the desired goal of cheap and efficient conversion of solar energy into chemical energy. Still very little detailed mechanistic information is availabe at atomic-scale of the specific interactions and processes occurring at the surface of the nanostructures. To meet these defies, we propose an innovative and novel concept based on the experimental design of a bifunctional visible light photocatalyisis (for oxidation and reduction of water) based on organic/graphene/metal heterostructures. This project focuses on the exploration of novel two-dimensional heterostructures based on organic assemblies and graphene. By using advanced techniques of surface science, the project will investigate electronic and structural properties, chemical selectivity and confinament effects at interfaces. The student will benefit from the expertise and friendly enviroment of the Group of Physical Chemistry of Surfaces and Interfaces at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC).

Email: ebarrena@icmab.es, cocal@icmab.es

Research Group website: URL: http://departments.icmab.es/surfaces

CASAÑ, Nieves and TONTI, Dino

Metal/air batteries are among the most promising novel battery chemistries. They could allow up to 3-5 times the specific energy of current Li-ion batteries while significantly lowering their cost. In spite of intense investigation efforts in the past few years still their performance and durability are not satisfactory to establish as a technology. This is mostly attributed to the lack of an optimal control of the complex reduction processes of oxygen that need to take place quickly and reversibly. Remarkable improvements can be achieved by alternative paths involving soluble catalysts (redox mediators, RM) in the electrolytes. Nevertheless, many studied RMs, typically organic molecules, demonstrated to be not stable enough in the harsh cell environment. We propose the use of multiredox nanosized oxides, such as polyoxometalate clusters or other nanoparticles such as FeOx , IrOx as RM. These oxides are already known by their reversible redox activity in oxidation and reduction processes and in many cases by their catalytic activity, which would add a second advantage in O2 reduction process. This work, by aiming to the development of efficient and stable redox mediators for metal/air batteries, has three main objectives: 1) elucidation of existing and novel electrode mechanisms, 2) finding of alternative cheaper materials and 3) development of high energy storage devices. The main focus will be directed towards Aluminum/oxygen devices, based on previous reactivity tests performed

Email: nieves@icmab.es

Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/ssc/application-of-electrochemical-techniques-to-the-synthesis-and-chemical-modification-of-inorganic-compounds/

CRIVILLERS, Nuria and ROVIRA, Concepció

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 join a 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.

Email: ncrivillers@icmab.es and cun@icmab.es

COLL, Mariona

This is an innovative and interdisciplinary PhD thesis project, part of an ongoing research line at ICMAB, that impacts to the societal challenge of secure, clean and efficient energy. Solar energy attracts worldwide scientific and technological interests as it is considered to be a promising substitution of the traditional fossil fuels. Among solar conversion technologies, photovoltaics (PV) is commercially available and reliable with huge potential for long-term growth, however substantial materials improvements and architecture simplicity are yet required to increase efficiency and stability, reduce element toxicity and fabrication costs. In this project we propose a step-change idea to develop a new class of functional device based on alloxide materials to overcome the limiting properties of the known materials. The novelties here are the design of bandgap and absorption tuning of ferroelectric oxide materials to fully match the solar spectrum by using abundant and non- toxic elements. The project seeks to generate know-how on the preparation of complex oxides, smart interface nanoengineering and device fabrication by low-cost chemical preparation methodologies. This is an interdisciplinary research project that will merge material synthesis, material characterization and device performance to identify and implement a breakthrough in the area of photovoltaics.

Research Group: This project will take place in a multidisciplinary research environment within the SUMAN department at ICMAB (https://departments.icmab.es/suman/). The research line, leaded by Mariona Coll, is contributing to promote and develop the area of nanoengineered functional oxide thin films by chemical methods (chemical solution deposition and atomic layer deposition) to give rise to novel and enhanced functionalities placing special attention to those related to energy applications. Frequent collaborators: Prof. Sanjay Mathur (U. Cologne, Germany), Prof. Christian Hagendorf (Fraunhofer Institute, CSP, Germany), Prof. Oana D. Jurchescu (Wake Forest Univ. NC, USA).

Email: mcoll@icmab.es

Research Group website: http://icmab.es http://mcollbau.wixsite.com/marionacoll

FINA, Ignasi

Optic fibers are at the core of communications technology because they allow fast data transfer. Before the data is showed up at our screens, it should be converted into electric or magnetic “0” and “1”s, and optoelectronic transducers are required. It is well-known that ferroelectric materials can do the mentioned conversion without requiring any intermediate device. The physical mechanism that triggers this effect is that ferroelectric materials can store the charge generated during the illumination, even after switching off the optic stimulus. Integrating this well-known phenomenon to ultrathin ferroelectric tunnel junctions, which are a promising candidate for faster and less power consumption green memory devices, would allow the simplification of the data storing procedure. However, to achieve this chimeric objective deeper analysis on the effect of light in ultrathin ferroelectric devices is needed. If successful the project outcome will allow to improve data communication in the framework of IoT devices, at the same time that energy consumption is keep low in order to make possible more sustainable future electronic devices.

Email: ifina@icmab.es

Research Group website: https://departments.icmab.es/mulfox/


In the context of technology, a big challenge of our society is to develop low-energy consuming and efficient, computing systems which are critically needed in health, security, transport and communication and big data storage and data management. Data storage/reading devices based on magnetic tunnel junctions (current-induced spin-transfer torque magnetic tunnel junctions) may accomplish some of these requirements. Indeed, it has been recently shown that few coupled MTJ-based oscillators are able to recognize human voice patterns, thus illustrating the potentiality of this approach. 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 rather large thus making their largescale integration very challenging. This is the reason why frontiers of knowledge should be broken to discover new ways to dictate the magnetization orientation without relaying in the conventional flow of charge (current). We aim at exploring the use of spin currents rather than charge currents, because the former do not suffer from Joule dissipation. Pure spin currents can be induced by a number of means and used to create spin accumulation at sample edges that may switch the magnetization of a neighboring magnetic layer (writing). Within this project we aim at contributing to this challenging research by exploring affordable materials, engineer devices that efficiently can produce spin currents and demonstrate that they can be used to store and read magnetic information (data). For that purpose, nanometric films will be grown and patterned to engineer suitable devices for spin injection and tested. The candidate will be supervised by Prof. Josep Fontcuberta (http://www.icmab.es/mulfox/) Josep Fontcuberta has a long expertise on oxide materials, and magnetic and ferroelectric thin film devices. He coauthors more than 400 scientific papers and he has a long experience on PhD supervision (more than 24 students have already successfully accomplished the PhD).

Email: fontcuberta@icmab.cat

Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/mulfox/


Photovoltaics appears as the greener energy source at reach. However, price, efficiency and aging of current materials are bottlenecks. In photovoltaic cells, photocharges are driven towards the electrodes and ultimately towards a battery by exploiting electric fields existing in confined narrow regions of a photosensitive semiconductor. A plausible way to enhance performance of photovoltaic materials could be to use materials where there is an internal spontaneous electric field extending all over the material, rather than in a nanometric region, or where for some other fundamental reasons electric charge flows towards the battery without the need of an electric field. These seemingly chimerical situations occur in some materials lacking of inversion symmetry. Here we want to explore this new avenue and contribute to discover more efficient photovoltaic materials. Within this project we shall investigate first, the photoresponse of engineered thin films of new non-centrosymmetric materials. On the other hand, in a photovoltaic cell, photocarriers should be extracted using suitable metallic electrode which should be transparent to the visible light. This again seems to be at odds with conventional experience as typically, metals reflect light. There are few solutions to this dilemma, as transparent electrodes are used in flat panel displays and photovoltaics. However, the materials being used face severe problems of cost and scarcity that are going to be even more severe with further development of photovoltaics. We will address also this issue by exploring new ways of thinking about transparent metals and the new approaches for materials selection. The candidate will be supervised by Prof. Josep Fontcuberta. Josep Fontcuberta has a long expertise on oxide materials, and magnetic and ferroelectric thin film devices. He coauthors more than 400 scientific papers and he has a long experience on PhD supervision (more than 24 students have already successfully accomplished the PhD).

Email: fontcuberta@icmab.cat

Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/mulfox/


Diffraction techniques are very important in the study of the structure of new materials. They have contributed crucially in our understanding of the behavior and properties of materials for a very long time. In epitaxial thin films (~10-100 nm in thickness), exploiting the overall information that X-ray diffraction can offer has been elusive due to the small amount of sample they contain, and the new phenomena they present. The research project proposed here consists in developing two different methods to push forward present capabilities in this field. -The first consist in obtaining information on the field of deformations inside the film (strains). This strain field makes diffraction peaks to deform in a way that contains information about the details of this strain field. Recovering this information is a difficult task as it requires an iterative approach involving complex calculations. Our objective is to develop specific computer software able to make these calculations in a reasonable amount of time, as well as to interpret the obtained results in terms of a strain field. This will require the use of data collected at synchrotron sources. -The second is centered at the use of X-ray diffraction data (collected at laboratory sources) to study the structural details of the thin films (basically the atomic positions inside the film). This task is routinely done in bulk (massive) materials, but has not been properly developed for thin films. This research will be conducted within the “Advanced Characterization of Nanostructured Materials” group. This group has a long experience in the preparation of thin films and nanoparticles, as well as on the device preparation from these films. The leader of this research project, Dr. Carlos Frontera has a wide experience in diffraction on bulk and thin film systems and has participated in different works developing new analysis techniques in the field of X-ray diffraction.

Email: frontera@icmab.es

Research Group website: Advanced Characterization of Nanostructured Materials, https://departments.icmab.es/acnm


The partial substitution of the anion oxide by nitride expands and tunes the physical properties of oxides, and oxynitrides are an emerging group of solids showing high dielectric constants, colossal magnetoresistance, ferroelectricity, red luminescence and visible light photocatalytic activity among other properties. 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 many physical properties. The research project focuses in the development of new optical and magnetic materials using nitride to tune the properties of oxides. Silicate oxynitrides will be investigated as hosts for red shifted Eu2+ and Ce3+ luminescent materials showing large colour tuneability, low toxicity and high thermal stability. Perovskite oxynitrides will be developed to produce new electronic materials containing lanthanides and late transition metals as magnetic cations. The student will train in non conventional synthetic methods at high temperatures with strict control of atmosphere and other parameters in order to produce the targeted oxynitrides. 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. 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: A.Fuertes et al: (1) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132 (2010), 4822. (2) Nature Chem. 3 (2011), 47. (3) Mat. Horizons 2 (2015), 453. (4) Chem. Comm. 51(2015), 2166.

Email: amparo.fuertes@icmab.es

Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/ssc/nitride-based-materials/


The activities of the CMEOS group are addressed to investigate and develop new strongly correlated materials of interest in fundamental Condensed Matter research and for Information Technologies. The recent discovery of new classes of frustrated materials (type-II multiferroics) in which the magnetic and (ferro-)electric properties are strongly coupled is attracting very much interest because of the possibility to manipulate magnetism by electric fields and vice-versa. This PhD project is focused on the synthesis, fabrication and characterization of single-crystals of novel magnetoelectric and frustrated oxides. Frustration, or the inability to satisfy all interactions, is a crucial concept and a source of new fascinating phenomena for fundamental research and spintronic applications: e.g. chiral spin structures that generate ferroelectric phases, skyrmions, spin ices, etc. Selected magnetic oxides with topological or exchange frustration will be grown as single-crystals or thin films, in which unusual ordering phenomena (structural, magnetic, orbital or charge orders) generate ferroelectricity and other spin-charge coupling effects, even at high temperatures. Some chiral spin structures and charge modulations are receiving tremendous attention as the richness of possible magnetoelectric mechanisms greatly exceeds our expectations and understanding. Their study requires using neutron and x-ray diffraction methods, and other spectroscopic synchrotron techniques. So, studying quality single crystals using Large Scale facilities such as ILL, ALBA, ESRF or PSI is essential to characterize the often complex internal orders under changing conditions that produce giant macroscopic responses to external electrical or magnetic fields. In this regard, our group is pioneer in applying new crystallographic methods of data analysis to tackle the original internal orders (structural and magnetic) that govern the interesting properties of this new class of materials.

Email: garcia.munoz@icmab.es

Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/cmeos/

GONZÁLEZ, Arantzazu and ALIAGA, Nuria

Cancer theranostics is focused on the development of multiplatforms with double function, diagnosis and therapy. 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, bifunctional particles have emerged as an important support to immobilize different components in order to offer a combination of properties. On the other hand, alternatives to the traditional cancer chemotherapy have centered the efforts of scientists to avoid the drug resistance and its side effects. This is the case of photodynamic therapy (PDT), which combines a photosensitizer (PS), light and molecular oxygen to generate cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) and to cause cell apoptosis and necrosis. Pursuing the objective of having PSs for PDT and clinical application, new nanoscale metal-organic frameworks (NMOF) based on porphyrins and chlorins have been reported in recent years. NMOF are porous coordination polymers that have emerged as fascinating materials for their potential biomedical applications in several areas including drug delivery and molecular. Therefore, the objective of this project is the development of new multiplatforms by the growth of porphyrin-based NMOFs for PDT on functional particles. Porphyrins are well known PS organic molecules and porphyrin-based NMOFs and MOFs have been recently reported but never been immobilized on surfaces to be applied in devices. The bifunctionality of the particles will allow to on one hand to control the NMOFs growth and on the other hand to immobilize probes or imaging agents in order to sensing the generation of ROS species and the effectiveness of the therapy. The research group has experience on the preparation of functional surfaces immobilizing porphyrins, curcuminoids and proteins. The group combines the synthesis of molecules with the development of devices for chemical/biological sensors and transistors.

Email: agonzalez@icmab.es

Research Group website http://departments.icmab.es/funnanosurf/

GOÑI, Alejandro R.

The popular use of high pressure in material science arises from the fact that a variation of the lattice constant has large impact on the material structural, vibrational, electronic, and optical properties. The controlled application of pressures well above 10 GPa has enabled the study of the behavior of materials under pressure as well as phenomena occurring at ambient conditions by extrapolation from high pressure data. The transport and thermoelectric (TE) properties are also affected by pressure due to the strong variation in the electronic structure. Amongst the different alternatives for renewable energy production, thermoelectric technology is being increasingly considered to play a role in the future energy mix, particularly, for standalone waste-heat applications. Materials to study are hybrid halide perovskites and layered dichalcogenides (MoS2, WS2, etc.), which are nowadays extremely important in photovoltaics and spintronics, respectively. Their suitability for thermoelectric applications still remains widely unexplored. The project aims at: 1) Use high pressure to investigate the peculiar interplay between the organic molecule and the inorganic perovskite cage to boost TE properties by decoupling electron and heat transport in perovskites. 2) Tailor with pressure the electronic structure of layered dichalcogenides to enhance Seebeck effects, leading to a new generation of nanoscale TE devices. The PI is an internationally recognized expert in high-pressure physics, who set up a high-pressure lab at ICMAB, consisting in diamond-anvil cells combined with a special He-bath cryostat for optical spectroscopy and a piston-cylinder clamp cell for electrical transport measurements. He is the PI of the ICMAB group within a large-scale national CONSOLIDER project and co-PI of a Spanish project, both dealing with fundamental aspects on how to empower thermoelectricity and/or photovoltaic action by nanostructuring of inorganic, organic and hybrid materials.

Email: goni@icmab.es
Research Group website:


In order to prove supersymmetry, solve the riddle of dark matter, or find hidden extra dimensions, in between other key incognitos of modern physics, accelerators need to produce collisions with higher energy. Therefore, the future of the research in high energy physics conducted in accelerators is in need of a technology that can outperform the already existing ones, both, the Nb-based low temperature superconductors used as magnets, and the copper coatings used as beam screeners. We propose that High-Temperature superconductors, in particular REBa2Cu3O7-x (RE = Y, Gd) coated conductors (REBCO CC), can provide such technology. The project aims to explore the frontiers of these materials in these new areas, studying the behavior of the quantized fluxlines (vortices) under the demanding conditions for accelerators. This research is part of the collaborative project with CERN, ALBA synchrotron, High Energy Physics Institute (IFAE) and the Catalan Polytechnic University (UPC), as strategic partners, which fundamentally addresses the evaluation of the capabilities of CC to solve the problem of the beam screen for the Future Circular Collider project, where the huge energies generate enormous synchrotron radiation and heat. The capability of RBCO superconducting materials to carry large currents without losses and display very low surface impedance values at intermediate temperatures (50 K), place these materials in a unique position. The project is integrated in the “Superconducting Materials and large scale nanostructures, (SUMAN)” group at ICMAB composed of 30 researchers (staff, postdocs, PhD, technicians) with very diverse and complementary skills. We are recognized worldwide leaders in the field of superconducting materials, we have established relevant international collaborations, and we are common users at Synchrotron facilities and High magnetic field installations.
Email: jgutierrez@icmab.es / Teresa.puig@icmab.es
Research Group website: https://departments.icmab.es/suman/

HERRANZ, Gervasi

Artificial metamaterials (MMs) can exhibit extraordinary electromagnetic responses that transcend the properties of natural materials. The present Project aims at exploiting plasmons in multifunctional MMs for applications in optical communications and light harvesting. One important challenge is associated with overcoming losses that dampen plasmons. One solution is to combine MMs that incorporate metals with reduced carrier concentration by mixing them with nonmetals, e.g., silicides, nitrides or oxide intermetallics. One particularly interesting material is TiN, which has optimum optical properties in the visible and is compatible with CMOS-semiconductor technologies. With this in mind, the successful candidate will synthesize and study the optical properties of multifunctional plasmonic MMs that incorporate low-loss metals, with the objective to achieve highly performant nanophotonic devices. The research on these materials is relevant for technological applications in photovoltaic cells and integrated on-chip communication networks. 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. The main topics and selected publications of the host group are given: (i) Manipulation of the electronic states in quantum wells: Physical Review Letters 109, 226601 (2012), Physical Review Letters 113, 156802 (2014), Nature Communications 3, 1189 (2012); Nature Communications 6, 6028 (2015), Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 106102 2017 (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 about the activity led by Dr. Herranz can be reached through the Researcher ID: G-2770-2014 and website: https://gervasi-herranz.blog/.

HERRANZ, Gervasi

At present, most of the digital information is stored in nonvolatile magnetic bits, e.g., in the hard disk drives of PCs and laptops, while data is processed in volatile memory units -e.g., in CPUs-. In order to extend the advantages of nonvolatility to processing units (i.e., adding to them the capability of permanent storage), efficient ways of manipulating the magnetism with electric currents are intensively researched, so that the information encoded in the magnetic bits (viz. with spins in up/down states) can be changed dynamically with electric pulses. In addition, over the past few years, the scientists have realized that some magnetic nanostructures (for instance, Pt/Co stacks) can host topological spin states (e.g. skyrmions), with a vast potential for new applications. With this foreground in view, we propose to modulate the magnetism of magnetic nanodevices using surface acoustic waves controlled by microwave (w) pulse fields, in the technological relevant range of the GHz, where most telecommunication applications work (e.g., cell phones, RFIDs, Wifi, etc.).

The candidate 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. The main topics and selected publications of the host group are given: (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 can be reached through the ResearcherID: G-2770-2014 and website: https://gervasi-herranz.blog/.

Email: gherranz@icmab.cat
Research Group website : https://departments.icmab.es/mulfox/

MACIÀ, Ferran

Electronic devices based on digital processing have completely changed our lives. We have witnessed miniaturization and improving performances since the invention of the electronic transistor in the mid past century. However, this wonderful progress has physical restrictions in energy dissipation and emerging quantum phenomena. A suggestion for a paradigm change is the use of spintronics—that considers the intrinsic spin of electrons and the corresponding magnetic moment—as an alternative to conventional electronics. Recent developments in spintronics have shown that spin excitations (spin waves) such as skyrmions or vortices have topological properties that might lead to new applications. Digital systems simplify the complexity of physical quantities in discrete levels and thus avoid unwanted changes caused by noise or fabrication defects. On the other hand, nature taught us that powerful machines that embrace complexity are possible: the brain. Biology has inspired many researchers to study new post-digital systems based on neural networks and proposed functionalities for devices. This thesis project proposes to study spin excitations in materials and the implementation of computing strategies using nanostructures and metamaterials (materials that have been structures artificially). The aim is to develop functional magnetic nanodevices that work at low power by using electric fields (or strain) and light instead of currents and magnetic fields. Examples of the proposed functionalities include computing with waves and delays, pattern recognition based on synchronization, or memories based on phase differences among oscillators (phase coding). The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Ferran Macià and will be part of the group of magnetism and functional oxides at ICMAB.

Full name: Dr. Ferran Macià
Email: fmacia@icmab.es
Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/mulfox/

MACIÀ, Ferran

Pattern recognition is a simple task that a two-year-old human being can do fast and efficiently. On the other hand, a digital computer requires an enormous effort; using complex algorithms and huge amounts of energy. Nowadays, software programs are being inspired by the brain functioning and powerful algorithms of machine learning are being developed and implemented. However, a realization of a hardware implementation of a neuromorphic network, which would represent a clear advance in terms of energy costs, is still “under construction”. Neurons in activity can be described as oscillators and their interaction, through electrical signals, as perturbations of those oscillations. The objective of this project is to create a memristic oscillator with a ferroelectric tunnel junction that emulates the behavior of a neuron in activity. These oscillators will be the basic pieces for building simple computing schemes and tackle problems of patter recognition or problems related to social networks such is the map coloring problem.

Email: fmacia@icmab.es
Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/mulfox/


Due to technological limitations associated with the use of silicon, substantial efforts are currently devoted to developing organic electronics and, in particular, organic field-effect transistors (OFETs). Indeed, the processing characteristics of organic semiconductors make them potentially useful for electronic applications where low-cost, large area coverage and structural flexibility are required. Wide ranging opportunities for OFETs are open in sensing applications since they can offer high sensitivity in addition to the above-mentioned advantages.

However, in order to move towards applications, there are some fundamental aspects that need to be further understood to be able to achieve high performing devices with high reproducibility. In particular, the work here will explore the influence of interfaces on the device performance to gain insights on their influence on the transport properties as well as on the structural and morphological characteristics of the organic thin films. Additionally, by an appropriate device design and selecting suitable recognition groups, the fabricated OFETs will be investigated as ion- or bio-sensing devices.

The candidate will have the opportunity to handle a variety of multidisciplinary techniques such as wet chemistry methods, organic materials processing and characterisation, vacuum deposition techniques, laser lithography for electrode fabrication, electrical measurements, morphological and structural characterisation tools, etc. Further, the candidate will join a research team which has a long expertise in the field or organic electronics and has actively participated in many European projects in this area.

Email: mmas@icmab.es
Research Group website: https://departments.icmab.es/molecularelectronics


The design and synthesis of smart materials that can respond to external stimuli have awakened much interest in the past years for their envisaged applications in nanotechnology. In the field of memory storage, the possibility of having molecular switches as active components for storing information are visualized as the paradigm of the devices miniaturization. Also, smart molecular or supramolecular materials are also having much attention in other fields such as drug delivery, biosensors, self-cleaning surfaces, among others.

The project will be focused on the synthesis of new electrochemical molecular switches and their deposition on different solid supports to achieve stimuli responsive surfaces. Thanks to the electro-activity of the novel synthesized materials the redox state of the molecules will be tuned by and electrical input. The modulation of surfaces properties such as the wetability or the host-guest interaction will be studied. The electrical manipulation of these multifunctional active surfaces will facilitate their integration in a real device such as an organic-field effect transistor.

The candidate will have the opportunity to work in a variety of disciplines from synthetic chemistry to surface functionalization and characterization and electrical characterization. Further, the candidate will join a research team which has a long expertise in the field or organic electronics and has actively participated in many European projects in this area.

Email: mmas@icmab.es/ncrivillers@icmab.es
Research Group website:

MIHI, Agustín

This project pursues the use of unconventional nanofabrication techniques to produce photonic architectures out of unconventional materials such as conductive polymers, biopolymers such as cellulose or colloids. We will investigate the exciting optical properties of photonic architectures fabricated via soft nanoimprinting lithography (NIL) a low cost and roll to roll compatible fabrication route. The ultimate goal of this project is to fabricate devices improved with the photonic components but maintaining the low costs and ease of manufacture.

Email: amihi@icmab.es
Research project / Research Group website http://icmab.es/about/people/detail/detail?id=1305


The two photon absorption (TPA) process is a third-order NLO process in which materials simultaneously absorb two photons. Materials that exhibit large two-photon cross section can be applied like 3D optical data storage, optical limiting, microfabrication, photodynamic therapy or bioimaging. Despite the unique structural and electronic characteristic of the boron clusters, few examples of boron cluster-containing -conjugate systems for TPA have been reported. The present project will aim to the preparation and characterization of novel boron cluster derivatives linked to highly conjugated systems to construct a new generation of dyes. All compounds are expected to be highly fluorescent and exhibit TPA properties, which would lead to their prospective application in biomedicine, especially in super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, but also in optical limiting. The main advantages of incorporating boron clusters would be improved hydrophobicity, low toxicity, thermal and chemical stability, among others. These compounds might be regarded as potential candidates for anticancer agents for boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT).

Main goals of the project:
1. To synthesize and characterize molecules with structural arrangement type D-A-D using nido-carborane as acceptor, and closo-carborane as donor and acceptor groups. 2. To study the electronic properties of the just made derivatives by steady state absorption and emission spectroscopies. 3. To evaluate non-linear properties such as TPA in those molecules having interesting luminescence properties for their potential application.

The candidate will incorporate in the LMI at ICMAB-CSIC. Group’s staff members: Prof. Francesc Teixidor, Prof. Clara Viñas, Dr. Rosario Núñez and Dr. Jose Giner-Planas. Our group has leading expertise in boron clusters chemistry and molecular materials, which places us in an ideal position to create innovative applications in materials science, medicine or energy. To date 40 doctors have been graduated and 375 articles published in high impact journals.

Email: rosario@icmab.es
Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/lmi/

OCAL, Carmen and ALIAGA, Nuria

The project aims the nanoscale investigation of novel organic semiconductors based on curcuminoids (CCMoids), molecules and/or polymers, susceptible of being used as active layers in optoelectronic devices, as electrode interlayers or as responsive layers with photo- or electro-chemical response. Having relevant electronic properties for applications in different fields (spintronic, electronics, energy…) and, particularly, in organic field effect transistors (OFETs), the final goal is to achieve these materials in the form of organized layers on surfaces. Their synthetic versatility and intrinsic electronic properties give CCMoids great advantages (coordination to metal/metalloids, immobilization on functionalized surfaces, solubility improvement, low cost and bio-inspired systems…) as active layers on surfaces/electrodes.

The relevance that crystalline order of the organic layers confers to their electrical characteristics as well as the need of ultrathin films integration into real applications make crucial establishing the correlation between their structural details and nanoscale properties. An innovative method consisting of a novel atomic layer injection system will be used for depositing non-volatile CCMoids in vacuum. This method uses a pulsed valve to inject small amounts of the solution containing the molecules onto suitable substrates in ultra clean conditions. One of the major challenges consists in the selection of the appropriate solvent which permits the production of micro-drops of the molecular solution and is evaporated during the travel through vacuum to the surface so that a pure molecular layer can be formed. Connection of the deposition equipment and an Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) chamber equipped with Scanning Tunneling and Atomic Force Microscope will permit investigating absolutely new ultrathin molecular layers made out of these novel molecules by correlating the 2D-order of the molecular assemblies with their properties.

Email: cocal@icmab / nuria.aliaga@icrea.cat
Research Group website


The explosive growth of cloud computing, social networks, and internet traffic, transformed data centres into large-scale computing systems, with extraordinarily high energy demands. By 2020 the carbon footprint of data centres will exceed the airline industry. The challenge ahead is a revolution with energy efficient technologies, able to reduce the related environmental and economic impacts. New generation of superconducting computing is a very promising technology as a long-term solution to the power, cooling and space constraints that afflict modern high-end computing. Superconducting logic circuits present and excellent opportunity to dramatically increase the energy efficiency of computing application. A major drawback is due to the lack of a dense high capacity cryogenic memory [1].

With this project we propose to explore a novel concept of cryogenic magnetic recording, which should introduce significant improvements and huge impact in density and energy memory efficiency. Our approach is based on Encoding non-trivial Magnetic States (vortex, monopoles, skyrmions) in superconducting-ferromagnetic hybrid materials, which can be exploited in the production of data storage devices. Proof of concept of this technology have been reported in [2].

The project will be conducted at the “Superconducting Materials and large scale nanostructures (SUMAN)” group at ICMAB-CSIC. SUMAN is a long-standing scientific group with more than 15 years in the research field of superconducting materials and development of their applications. A distinctive characteristic of the group is to keep a wise balance among fundamental properties and applied issues, including device development.

[1] Holmes et al. IEEE Trans on Appl Superc. 23 (2013), C3 USA Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity [2] Palau et al. Advanced Science (2016)

Email: palau@icmab.es
Research Group website. DOI: 10.1002/advs.201600207 / http://departments.icmab.es/suman


Major research and industrial efforts are dedicated to the fabrication of high performance supercapacitors for obtaining efficient and cost-effective systems to manage and storage renewable-based electricity. Importantly, it should be also considered the growing scarcity of specific chemical elements which add major difficulties for the extensive implantation of renewable technologies. Our proposal is focused on the fabrication of high performance hybrid electrodes composed of nitrogen-doped reduced graphene oxide (N-rGO)-metal oxide nanocomposites by means of an innovative laser deposition technique (Matrix Assisted Pulsed Laser Evaporation, MAPLE), employing inexpensive and abundant raw materials. The hybrid electrodes will be obtained by simultaneous MAPLE deposition of GO sheets and metal oxide nanoparticles onto metallic substrates immersed in reactive environments. The structural, compositional and functional properties of the electrodes, as well as the performance of supercapacitors based on them, will be exhaustively studied. This research is pioneering in the international research scenario and is based on the non-conventional laser-induced chemical transformation of the irradiated compounds for the synthesis of high quality materials with structural properties not achievable by standard methods. The Laser Processing Research group (LPR) of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona has extensive experience in laser processing and immobilization of nanoentities consisting of biomolecules, quantum dots, and carbon-based nanomaterials as carbon nanotubes and rGO-based composites. LPR team has achieved the simultaneous transfer, chemical transformation and tailoring of the functional properties of these nanoentities by MAPLE technique. Of particular innovation interest is the obtained reduction and N-doping of GO-based composites. LPR members have about twenty years of experience in laser processing of materials and nanomaterials characterization techniques.
Email: aperez@icmab.es
Research Group website: http://icmab.es/laserprocessing


This research project is part of the ERC Advanced Grant ULTRASUPERTAPE which aims to demonstrate an unprecedented approach for fabrication of low cost / high throughput / high performance High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) tapes, or Coated Conductors (CC), to push the emerging HTS industry to market. Superconductors are materials that can carry large currents without losses and consequently, their potential for applications expands from the energy sector (cables, transformers, fault current limiters,..but also wind generators and fusion) to transportation (electrical motors for next generation of aircrafts and propulsion ships), to the medical sector (MRI-NRM, PET, particle therapy with cyclotrons) to energy physics (magnets and large accelerators). The market integration relies on the cost/performance ratio of the superconducting wires at specific temperatures and magnetic fields. CCs have emerged as a very powerful solution for many cases, provided a strong decrease in cost is achieved. The breakthrough idea of this project is the use of Transient Liquid Assisted Growth (TLAG) from low cost Chemical Solution Deposition of Y, Ba, Cu metalorganic precursors to reach ultrafast growth rates using additive manufacturing ink jet printing and advanced heat treatment formulations. ULTRASUPERTAPE aims to boost Coated Conductor performances up to outstanding limits at high and ultrahigh fields, by smartly designing and engineering the local strain and electronic state properties of nanocomposite superconducting films prepared from nanoparticle colloids. The project is integrated in the “Superconducting Materials and large scale nanostructures, (SUMAN)” group at ICMAB composed of 30 researchers (staff, postdocs, PhD, technicians) with very diverse and complementary skills. We are recognized worldwide leaders in the field, we have established relevant international collaborations, and we are common users at Synchrotron facilities and High magnetic field installations.

Email: Teresa.puig@icmab.es
Research project / Research Group website: https://departments.icmab.es/suman/

RATERA, Imma and GUASCH, Judith

Despite  the  enormous  efforts  in  cancer  research  worldwide,  we  are  still  far  from  efficient  medicines in many cases. Encouragingly, several remissions of otherwise terminal leukemia patients  with  genetically  modified  autologous  T  cells  using  an  adoptive  T  cell  therapy  have  been recently described. This therapy consists of the isolation of T cells, their ex vivo activation  and  expansion,  and  the  subsequent  autologous  administration.  Nevertheless,  the  ability to expand T cells in high quantities with a determined phenotype and at a reasonable cost remains a limiting factor for the translation of cancer immunotherapies to clinics because of  the  long  and  expensive  in‐lab  treatments  required.  This  project  intends  to  alleviate  such  limitations with the development of biomimetic lymph nodes (LN) using dynamic biofuncional surfaces (2D) and supramolecular hydrogels (3D). We  expect  that  these  hydrogels  with  tunable  chemical  and  mechanical  properties  will  enhance T cell proliferation rates while controlling the cellular phenotypes ex‐vivo. As preliminary  step  we  will  also  use  2D  models  consisting  of  electroactive  molecular  self‐assembly monolayers (SAMs) as dynamic, model substrates to mimic the spatial and temporal cues of natural microenviroments and study the cell‐material interface in a simplified system. Thus, this job position proposes a multidisciplinary research that merges organic and physical chemistry, materials science and biomedicine to develop stimuli‐responsive 2D interfaces and 3D supramolecular hydrogels. More specifically, the student will:

1. Design,  synthesize  and  characterize  different  biomimetic  surfaces  and  supramolecular hydrogels using different techniques such as RMN, IR, HPLC, rheology, atomic force microscopy (AFM), etc.
2. Purify  T  cells  from  human  peripheral  blood  and  analyze  T  cell  adhesion,  activation, proliferation and differentiation using the previously synthesized biomaterials with different techniques such as ELISA tests, flow cytometry and optical microscopy to help improving adoptive T cell therapies.

Email: iratera@icmab.es
http://orcid.org/0000‐0002‐1464‐9789 http://www.researcherid.com/rid/E‐2353‐2014; Imma Ratera (Google Scholar)

Dr. Judith Guasch
Email: jguasch@icmab.es; Judit Guasch (Google Scholar)
Research Group website: www.icmab.es/nanomol
Max Planck Partner Group


In recent years the search for low cost methods to prepare functional materials has been an important research field. In particular, we have been working in the preparation and characterization of High Temperature Superconductors (HTSC) based on YBa2Cu3O7-δ using the Chemical Solution Deposition (CSD). In this way we were avoiding the use of High Vacuum deposition systems with reduction of costs. In particular, we were working in the enhancement of the superconducting properties by the introduction of defects in the ceramic matrix. Thus we are producing ceramic nanocomposites by means of the low cost chemical deposition procedures. In this case, the use of colloidal solutions of the chemical precursors containing different amounts of preformed oxide nanoparticles represents a new approach giving excellent results on superconducting ceramic layers with high performances. What we proposed here is a project based in this philosophy. During the last year in collaboration with the UAB we studied the synthesis and behavior of a set of different nanoparticles of perovskite structure (BaMO3, M=Ti, Zr and Hf) and also all-non-radioactive LnF3 NCs. In both cases we were able to obtain highly crystalline NPs, tuning their size and shape. These NPs proved to be a useful way to improve the properties of YBCO superconducting layers. In consequence, the extension of this study to other ceramic materials like LSMO is now on the way. Moreover, in the recent times the preparation of materials obtained by low-temperature processes are interesting due to a variety of optical applications The basic advantages of low-temperature methods are the low risk of impurities in the material's structure and prevention of thermal decomposition of some components. Using sol–gel processes, amorphous glasses were formed and structured by chemical polymerization in liquid phase. The combination of REF3 NPs with the sol-gel approach can produce in a new way photonic materials of great interest.

Email: ricart@icmab.es
Research project / Research Group website SUMAN/ICMAB

RURALI, Riccardo

The goal of this project is providing a theoretical framework aimed at understanding and controlling the manipulation of heat flux within semiconducting nanowires. The successful candidate will perform numerical simulations in order to devise realistic approaches for the engineering of a thermal diode and a thermal transistor, the fundamental building blocks of phononics.

In electronics information is transferred with charge carriers, whose motion can be easily controlled with external fields. This is not the case of phononics, where phonons —the basic particles that carry heat— have no mass or charge: this is why we live in a world of electronic devices and heat is normally regarded as a source of loss. The goal of this project is reversing this viewpoint and move to a new paradigm where heat can be actively used to transfer energy, thus information, in a controllable way.

Nanowires present multiple advantages over bulk materials to achieve heat rectification, mostly due to their reduced dimensionality and to the flexibility given by the chemistry of growth to yield structures that appear to be suited for these applications. This approach allows envisaging a truly zero-power analog of electronics, as in our world heat is indeed ubiquitous and phononics circuits will effectively need no power supply. Additionally, learning how to modulate the heat flow will have also important consequences in conventional electronics —where heat dissipation at the nanoscale is a major issue— or in devising efficient thermoelectric materials —where materials with low thermal conductivities must be engineered.

The activity of the group of Theory and Simulation of Materials is equally shared between the development of new algorithms and methods for the calculation of properties of materials and nanostructures and applications in various cutting-edge areas of materials science, particularly semiconducting nanostructures, novel functional oxides, and other reduced dimensionality systems.

Email: rrurali@icmab.es
Research Group website: https://departments.icmab.es/leem/Grupo/


Dislocations are linear defects of infinite length and subnanometer core radius ubiquitous in crystalline materials, that are receiving renewed attention among the oxide community. Dislocations are emerging as multiscale defects which can exhibit distinct properties along their cores (cf. resistive switching at edge dislocations in SrTiO3 [1]) or can modify the surface properties of thin films through their long range strain field [2].

The present proposal is focused on strategies to control the core structure and transport properties of dislocations, dislocated heteroepitaxial interfaces and grain boundaries, in functional oxides. Such strategies are based on the concept of dislocations (and their self-organized arrays) as confined structural states [3], which structure and properties can be selectively controlled by geometrical constrains and ambient conditions.

Strategies to create and modify specific core structures in oxide materials, foreseen in this project, include: (i) investigation of the effect of the screw/edge character of the dislocations, (ii) generation of novel misfit dislocation structures by dissimilar epitaxy, and (iii) investigation of phase transformations at individual dislocations and dislocated interfaces submitted to external stimuli (atmosphere, heat). The idea that phase transformations can be selectively induced at dislocation cores stems from the interplay between core structure, strain and defect chemistry, e.g. SrTiO3 [4,5] and La2/3Sr1/3MnO3 [6], and is supported by the observation of structural and electronic transformations at grain boundaries in TiO2 [7].

1. K. Szot et al., Nat. Mater. 2006, 5, 312. 2. F. Sandiumenge et al., Adv. Mater. Interfaces 2016, 3, 1600106. 3. M. Kuzmina et al., Science 2015, 349, 1080. 4. V. Metlenko et al., Nanoscale 2014, 6, 12864. 5. D. Marrocchelli, L. Sun, B. Yildiz, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 4735. 6. N. Bagués et al., Adv. Funct. Mater. accepted. 7. R. Sun et al., Nat.Commun. 2015, 6, 7120.

Email: felip@icmab.cat
Research Group website: http://departments.icmab.es/acnm

TEIXIDOR, Francesc

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.

Email: teixidor@icmab.es
Research Group website: https://departments.icmab.es/lmi/


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 beamline scientists at the Synchrotron ALBA, where a significant part of the experiments will be designed and carried out.

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. He has gained considerable insight in metal-air batteries working since 2011 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. [1].

Dr. Laura Simonelli is beamline responsible at CLÆSS, ALBA’s hard X-ray absorption and emission beamline, where a key in-house scientific topic is the study of the energy related material [2].

[1] M. Olivares-Marín et al. 2015, Nano Lett. 15 6932; I. Landa-Medrano et al. 2017, Nano Energy 10.1016/j.nanoen.2017.05.021; M. Olivares-Marín et al. 2017, J.Pow.Sources, accepted [2] T. Broux et al. 2017, J. Phys. Chem. C 121 4103; L. Simonelli et al. 2017, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 29 105702; T. Broux et al. 2016, Chem. Mater. 28 7683; W. Olszewski et al. 2016, J. Phys. Chem. C 120 4227

Email: dino@icmab.es

VECIANA, Jaume and RATERA, Imma

NANOMOL is a research group with wide expertise and recognized excellence in the synthesis, processing  and  study  of  molecular  and  polymeric  materials  with  chemical,  electronic,  magnetic and biomedical properties. We continuously generate new knowledge in our basic and  applied  research  projects  regarding  the  micro  and  nano  structuring  of  molecular  materials. We offer this knowledge to improve the properties of products manufactured in diverse sectors, such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and electronics, thereby contributing to increasing  their  added  value.  As  a  group,  we  are  actively  involved  in  implementing  nanotechnology and sustainable and economically efficient technologies for preparing advanced functional molecular materials. We belong to the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), a research institute of the CSIC the largest research institution of Spain. Our premises are located at the UAB (Autonomous University of Barcelona) research park. As one of the main Spanish research groups specialized in nanomedicine, we are members of the  Biomedical  Research  Networking  Centre  in  Bioengineering,  Biomaterials  and  Nanomedicine (CIBER‐BBN).

NANOMOL makes a valuable contribution to the advancement of knowdedge in the field of molecular  nanoscience  and  organic  functional  materials.  The  multidisciplinary  research  we  carry out is aimed at the self‐assembly, nanostructuring and processing of functional (bio‐ and electro‐active)  molecules  as  crystals,  particles,  vesicles,  and  structured  or  self‐assembled  monolayers on various substrates showing non‐conventional chemical, physical and biological properties. The resulting molecular organizations/systems are studied and used in the fields of  molecular  and  large‐area  electronics,  molecular  magnetism,  nanomedicine  and  biomaterials as well as for environmental applications. The offered job position will be framed  in  the  interdisciplinary  field  of  molecular  nanostructured  materials  with  optical  properties for biological applications.

Email: vecianaj@icmab.es; iratera@icmab.es.
Research Group website: www.icmab.es/nanomol

VECIANA, Jaume and RATERA, Imma

The  project  proposes  a  new  strategy  towards  all‐organic  multiferroic  based  on  organic  radicals (OR) combined with charge‐transfer salts. The soft nature of the crystals once processed  as  nanoparticles  (NPs)  will  be  exploited  in  a  very  innovative  approach  as  therapeutic agents for ion channel disorders as a proof‐of‐concept of its potential use in nanomedicine. The multiferroic NPs near the cells  will allow a remote  control of voltage to  locally generate few mV signals to control opening and closing of the ion channels of cell membranes gated by external magnetic fields. Magnetism and ferroelectricity are essential to current technologies, and the quest for multiferroic materials, where the two phenomena are intimately coupled, represents a challenging task for fundamental research with an enormous technological potential.

Despite the superior structural and functional versatility of organic materials, current research efforts  are  mainly  devoted  to  inorganic  materials,  such  as  perovskite  oxides  (ABO3),  whose  physics is fairly well understood but whose intrinsic limitations are starting to emerge. This project  proposes  an  ambitious  and  new  strategy  towards  all‐organic  multiferroic  materials  combined with the typical characteristics of molecular materials, including softness, low cost, biocompatibility, tunability, easy processing and wider structural versatility as their modular architectures  can  be  easily  modified  by  chemical  synthesis  and  crystal  engineering.  The  student will prepare ferroelectric charge‐transfer (CT) crystals decorated with organic radical side‐units.  He/she  will  use  advanced  supramolecular  engineering  techniques  to  assess  this  new family of materials where new physics and novel electrical and magnetic properties will emerge  from  the  subtle  interplay  between  intramolecular  electron‐transfer  (ET)  in  Radical‐  Donor, OR•‐D, derivatives and intermolecular charge‐transfer interactions in stacks of donor/acceptor species in which our group have wide experience.

Emerging  research  on  multiferroic  materials  is  primarily  seeking  applications  in  information  technology and wireless communication. Thanks to the biocompatible nature of all‐organic multiferroics, in a second step, we propose to the candidate a novel objective exploiting their great  potential  in  biomedicine.  In  fact,  electric  and  magnetic  fields  have  been  shown  to  influence biological systems but very little is known about its mechanism even they are already use for therapeutic uses.

Email: iratera@icmab.es
Websites: www.icmab.es/nanomol; www.ciber‐bbn.es


Microemulsions are extensively used in advanced material and chemical processing. However, considerable amounts of surfactant are needed for their formulation, which is a drawback due to both economic and ecological reasons. Nanomol group from ICMAB, discovered a novel class of surfactant-free CO2 based microemulsion-like systems in pressurized mixtures of water/organic-solvents/CO2. In the frame-work of a highly interdisciplinary collaborative research, we observed that this surfactant-free CO2 based microemulsions are composed by “water-rich” nanodomains embedded into a “water-depleted” matrix (E. Rojas et al., Chem.Commun. 2014, 50, 8215). These fluids show a reversible, pressure-responsive nanostructuration; the “water-rich” nanodomains at a given pressure can be instantaneously degraded/expanded by increasing/decreasing the pressure, resulting in a reversible, rapid, and homogeneous mixing/demixing of their content (N. Grimaldi et al. ACS Nano 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b02500). This pressure-triggered responsiveness, together with other inherent features of these fluids, such as the absence of any contaminant in the ternary mixture (e.g., surfactant), their spontaneous formation, and their solvation capability (enabling the dissolution of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules), make them appealing complex fluid systems to be used in molecular material processing and in chemical engineering. The present doctoral project aims at understanding and applying these novel surfactant-free structured fluids, as media for the controlled crystallization of high added-value particulate. Since in this ON/OF nanostructured fluids the mixing does not depend on the equipment design, the properties of particles produced are expected to be related only to the features of the surfactant-free CO2-based fluids, making the crystallization using this new media scale-independent, thus radically simplifying the translation of the crystallization process from lab to industrial scale.

Email: ventosa@icmab.es
Research Group website: https://projects.icmab.es/nanomol


We are a research group with wide expertise and recognized excellence in the synthesis of organic radicals and their characterization by techniques such as Electron Paramagnetic Resonance, EPR. We have also experience in the synthesis and use of radical dendrimers in different biomedical applications. Our proposal is to enable a new technology for minimally-invasive continuous high accuracy readings of specific glucose concentrations in tissue and blood. It will be based on novel smart materials and new electron spin resonance technology. In the present research we will focus on monitoring blood glucose levels as a proof of concept. Objective: Design and synthesis of a paramagnetic molecular probe for binding glucose molecules: Our new concept is based on a novel molecule that can selectively bind with high affinity to glucose, can be placed in the bloodstream in a compact manner, and can be read from the outside to reveal its status, i.e., bound or unbound. Here we created a truly novel and unique mechanism for this purpose, namely reading the status of the molecule (bound or unbound) based on its electron spin resonance (ESR) signal. ESR is a spectroscopic technique that can identify specific paramagnetic molecules and also provide information regarding their motional freedom and their molecular environment. The advantage of using ESR as detection principle is that it employs much longer electromagnetic waves than those used, for example, in optical spectroscopy, which is the leading modality used for addressing the reading problem. Such waves can easily penetrate the skin and the bloodstream and can provide high accuracy spectroscopic data without any other interfering signals.

Email: j.vidal@icmab.es
Research Group website: https://temporal.icmab.es/nanomol/index.php/labs/organic-radicals-jose-vidal-gancedo/organic-radicals-research

VIÑAS, Clara

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.

Email: clara@icmab.es
Research Group website: https://departments.icmab.es/lmi/






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