PhD Theses

Congratulations Dr. Arnau Romaguera, new ICMAB PhD graduate!

Doctor Arnau Romaguera from the Crystallography of Magnetic and Electronic Oxides and Surfaces (CMEOS) group at ICMAB, CSIC, defended his PhD thesis "High Tc Magnetic Spirals and Fe-based Frustrated Multiferroics" on Monday, 13 March 2023 at ICMAB. 

27 March 2023
Arnau Romaguera with his PhD Thesis | ICMAB, CSIC

The PhD thesis was supervised by José Luis García-Muñoz, CMEOS group, from ICMAB-CSIC and Javier Herrero-Martín, from ALBA Synchrotron.

The PhD Committee that evaluated the Thesis was formed by Luis Fernández Barquín, Universidad de Cantabria, Spain (President), Arantxa Fraile Rodríguez, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain (Secretary) and Pascal Manuel, ISIS Neutron & Muon Facility (STFC Rutherford Appleton Lab), United Kingdom (Vocal).

Doctor Arnau Romaguera's PhD thesis was part of the PhD in Materials Science from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).

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Arnau Romaguera with the PhD Committe and the supervisors | ICMAB, CSIC

Why did you choose ICMAB for your PhD?

After doing my master thesis at ICMAB I felt very motivated by the different lines of research of the CMEOS group and the friendly atmosphere in the institute.

How would you explain your research to a non-scientific audience?

We prepare new materials with very interesting and uncommon spiral magnetic structures. We carry out experiments using advanced crystallographic techniques to understand them and this allows us to improve their properties with the aim that one day these materials will be able to make our electronic devices more powerful and at the same time more energetically efficient.

What are the main applications of your research? Could you give us an example?

Multiferroic materials with magnetoelectric coupling as the ones investigated in my thesis are very promising candidates that could be used for low-energy switching in data storage devices and might lead to ultra-low-power electronics. The YBaCuFeO5 perovskite, where ferroelectricity is induced by a spiral magnetic order, has raised a great interest in the last years due to the exceptionally high ordering temperatures (well above RT) which make it a good candidate to substitute the less energetically efficient materials used in many electronic devices.

 From the lessons learnt here, which one do you value the most?

That it is impossible to know everything, so it is essential to be open to different opinions and contributions on your own work. Discussion is essential to enrich your point of view and even to reconduct your objectives.

What will you miss the most from ICMAB?

Of course, the people of ICMAB. The atmosphere here has something that is rarely found in other places.

How do you think this experience will contribute to your training and to your future?

I consider that in my case, the experience acquired after conducting several experiments on a wide varierty of instruments and techniques at large facilities (such as neutron, synchrotron or high-field labs) has been a plus in my training as a researcher, and I think it will mark the trajectory of my career.

What are your plans once you finish your PhD? 

After finishing my PhD my I would like to apply for a postdoctoral position to continue with my research career as an experimentalist. Ideally, as my thesis work revolved around large facilities, and thanks to the experience achieved on a wide variety of techniques, I would like to work on a field where the investigation is mainly based on advanced synchrotron and neutron studies.

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Arnau Romaguera with Jose Luis García Muños and Javier Herrero (supervisors) | ICMAB, CSIC

What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD, that you can recommend to the ones who are starting?

Besides the hard work required by the PhD, this it is important to be aware that this is a stage of life where a scientist discovers the joy learning while creating knowledge. This is more important than achieving perfection, later there will be more time for this.

Why did you become a scientist? Who have been your role models?

I remember being curious since I was a child, I was just unhappy not understanding the ways of nature. Although in my famiy there are no scientists my parents always motivated my curiosity. I still keep some of my science toys: a telescope, a microscope or even a chemistry kit. Then, after studying Physics at the university I was definitely convinced that I wanted to contribute to spreading science.

Let us know who are your favourite scientists (man and woman). Why?

I prefer to mention two of the many invisible woman scientists in two fields that I am passionate about. Rosalind Franklin, an unrecognized X-ray crystallographer who contributed to the discovery of the structure of DNA, and Henrietta Leavitt, who measured and discovered variable Cepheid stars in the dark, changing our way to observe the Universe and was just considered an 'assistant' during her live.

Congratulations, Doctor Arnau Romaguera!

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Arnau Romaguera at his PhD Thesis Defense | ICMAB, CSIC

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