By the end of 2020, ten (10) researchers of the ICMAB had been granted with thirteen (13) projects of the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC operates according to a "curiosity-driven", or "bottom-up", approach, allowing researchers to identify new opportunities in any field of research. Accordingly, the portfolio ERC funded projects spans a wide range of topics and research questions. Discover them here!

At the ICMAB we have projects on superconducting tapes, organic energy materials, cancer therapy and diagnosis, graphene-based devices, flexoelectricity, photonic and optoelectronic devices, molecular electronic devices, calcium and magnesium-based batteries and ferries for 5G materials. Our researchers have also been awarded by many other European projects (FETOPEN, COFUND, EURONANOMED…) and other projects from different institutions. Check them out!

Advanced Grants

ERC Advanced Grants are for established, leading principal investigators who want long-term funding to pursue a ground-breaking, high-risk project

Teresa Puig

Ultrafast growth of ultrahigh performance superconducting tapes (ULTRASUPERTAPE) 2015
The ULTRASUPERTAPE project is an unprecedented approach for low cost/high throughput/high performance high temperature superconducting tapes for the new clean, efficient and smart energy paradigm. A transient liquid assisted growth (TLAG) in chemical solution deposited layers is used to reach ultrafast growth of thick superconducting tapes. An integrated system based on additive manufacturing and digital printing is devised to address a competitive manufacturing process with very high throughput and low cost, where combinatorial chemistry is selectively used for fast screening. Ultra-high tapes performances at high and ultrahigh magnetic fields are envisioned by maximizing the superconducting condensation energy with local strain and electronic state engineering.

Consolidator Grants

ERC Consolidator Grants are for scientists who want to consolidate their independence by establishing or strengthening a research team and continuing to develop a success career in Europe

Mariano Campoy-Quiles

Finding a needle in a haystack: efficient identification of high performing organic energy materials (FOREMAT) 2015
With the aim of achieving breakthrough advances in the performance of organic photovoltaic and thermoelectric applications, the FOREMAT project will develop a high throughput platform that will enable the ultrafast identification of promising organic materials, simultaneously producing design rules for improved compounds and composites and efficiently optimizing device performance. The goal is to deliver organic material systems with a step-change in performance, bringing them close to the expected market turn point, including panchromatic organic photovoltaics with ca 15% efficiencies and thermoelectric devices that could revolutionize waste heat recovery by their flexibility, lightweight and high power factor. The development of multicomponent materials promises to dramatically improve the cost, efficiency and stability of organic energy devices.

Gerard Tobias

Nanoengineering of Radioactive Seeds for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis (NEST)2017
The NEST project that focuses on the preparation of radioactive nanomaterials, smaller than the size of human body cells, for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Depending on the nature of the employed radioactive materials, it is expected that the nanomaterials prepared will allow both an early diagnosis of tumors and their treatment in a localized manner, thus minimizing damage to healthy tissue

Núria Aliaga-Alcalde

Efficient electronic transport at room temperature by T-shaped molecules in graphene based chemically modified three-terminal nanodevices (Tmol4TRANS) 2017
The project Tmol4TRANS is dedicated to the design of molecules, which inserted in nano-transistors based on graphene, will produce efficient conductance at room temperature. It is also expected to optimize the device and production since the hybrid between the molecule and the device will have a high reproducibility. This is a project that wants to encourage the use of molecules in electronic devices that we use every day to improve their performance. Tmol4TRANS would have a direct impact in Molecular Electronics and Spintronics, as well as in the broader scope of nanoelectronics.

Massimiliano Stengel

Hierarchical multiscale modeling of flexoelectricity and related materials properties from first principles (MULTIFLEXO) 2017
The MULTIFLEXO project objective is to advance decisively in the theoretical understanding of flexoelectricity (a phenomenon whereby a material generates electricity by suffering a non-homogeneous deformation, for example by bending) and more generally, of material properties that emerge from a non-uniform distortion. The theoretical study of these properties presents a great challenge that Max Stengel has assumed as a pioneer in the simulation of the first principles of flexoelectricity and he approaches it with an innovative multiscale strategy that integrates quantum-mechanical calculations with a description of solids and nanostructures on a larger scale. The tools that will provide will allow in the future, the design of innovative devices for energy harvesting, innovative transducers and photovoltaic materials with improved properties.

Martí Gich

Ferrites-by-design for Millimeter-wave and Terahertz Technologies (FeMiT) 2019
Robust disruptive materials will be essential for the “wireless everywhere” to become a reality. This is because we need a paradigm shift in mobile communications to meet the challenges of such an ambitious evolution. In particular, some of these emerging technologies will trigger the replacement of the magnetic microwave ferrites in use today. This will namely occur with the forecasted shift to high frequency mm-wave and THz bands and in novel antennas that can simultaneously transmit and receive data on the same frequency. In both cases, operating with state-of-the-art ferrites would require large external magnetic fields incompatible with future needs of smaller, power-efficient devices. To overcome these issues, we target ferrites featuring the so far unmet combinations of low magnetic loss and large values of magnetocrystalline anisotropy, magnetostriction or magnetoelectric coupling.

Starting Grants

ERC Starting Grants are for talented early-career scientists who have already produced excellent supervised work, and are ready to work independently and show potential to be a research leader

Agustín Mihi

Photonic electrodes for enhanced light management in Optoelectronic devices (ENLIGHTMENT) 2015
The ENLIGHTMENT project is aimed at the fabrication of different types of low cost and large area photonic architectures to improve the performance of solar cells, sensors, photodetectors and many other devices. Nanostructured dielectric and metallic photonic architectures can concentrate the electric field through resonances, increase the light optical path by strong diffraction and exhibit many other interesting optical phenomena that cannot be achieved with traditional lenses and mirrors. This research plan is aimed to develop photonic electrodes that will enhance light matter interaction based on wave optics phenomena while being fabricated with techniques fully compatible with today’s mass production approaches, allowing seamless integration of wave optics components in current devices.

Marta Mas-Torrent

Surface self-assembled molecular electronic devices: logic gates, memories and sensors (e-GAMES) 2012
The ERC Starting Grant e-GAMES is dedicated to organic electronic devices, such as molecular logic gates for the storage and transmission of magnetic and optical information and for locally controlling surface wettability; ambipolar organic field-effect transistors with donor-acceptor systems and their exploitation in light, temperature or pressure sensors, and/or memory devices; and organic/inorganic hybrid devices based on field-effect transistors for sensing environmentally hazardous carbon nanoparticles

Alexandre Ponrouch

Calcium and Magnesium metal anode based batteries (CAMBAT) 2017
CAMBAT addresses important challenges in the quest for a sustainable future, since batteries are essential components in a wide range of “everyday” technologies. It aims at developing new sustainable battery chemistries based Ca or Mg metal anodes which would bring a breakthrough in terms of energy density, while relying on much more abundant elements as compared to today’s state of the art Li-ion technology. A milestone of this project is the formulation of new non-corrosive electrolytes with enhanced ionic transport that would promote the formation of a stable electrolyte/electrode interface. This should enable building laboratory prototype cells with enhanced energy density and lower cost than commercially available Li-ion batteries. The European Research Council (ERC) has a number of funding schemes amongst which the Starting Grant is a very prestigious one that aims at encouraging young talented research leaders to gain independence in Europe and to build their own careers.

Can Onur Avci

Magnetic Insulators: An Enabling Platform for Innovative Spintronic Concepts (MAGNEPIC) 2021

The aim of MAGNEPIC is to place magnetic insulators at the core of spintronics by exploiting their advantages over conducting magnets.
Magnetic conductors are ubiquitous in spintronics due to their ability to generate and detect spin currents by electrical means. However, we now know that nonmagnetic materials with large spin-orbit coupling can efficiently convert charge currents into spin currents with de-coupled directions. This key feature enables spin current injection into virtually any material, including magnetic insulators where charge currents cannot propagate but spin currents can.
The aim of this project is to bridge the long-established knowledge on magnetic insulators with today’s expertise on spintronics and measurement techniques. 

Proof of Concept

ERC Proof of Concept Grants are for researchers who already received an ERC grant for their frontier research project and now want to explore the commercial or societal potential of their work

Marta Mas-Torrent

Large Area Organic Devices with Bar-Assisted Meniscus Shearing Technology (LAB-TECH) 2014
This Proof-of-concept ERC grant is devoted to organic electronic devices, such as organic field-effect transistors (OFETs), which are raising an increasing interest for their potential in large area coverage and low cost applications

Teresa Puig

Industrially manufacturing process for a high temperature superconducting coated conductor technology (IMPACT) 2019
This Proof-of-concept ERC grant is devoted to the manufacturing of high-temperature superconducting tapes. The overall objective of this Proof of Concept (PoC) proposal is to demonstrate the commercial relevance and to build a business strategy for the industrial scale-up of a new manufacturing process for HTS films, which will push the emerging HTS industry to full market adoption.

Mariano Campoy-Quiles

ORganic thermoelectric GEnerators to power precision VIticulture sensor Networks (ORGEVINE) 2021

The ORGEVINE project aims to reduce water and phytosanitary chemicals usage as well as enhancing production yield in the wine industry by developing a network of wireless autonomous sensors that will provide real time images of key field parameters such as temperature and humidity. The sensors will be self-powered by non-toxic thermoelectric generators (OTEGs), taking advantage of the ubiquitous renewable energy source that is the temperature difference between soil and air. Therefore, avoiding the costly battery replacement, which is a major bottleneck in the Internet of Things.

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