Top Science Results

Piezoresponse Force Microscopy, a simple method to visualize moiré superlattices

A recent publication in Nature Nanotechnology in which Massimiliano Stengel, ICREA scientist, and Konstantin Shapovalov, postdoctoral researcher at ICMAB, participated, show how Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM) is an effective tool to visualize and characterize moiré patterns in a wide range of twisted bilayer systems including twisted bilayer graphene. The publication is a collaboration between researchers from Columbia University in USA, the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan, Nanjing University in China, Stony Brook University in USA, the Flatiron Institute in USA and the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona.

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How do superconducting coated conductors respond to the extreme temperature, frequency and magnetic field conditions of the CERN Future Circular Collider?

A new publication in Scientific Reports by researchers of the Superconducting Materials and Large Scale Nanostructures (SUMAN) group at the ICMAB, the ALBA Synchrotron, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and CERN, has studied the surface resistance and vortex properties of seven superconducting coated conductors at microwave frequencies, high magnetic fields and low temperatures (mimicking the expected conditions of the Future Circular Collider at CERN) to study how they respond.

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Summary of effects in magnetophoresis due to magnetic and hydrodynamic interactions beyond the classical model. The cartoon indicates the physical interactions behind the cooperative effect and the magnetic-induced convection, illustrated by the images

The challenge of understanding low-gradient magnetic separation

Low-gradient magnetic separation (LGMS) is a complex phenomena with a behaviour so contradictory with classic magnetophoresis models that it was considered to be almost paradoxical. An Editor’s Choice feature article at the Langmuir journal, co-authored by ICMAB Researcher Jordi Faraudo, proposes a unified theoretical framework to understand and control this helpful separation technique.

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Practical and versatile micro-patterning for organic electronics and photonics

Scientists have managed to draw at high resolution and speed, local patterns in organic semiconductor films used in optoelectronic and photonic applications. The new method enables the patterning of material characteristics and concomitant final properties, including molecular conformation, orientation, crystallinity and composition. The technique, published with open access in Nature Communications, has also been patented and industrial partners are sought for further co-development.

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Cost effective approach for the fabrication of large area metamaterials

Metamaterials have revolutionized the field of photonics because of their exotic optical properties absent in natural materials. Made from the arrangement of subwavelength units, the properties of metamaterials do not derive from their chemical composition but rather from their physical structure. Therefore, properly designing the geometry, size and media involved in a metamaterial, it is possible to engineer the overall electromagnetic response beyond the conventional behaviors. 

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Emulating the plasticity of synapses between neurons in a physical system by light stimuli

This is the first case of a 2D electron system, in which the electron population can be increased and reduced in a controlled way by light. The study, published in Physical Review Letters, has been carried out by Gervasi Herranz and co-workers from the Laboratory of Multifunctional Thin Films and Complex Sructures (MULFOX) group at the ICMAB. 

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New developments and applications for SIESTA program

The SIESTA methodology and program, first described in 2002, is a simulation paradigm that has allowed for extensive and precise theoretical research in the properties of materials based on first principle electronic-structure methods. Almost two decades later, a new publication details the improvements made to the paradigm and how this new tools can be applied.

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New fluorescent nanoparticles to see what is invisible to the eye

Researchers from the Nanomol group at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), the CIBER-BBN network and the ICTS Nanbiosis U6, and members of the TECNIO technology transfer network ACCIÓ-Generalitat de Catalunya, together with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT, USA) and the University of Parma (UNIPR, Italy) have developed a new nanomaterial for bioimaging. The results of the study are the result of the TECNIOspring PLUS project co-financed by ACCIÓ and the European Commission.

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Light-boosted flexoelectricity properties discovered in perovskites

A research recently published on Nature Materials, carried out jointly by the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), Nanchang University (China) and Chongqing University (China), has demonstrated that light can increase by orders of magnitude the electricity produced by bending (flexoelectricity) in semiconductors. This phenomenon, called photoflexoelectricity, allows a single device to harvest energy from multiple environmental sources.

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Aromaticity in 3D Boron clusters is better than expected!

Although the concept of aromaticity in chemistry is something that chemists have in their minds very clearly, they find it very difficult to define. Moreover, among chemists, there are two currents with two distinct points of view: the experimental chemists and the theoretical chemists. What happens when we look at the aromaticity of 3D boron clusters?

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New ruthenium-based metallocarboranes for bimodal cancer therapy

With cancer as the second leading cause of death worldwide, investigation on its treatment stays relevant. New mononuclear ruthenium–carboranyl complexes bearing bipyridyl derivatives are being developed for bimodal therapy applications, unifying BNCT (boron neutron capture therapy) and chemotherapy on a single smaller dose and giving a more effective response thanks to a synergistic effect. These complexes are being characterized and tested against melanoma and glioblastoma, and showing successful results so far.

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