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ICMAB Researchers by Pau Franch

ICMAB’s most frequent collaborators in 2020 - A year in review

Collaboration is a key part of research. Whether it be collaboration with similar researchers with different skill sets or perspectives, or collaboration with researchers in others fields for an interdisciplinary approach, joining efforts with other institutions is a solid way to improve ICMAB’s work. Here are the institutions that have collaborated more with ICMAB in 2020:

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Europe in a globe by Krzysztof Hepner

ICMAB’s top countries with whom we have collaborated in 2020 - A year in review

International research partnerships are a key factor to improve our collective knowledge. Not only does it allow everybody to share access to different scientific installations and techniques, it also gives research a more diverse viewpoint that ensures every possibility is considered. These are the countries that ICMAB has collaborated more with during 2020:

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Glasses and books by Marylou Fortier

ICMAB’s 2020 most published journals - A year in review

Scientific dissemination is clearly dependent on journals to help spread the word about research done all around the world. Many specialized journals, in fields like materials science or nanotechnology, have helped ICMAB Researchers get eyes on their research. These are the journals that have shared more of our research in 2020:

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Books on bookshelves by Alfons Morales

The 10 ICMAB articles with a higher IF in 2020 - A year in review

The Clarivate journal Impact Factor metric system gives a yearly numeric indicator of how much has an article been cited and how much impact has it had. This year, ICMAB’s average IF has been at 7.42, with an 18 % of all publications having an IF higher than 10. These are the ICMAB articles that have had a higher IF during 2020:

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Highlighted lines in a book by Russ Ward

The 15 most cited ICMAB articles of 2020 - A year in review

Citation is one of the key factors to understand the effect an article has had on a particular field. This year, ICMAB Researchers have published articles across many fields, like energy storage, thermoelectrics, or nanomedicine. From all this research, two of ICMAB’s articles have become highly cited pieces. Do you want to know which articles have been the most cited this year?

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New COVER in "Organometallics" on boron-based antimicrobial and antifungal agents

The Organometallics journal (ACS Publications) features in its COVER the recently published article "Metallacarborane Assemblies as Effective Antimicrobial Agents, Including a Highly Potent Anti-MRSA Agent" by ICMAB researcher, Clara Viñas and co-workers from ICMAB, Universitat de Girona, Universidad de Córdoba and Durham University (UK).

Cover, Top Science Results, Breaking News, 2020

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ERC grantees at ICMAB: Marta Mas-Torrent, Agustín Mihi, Mariano Campoy-Quiles, Teresa Puig, Alexandre Ponrouch, Massimiliano Stengel, Núria Aliaga-Alcalde, Gerard Tobias, Martí Gich, Can Onur Avci

ICMAB is the 10th Catalan Institution with more ERC Grants

Título Artículo: ICMAB is the 10th Catalan Institution with more ERC Grants
A new publication by AGAUR highlights the importance of Catalan Research in the European context and shares the top research institutions in ERCs, Numbers show that from 2007 to 2019, Catalunya has received 369 ERC grants and that 82 % of them are distributed in 16 institutions, including ICMAB. 

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Announcement of a public-private investment fund for the promotion of knowledge transfer

Councillor Ramon Tremosa visited the facilities of the ALBA Synchrotron with its director, Caterina Biscari, on 16 November 2020. After the visit, they both met with several Directors of other research centers in the area, including ICMAB Director Xavier Obradors. During the meeting the announcement of the Government's intention to create a public-private investment fund to promote the knowledge transfer of the research in Catalonia was made. 

Top Science Results, Breaking News, 2020

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Unexpected soft ferroelectric domain walls

"Our colleagues at ICN2 studied a range of ferroelectrics using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and discovered that 180-degree domain walls – regions separating ferroelectric domains with opposite polarization – are mechanically softer than the surrounding material" says Konstantin Shapovalov, ICMAB researcher and co-author of the now published article in Physical Review X Mechanical Softness of Ferroelectric 180° Domain Walls, in which he contributed with the theoretical interpretation of this unexpected phenomenon. 

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Electric forces to characterize future biocompatible organic electronic devices

A joint collaboration between the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) and The University of Manchester has succeeded in mapping the electrical properties of organic biosensor/electrolyte interfaces at the nanoscale by measuring local electric forces. Electronic biosensorsbased on organic materials could make soon a reality the dream of low-cost, disposable, flexible and biocompatible electronic devices for the interaction with biological systems.

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New semiconductors with strong optical response in the framework of a MIT "la Caixa" Foundation project

The first article of the joint project between ICMAB and MIT in the framework of the collaborative project MIT-SPAIN "la Caixa" Foundation SEED FUND is now published in Physical Review Materials. The project is focused on the investigation of new materials for photovoltaic applications. Ignasi Fina is the ICMAB researcher involved in the study. 

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Borate-based passivation layers enables reversible calcium batteries

A study published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science has combined experimental and theoretical approaches to study the passivation layers formed on calcium metal electrodes and their influence on the reversible operation of calcium-based batteries. The work is led by researchers from the ICMAB-CSIC, who have collaborated with the ALBA Synchrotron (MIRAS beamline) as well as with other international laboratories and universities. 

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Local conductance control in h-Er(Mn,Ti)O3.

NextGen nanotechnology: changing conductivity with an Atomic Force Microscope with nanoscale precision

A route to control the conductivity in the functional oxide Er(Mn,Ti)O3 through the use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) could allow for an improvement of conductivity that is not detrimental to other materials’ properties like magnetism or multiferroicity, as demonstrated in a new Nature Materials article that counts with the collaboration of ICMAB Researcher Konstantin Shapovalov from the Electronic Structure of Materials (LEEM) Group.

Top Science Results, 2020

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Quantum confinement in hybrid perovskites in the Nature Materials News & Views by Alejandro Goñi

ICMAB and ICREA researcher, Alejandro Goñi, from the NANOPTO group, is author of an article in the News & Views section in Nature Materials, in which he was asked to review one publication from Laura Herz and co-workers from the University of Oxford, published in Nature Materials about hybrid halide pervoskites and some of their fascinating properties. 

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How do surface acoustic waves enhance catalytic activity?

An international team of researchers with the participation of he ICMAB have studied the mechanism by which surface acoustic waves (SAW) enhance catalytic activity. Researchers were able for the first time to measure the effect of SAW on the electronic structure of a Pt model catalyst and achieved a remarkable precision with the new experimental setup at the CIRCE beamline in the ALBA Synchrotron.

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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.

Press Release, Top Science Results, TT Patents & Techno Offers, 2020

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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. 

Press Release, Top Science Results, 2020

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SIESTA logo

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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Vertical PFM amplitude images of PbTiO3/ SrRuO3 films deposited on DyScO3 (a) and TbScO3 (b) substrates. Lateral PFM amplitude images of PbTiO3/SrRuO3 films on GdScO3 (c) and SmScO3 (d) substrates. // Source: Ferroelectric Domain Walls in PbTiO3 Are Effective Regulators of Heat Flow at Room Temperature (DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b02991)

Experiments confirm theoretical research: SiGe alloys for optoelectronics and ferroelectric phononic switches

ICMAB Researcher Riccardo Rurali, from the Materials Simulation and Theory (MST) group, has found two of his theoretical predictions to be confirmed through experimental approaches, regarding the use of hexagonal SiGe alloys for optoelectronic applications and the use of domain walls as switches for phononic devices.

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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.

Press Release, Top Science Results, 2020

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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.

Top Science Results, 2020

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Publicada en Nature Materials investigación coliderada por Mariano Campoy sobre la obtención de paneles solares que permitan un mayor rendimiento energético.

Se ha publicado en Nature Materials un trabajo de Mariano Campoy del ICMAB-CSIC y Jenny Nelson del Imperial College en el que se concluye que los polímeros con estructura molecular sin curvatura son mejores para la obtención de paneles solares más efectivos. Los materiales resultantes consiguen pasar del  4%  o el 5% de eficiencia al 8,5% 

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