The aim of the group is to explore, understand and develop new strongly correlated materials of interest in fundamental science, such as studies of intermolecular interactions, and in the improvement of methods for crystal structure determination from electron diffraction data. The group has developed the new through-the-substrate (tts) X-ray microdiffraction technique, integrated now at ALBA Synchrotron, and has a great expertise in nanocomposite porous materials, applied to different catalysis reactions.
The current research fields of the laboratory derive from its deep knowledge on structural crystallography and from the corresponding structure-property relationships. New concepts and procedures have been developed during the years as new Patterson search methods or efficient and robust algorithms for phase refinement by direct methods which have been extended to powder diffraction. The study of the topology of experimental electron densities led to a deeper understanding of the hydrogen bond. Also, the expertise in surface crystallography has rendered possible not only the determination of difficult surface reconstructions but also the location of the absorbed molecules on substrates by grazing x-ray diffraction methods with synchrotron radiation. The expertise in structural determination and characterization of low dimensional systems and nanostructured materials by using UHV and synchrotron radiation techniques permits chemical, physical and structural analysis of surface phenomena in nanoscience field. On the other hand, the preparation and characterization of functionalized and nanocomposited aerogels has driven interesting new materials for applications in dye lasers and catalysis. Among the specialities of the researchers of the laboratory it should be mentioned i. the determination of complex crystal structures of microporous materials and molecular compounds from powder data; ii. the instrumental development of Mössbauer spectroscopy equipment e.g. the building and patenting of a miniaturised Micro-Mössbauer. Funded by several industrial contracts, the group also works in the preparation and characterisation of new materials like silica aerogels, nanomagnetism, drug delivery and magnetic imaging, gas purification sieves and catalysis for CO2 reduction for H2 production (in collaboration with the UPC).