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ICMAB Open Positions

The 2023 Call for Doctoral INPhINIT Fellowships is now open!

Deadline: Jan 25, 2023

The Doctoral INPhINIT Fellowships Call 2023 from "la Caixa" is now open. 

Anna May
11 November 2022
INPhINIT Banner
INPhINIT Banner

”la Caixa” Foundation grants 65 Doctoral INPhINIT fellowships for talented early-stage researchers of any nationality to pursue their PhD studies in Spain or Portugal. This fellowships programme is aimed at supporting the best scientific talent and fostering innovative and high-quality research in Spain and Portugal by recruiting outstanding international students and offering them an attractive and competitive environment for conducting research of excellence.

At ICMAB we offer 10 different projects in the field of physics, chemistry, materials engineering and nanotechnology and biochemistry. Apply for ICMAB if you dare to discover!

The doctoral INPhINIT fellowships offer a highly competitive salary and complementary opportunities for training on transferrable skills through annual training sessions, incentives upon completion of the thesis, among other elements that make these fellowships some of the most attractive and complete in Europe.

This programme is divided into two frames:

  • Incoming: 35 fellowships for researchers willing to pursue PhD studies in research centres accredited with the Spanish Seal of Excellence Severo Ochoa, María de Maeztu or Health Institute Carlos III and Portuguese units accredited as “excellent” according to the evaluation of the Fundação de Ciência e Tecnologia. More information

  • Retaining: 30 fellowships for researchers willing to pursue PhD studies in any research domain and any university or research center in Spain or Portugal. More information

{tab OPEN PROJECTS}

Open projects

PHYSICS

{slider title="Highly efficient organic solar cells and novel photodetector concepts based on advanced processing tools (Mariano Campoy-Quiles)" open="false"}

The current position taps in the processing and device technologies established in the past few years by the group, in order to develop novel applications in terms of photodetection and solar cells. These two technologies are based on the use of photonic structures to enhance the absorption in organic semiconductors, as well as deposition methods that enable the deposition of lateral composition gradients.

On the one hand, spectroscopic photodetection is a powerful tool widely employed in disciplines such as medical diagnosis, industrial process monitoring, or agriculture. However, its application in novel fields, including wearable, portable and biointegrated electronics, is hampered by the use of bulky dispersive optics. Traditional spectrometers are based on broadband photodetectors combined with diffraction gratings or dichroic prisms, characterized by a rather high structural complexity and cost. During this PhD, two approaches will be used to overcome these issues and thus demonstrate miniaturized spectrometers: multipixel photodetectors coupled to reconstructive algorithms, and optical microcavities based on thickness wedges in which spectral selectivity is given by local cavity thickness.

The same architectures will also be optimized in order to fabricate multijunction organic solar cells based on novel spectral splitting concepts. Organic solar cells are very promising as they are based on abundant, non-toxic materials and low thermal budget processes, thus rendering highly sustainable. Further increases in power conversion efficiency, as such granted by multijunction strategies, hold the promise to make this technology closer to commercialization. The two architectures mentioned above, lateral gradients and optical microcavities, can be used precisely with this objective if finely tuned for solar cells optimization. The miniaturized device can also be used for fundamental analysis of samples (i.e. for detection of impurities in a sample, traces of solvent…).

Job position description

The candidate will join the team led by Mariano Campoy-Quiles, which is a team of around 10-12 physicists, chemists, material scientists and engineers, whose mission is to contribute to find solutions that will help to provide clean energy to everybody.

The team is part of the Nanostructured Materials for Optoelectronics and Energy Harvesting (NANOPTO) group, which is generally devoted to materials for energy and photonic applications.

To develop the project, the candidate will learn how to use a large variety of techniques and methodologies. The main tasks that will be carried out within the project include:

  1. Fabrication and optimization of organic photodetectors and solar cells
  2. Investigation of the lateral gradient and cavity geometries
  3. Development of reconstruction algorithms
  4. Fundamental study/characterization of materials and devices using, e.g. advanced spectroscopy
  5. Literature review and paper drafting
  6. Contributing to the group (e.g. taking care of the maintenance of a given piece of equipment, giving presentations at group meetings, helping new students, etc.)

We are looking for a creative and motivated PhD candidate, who enjoys being part of a team.

The fellow should hold a Bachelor degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or Nanoscience, related engineering disciplines, and hold a recognized Master degree (or equivalent). Some experience in materials processing and/or optics/photonics would be an added value.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
WebsiteNANOPTO group

{slider title="Light-matter interactions in quantum solid-state nanodevices (Gervasi Herranz)" open="false"}

The manipulation of quantum states using light is of interest for applications in quantum technologies, particularly, the control of spin states in solids and molecules using electromagnetic fields. Recently, we found optical signatures of spin-inversion driven by light in some manganites (Ref. [1]). Furthermore, using a group-theoretical approach, we have been able to describe accurately the microscopic processes that enable a control of the spin using electromagnetic fields (Ref. [2]). Crucial ingredients are spin-orbit coupling and Jahn-Teller instabilities related to strong coupling of electronic and phononic degrees of freedom. In the present project we intend to further develop this research along the following directions:

  • a) Use (magneto)-optical spectroscopy to analyse the properties of a wide range of materials in which spin-orbit coupling and Jahn-Teller physics is relevant. These include, among others, single and multilayered manganites, cuprates and heavy transition metal compounds. The objective is to identify materials where spin-photon coupling is most efficient.
  • b) Study the dynamics of light-matter interactions in these solids using ultrafast optical spectroscopy. The objective is to analyse the lifetime of optically induced excitations and their dynamics down to the femtosecond scale. This will be done in the frame of an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Allan Johnson (ICFO).
  • c) Develop nano/mesoscopic devices that exploit electromagnetic control of spin states. We propose electric transport modulation by electromagnetic fields at resonance frequencies where spin inversion occurs. The objective is to develop quantum nanodevices where spins are controlled by light.

The present project aims at expanding the range of quantum materials, with emphasis on the use of light to modulate and control their properties.

  1. Casals et al, Phys Rev Lett 117, 026401 (2016)
  2. AS Miñarro and G. Herranz, Phys Rev B 106, 165108 (2022)
Job position description

All required infrastructure and equipment is found at the host Institution (ICMAB-CSIC) and its immediate environment, as well as through a collaboration with ICFO. The successful candidate will be trained in materials synthesis and nanodevice fabrication. This involves growth of thin films (nanometer scale) by pulsed laser deposition with in-situ RHEED, and access to the ICMAB clean room for device fabrication down to 100 nm and below, using optical and electron-beam lithography. The host group has also an extended experience in measuring electrical transport under magnetic fields for nanodevice characterization. The host laboratory also includes optical setups that allow (magneto)-optical spectroscopy and imaging, using light in the visible and near infrared in a wide range of frequencies (400 – 900 nm). (Magneto)-optical spectroscopy will be carried out as a function of temperature (10 – 320 K). The lab also includes a confocal microscope that allows diffraction-limited lateral resolution (a few hundreds of nanometers). Ultrafast optical collaboration will be done in collaboration with Dr. Allan Johnson at ICFO. The ultrafast dynamics of quantum materials at ICFO has an amplified titanium sapphire laser system and optical parametric amplifiers allowing for ultrafast spectroscopy with down to 30 fs temporal resolution at wavelengths from 400-2700 nm. Supercontinuum probing from 500-750 nm simultaneously allows tracking a range of excitations simultaneously in an optical cryostat enabling measurements down to 77K.

The supervisor of the project will provide all the necessary means for the successful candidate to attend schools and relevant international scientific meetings and workshops. Candidates should be fluent in English, with a background in optics and condensed matter physics. Programming and mathematical skills as well as enthusiasm for Science are more than welcome.

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: Multifunctional Thin Films and Complex Structures Group

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BIOCHEMISTRY

{slider title="Developing patient-derived lung tumoroids based on 3D hydrogels as new pre-clinical models (Judith Guasch)" open="false"}

The Max Planck Partner Group “Dynamic Biomimetics for Cancer Immunotherapy” led by Dr. Judith Guasch (Molecular Nanoscience and Organic Materials department) is currently focused on the design, fabrication, and engineering of novel bionanomaterials to be used as artificial extracellular matrices (ECM) of tumoroids, i.e. tumor organoids. Our objective is to improve novel cancer (immuno)therapies and reduce animal experimentation in preclinical testing, thus lessening the implied ethical and economic burden, as well as decreasing the translation problems associated to variations among species.

Immunotherapies have shown very promising results, i.e. complete remissions in aggressive hematological cancers and melanoma, but still have some limitations that require more research, and therefore more accurate preclinical models. Organoids are micrometric 3D cell aggregates capable of physiologically resemble the structure and/or functions of the original tissues. Usually, they are formed by primary cells grown on a 3D scaffold consisting of a mouse sarcoma extract. However, these murine 3D scaffolds show limitations on recapitulating the physicochemical characteristics of human tissues. Additionally, they are expensive and may suffer from batch-to-batch variability, due to their natural origin.

Consequently, we initiated a project to develop artificial ECMs of lung tumors, based on our recently described synthetic 3D hydrogels, in order to fabricate non-small cell lung tumoroids that can properly recapitulate the human biology. The fabrication of the artificial ECMs is tackled through different angles, which include the 3D printing of synthetic bionanomaterials or their incorporation into a microfluidic system to obtain an organ-on-achip.

Moreover, we work in collaboration with different (pre)clinical groups including the Technical University of Valencia-Hospital General de Valencia as well as the National Centre for Cancer Research (CNIO).

Job position description

The PhD student will be involved in the synthesis, physicochemical characterization (NMR, X-ray tomography, rheology, SEM, confocal microscopy, etc.), and processing (e.g. through 3D printing) of synthetic 3D hydrogels to act as artificial ECMs.

She/he will also perform cell culture studies to evaluate the effectivity of such bionanomaterials, first with primary cell cultures of lung cancer cells and then with patient-derived lung biopsies in close collaboration with the Technical University of Valencia-Hospital General de Valencia as well as CNIO. The organoids will be analyzed by optical and fluorescence microscopy, ELISA, flow cytometry, etc.
Finally, we will perform functionality assays, which will mainly be focused on immunotherapies, especially those related to immune checkpoint inhibitors 

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: Dynamic Biomimetics Group

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MATERIALS and NANOTECHNOLOGY

{slider title="Ultrafast growth for competitive high temperature superconductors (Teresa Puig)" open="false"}

Superconductivity is a macroscopic quantum phenomenon with outstanding properties and impact in many applications. Since high temperature superconducting (HTS) cuprate materials were discovered 30 years ago, they had to face unknown science and new materials engineering complexities [1]. HTS are strongly correlated systems, showing unconventional superconductivity and their microscopic theory is still unidentified. In addition, they need to be doped to be superconductors and exhibit novel vortex phases. Disorder is a strong enemy for the superconducting state of HTS, but if properly designed, it can be used as an outstanding source for vortex pinning, as we showed in [2,3]. Beyond the still unsolved questions about HTS, nowadays, the international community is able to fabricate HTS tapes for high current energy efficient applications (high power cables, wind generators, electrical aviation) and large scale infrastructures (fusion, circular colliders, NMR beyond 1 GHz), one of the remaining issues being the need to reduce the cost/performance ratio of the fabrication process. We have developed a novel high throughput process, called Transient Liquid Assisted Growth (TLAG) process [4], which is able to grow epitaxial superconducting films at even 1000 nm/s [5] with high performances, and therefore overcoming the market obstacles.

The PhD project is addressed towards the understanding of the TLAG growth mechanisms and tuning of material microstructure to boost the superconducting properties. Advanced growth facilities (including in-situ XRD synchrotron), last generation Transmission Electron Microscopes and high magnetic field installations at cryogenic temperatures will be available for this project.

  1. X Obradors & T Puig, Superconductor Science and Technology 27 044003 (2014)
  2. J Gutierrez et al, Nat Mat 6 367 (2007)
  3. A Llordes et al, Nature Materials, 11 329 (2012)
  4. L Soler et al, Nature Communications 11 344 (2020)
  5. S. Rasi et al, Advance Science (2022)
Job position description

The project aims to engage talent young students for a Materials Science doctorate in the field of High Temperature Superconductors (HTS), by investigating the novel high-throughput TLAG growth process. She/he will be integrated in a large interdisciplinary amd international group, with different background expertise in the field of HTS materials developing cutting-edge research in the synthesis, microstructural and physical understanding of high temperature superconductors. The goal is to unravel the growth mechanisms of TLAG and boost the superconducting properties at high magnetic fields by designing the material microstructure landscape. This research was initiated with an ERC-Advanced Grant which was followed by two ERC-Proof-of-Concepts.

The position requires:

  • Bachelor and master in material science, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, nanoscience or related fields.
  • Good knowledge in Condensed Matter Physics
  • A high level of English. All working meeting are held in English
  • High motivation to experimental research.
  • Working aptitudes in a collaborative group.

ICMAB Institute offers excellent conditions for PhD researchers, including:

  • a creative, world-class interdisciplinary research environment for fundamental and applied nanoscience state-of-the-art infrastructure for the preparation and characterization of nanostructured materials.
  • a highly regarded scientific education.
  • a strong international nanoscience network.
  • Experience and knowledge on superconductivity, superconducting materials and electron microscopy characterization techniques will be valuable
  • The PhD will be integrated in a very international group of PhD students and Postdocs with backgrounds in chemistry, materials science and physics of superconducting materials.

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: Superconducting Materials Group

{slider title="Virucidal materials by design: a modelling and simulation investigation (Jordi Faraudo)" open="false"}

The continuous increase in computational power has fueled the development of methodologies that allow the simulation of materials and biomolecules with atomistic resolution. We use them at ICMAB as a kind of “theoretical microscope” to understand all sorts of properties, looking at the organization and motion of atoms and molecules.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have employed these cutting-edge simulation methods to understand fundamental aspects of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission and disifection. We have investigated the reasons for the long periods of time that this particular virus can remain infectious when deposited over common surfaces such as plastics or over human skin and the possible virucidal use of certain materials (metals, carbon filters). We also focused on the mechanisms behind virus inactivation with surfactants and reactive species for disinfection applications. These simulations were carried out using atomistic models as well as coarse-grain models of the full virus and involved a fruitful collaboration with industrial partners working in disinfection.

The lessons learned from this experience with SARS-CoV-2 may be essential to be prepared for the next pandemic. Based on these results, we propose to take one step further identifying which factors are critical in the design on materials that inactivate viruses (virucidal materials), focusing in particular to materials inactivating enveloped viruses (which include coronaviruses, influenza...) We propose a combination of methodologies (from highly coarse grained models of a full virus to hybrid quantum/classical methods) to perform an extensive investigation of the fundamental driving forces and mechanisms behind the interactions of enveloped viruses and candidate virucidal materials. Mechanisms as diverse as interactions with ions (typical of virucidal action of clays or certain metals) to generation of reactive oxygen species (typical of certain new nanostructured materials) will be evaluated.

Job position description

An early-Stage Researcher (ESR) will be recruited during 36 months to work in modelling and simulation. Interaction with experimental groups will be also required.

The ESR will investigate from an atomistic point of view the fundamental factors involved in the virucidal action of different materials and extract relevant guidelines for the design and fabrication of novel virucidal materials. The ESR will be trained in Molecular Dynamics atomistic simulations based on different levels of atomistic theory (classical molecular force fields, reactive force fields and hybrid QM/MM) and also coarse-grain simulations.

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: Materials Theory Group / Youtube Channel of the Softmatter Theory Group

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CHEMISTRY

{slider title="Asymmetric sustainable molecular materials for enhancing electronic charge transport (David Amabilino)" open="false"}

The project will require the preparation of sustainable materials to enhance charge transport for optoelectronic devices. This effect will be achieved using asymmetric materials that are presently raising great interest because of their unique behavior, although there are no naturally-occurring systems that exhibit these properties. To this end, the synthesis of chiral, enantiomerically pure organic functional materials will be done. These new compounds will show highly conserved and potentially polarized transport of electricity. The specific aim here is to make highly efficient, stable and sustainable materials for optoelectronic devices.

This particular part of a wider project will involve making a variety of new chiral dyes with absorption spanning the visible spectrum. The preparative routes chosen will be based on full analysis of the sustainability of the synthetic methods and purification steps. The properties of the new dyes will be established using spectroscopic methods, their phase behaviour will be studied using a variety of spectroscopic, optical, diffraction and surface characterisation techniques, and their behaviour as materials in optoelectronic devices will be explored.

The Amabilino Research Team is historically an inclusive and diverse assembly of people, now in the Sustainable Molecular Systems (SusMoSys) group, that enthusiastically tackle challenges in molecular materials chemistry, especially focused on sustainable charge transport materials. Our approach is to design and synthesise new compounds having unique and useful properties. David Amabilino is an expert in molecular materials in general and especially chiral ones. His group working in the ICMAB are making chiral molecules that self-assemble. The interdisciplinary work that he carries out enjoys many fruitful collaborations with groups with complementary skills, and he has mentored twenty doctoral researchers as well as approximately the same number of postdoctoral researchers.

Job position description

This predoctoral position will involve the preparation of new sustainable organic materials for incorporation into optoelectronic devices, with the goal of enhancing sustainability, charge transport and stability. The heart of the work is the synthesis of new chiral organic dyes, their rigorous purification and characterization, and the study of their properties.

The doctoral candidate, preferably a chemist with some acquired knowledge of synthesis and photochemistry, will be trained in the synthetic chemistry of dye chemistry, especially state of the art aryl coupling reactions and the use of naturally occurring starting materials.  They will also be shown the many tools available for the purification and characterization of the compounds, and the ways in which these dyes can be incorporated into devices.  The transversal skill training they receive will be determined by their career development plan, including for presentations, innovation, outreach and project management. It is expected that the results will be presented in international meetings of high standing, giving experience and exposure to the candidate to help in their career progression.

The new materials will be made using the tenets of green chemistry, with sources of starting materials and reagents analyzed in detail, and the processing performed using the same guiding principles. This totally holistic approach to creating organic functional materials could also potentially give a boost to the already rapidly increasing efficiencies of these materials. The aim is to show that using enantiomerically pure materials that can form nanoscale chiral morphologies, the interface area between materials in devices will be optimized, and that this can be achieved sustainably, adapting concepts that are evident in Nature´s solutions to light harvesting.

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website:Sustainable Molecular Systems Group

{slider title="Controlling the nanoarchitecture of aqueous zinc battery electrodes (Dino Tonti)" open="false"}

The transition to a carbon-free energy system requires a huge energy storage capacity to match renewable production with the consumer demand. The current mature electrochemical storage technologies that are technically able to satisfy such operation, such as lithium-ion batteries and vanadium redox flow batteries, are based on too scarce elements to satisfy such capacity need.

Zinc batteries have emerged in the past decade as a suitable candidate for this challenge. They show high power, decent energy density and long cycling using nearly-neutral aqueous electrolytes, MnO2 as cathode and metallic zinc as anode. They present attractive material price and availability, as well as safe and environmentally benign components.

On the other hand, zinc/air batteries could allow 3-5 times the specific energy of current Li-ion batteries at a lower cost, making an ideal choice for electric vehicles. However, their durability is often limited, and the mechanisms that lead to their failure are generally poorly understood.

For both battery chemistries, complex deposition and dissolution mechanisms are involved in the main and in side reactions. The research line lead by Dr. Dino Tonti aims to contribute to the understanding of mechanisms and improve performance by combining new materials and advanced characterization.

Dr. Dino Tonti is a chemist at ICMAB. He has worked on surface science and optical techniques, synthesis of colloidal nanoparticles, carbons and battery materials. He is currently involved in metal-air batteries within several topics: development of novel electrode architectures, study of electrolyte additives, and characterization of electrochemical processes by analysis of discharge products and in situ monitoring. The present work will be supported by the collaboration with Dr. Laura Simonelli and Dr. Andrea Sorrentino, beamline scientists for x-ray absorption and microscopy at the ALBA Synchrotron, where part of the experiments will be designed and carried out.

Job position description

Dissolution and precipitation reactions that govern zinc batteries are often sensitive to the operating conditions, the electrode architecture, cell geometry and the electrolyte composition. The overall mechanism is extraordinarily complex and leads to a wide range of performances. A key factor to understand the reaction mechanism and to control rechargeability is the composition and morphology of the products deposited on both electrodes during the discharge and charge processes. This work will study the evolution of these precipitates, and relate them to several factors such as the electrode texture, the presence of solid or soluble catalysts or other additives in the electrolyte able to control the stability of reaction intermediates. This information will help to minimize formation of side products, and produce precipitate architectures that promote the most efficient removal.

The student will participate to the development of more efficient zinc battery electrodes using different compositions, textures, and electrolytes, focusing on the investigation of the electrode materials before, during and after operation, with emphasis on imaging and spectroscopic operando techniques. The evolution under different conditions will be also rationalized by multiscale continuum modelling, with the aim to design optimal electrode architectures.

In particular he/she will:

  • Process electrodes, assemble cells and test their electrochemistry
  • Design specific operando experiments to follow the formation of compounds during electrochemical cycling
  • Model electrochemical deposition and dissolution processes by finite element tools

Required degree: MSc or equivalent in Physics, Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Chemical engineering or Materials Science.

Valuable experience: electrochemical techniques, electrodeposition, electrochemical energy storage, electron microscopy, x-ray absorption, data analysis.

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
WebsiteNanointerfaces - SSC group

{slider title="Highly Luminescent Organic Radical Nanoparticles (ONPs) for Bioimaging Applications (Imma Ratera)" open="false"}

Nanomol has wide expertise and recognized excellence in the synthesis, processing and study of molecular materials with electronic, magnetic and biomedical properties. We are actively involved in implementing nanotechnology and sustainable and economically efficient technologies for preparing advanced functional molecular materials with interest in the fields of molecular electronics, molecular magnetis and nanomedicine.

The multidisciplinary research we carry out is aimed at the self‐assembly, nanostructuring and processing of functional molecules as crystals, particles, vesicles, and structured as self‐assembled monolayers on various substrates showing non‐conventional chemical, physical and biological properties. As one of the main Spanish research groups specialized in nanomedicine, we are members of the Biomedical Research Networking Centre in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER‐BBN) and NANBIOSIS. During the last years, the Nanomol group has hosted 50 Doctoral Thesis under the supervision of the permanent members of the group and more than 25 Postdocs, from more than 10 different foreigner countries.

The project is framework in a collaborative European project (Micro4Nano). Specifically, the work will consist on the design, preparation and characterization of molecular multifunctional materials based on organic radicals for the preparation of organic nanoparticles (ONPs) for 2‐Photon Absorption Microscopy (2PM) with good photostability to be used as nanothermometers for biological applications. The ability to process such organic molecules as ONPs is a good strategy in order to confer them the desiderate water stability, to work in biological environments, which is not attained in solution due to the high insolubility of organic molecules in water, thus, becoming promising materials with applications in the area of bioimaging and biomedicine (i.e. for nanothermometry applications).

Job position description

The offered job position will be framed in the interdisciplinary field of molecular nanostructured materials with optical properties for biological applications. The candidate will prepare ONPs doped with organic radicals looking for an enhancement of the Luminescence Quantum Yield, the luminescence lifetimes and emission in the biological window (Red/NIR region). The possibility to tune the emission as a function the radical concentration inside the ONP together with the doublet electronic configuration of radicals also open the way to new strategies in the fabrication of sensors (i.e. for nanothermometry) and OLED with high Internal Quantum Efficiency. Structural and optoelectronic characterization of the ONPs will be addressed by appropriate spectroscopic (absorption, emission, DLS), microscopic (SEM, TEM, confocal) and calorimetric techniques.  Specifically, the influence on the luminescent properties of new materials presenting open-shell electronic structures which have a SOMO (Semi‐Occupied Molecular Orbital) level will be studied.

NANOMOL is a research unit of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) which has been awarded with the prestigious Severo Ochoa Excellence label and belongs to CSIC, the largest research institution of Spain. Our premises are located at the UAB (Autonomous University of Barcelona) research park. 

Candidates must hold a degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry or Materials Science and a recognized Master degree (or equivalent), both with high qualifications. An interdisciplinary outlook is desired and will be encouraged. Experience in organic synthesis, electrochemistry, spectroscopic characterization, nanoscience and cell cultures will be highly valued. We are looking for a collaborative and proactive person, as well as a team player with the ability to work effectively on complex research projects in a multidisciplinary environment with good knowledge of English.

Contact:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Website:Nanomol-Bio group

{slider title="Metal-free Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Based on Organic Radical Dendrimers and Nanoparticles (José Vidal)" open="false"}

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the best non-invasive clinical diagnostic methods used in medicine that provides images of soft tissue anatomy in excellent detail, in particular with the use of contrast agents (CAs). Gadolinium (Gd)-based contrast agents (GBCA) are the most widely used in MRI. These CAs have historically been considered as safe, but recent reports have emerged regarding the accumulation of residual toxic Gd(III) ions in the brain, bones, skin, liver and kidneys. Since the use of CAs in MRI is of vital importance to gain lifesaving clinical information, it is critical to find alternative imaging probes than the current Gd-based CAs.
Our goal is the development of metal-free contrast agents based on organic radicals since they are also paramagnetic species like GBCA but less toxic than them. Our strategy consists in the incorporation of many organic radical units to a dendrimer scaffold or nanoparticles (NPs), to increase the contrast capability. Dendrimers are globular macromolecules and nearly perfect monodisperse nanosystems with tunable size and precise number of peripheral groups. Thus, they are chemical versatile scaffolds, which can hold many radical units. On the other hand, we also plan to prepare organic nanoparticles based on radical dendrimers or spin labelled gold NPs for the same purpose.

NANOMOL is a research unit with wide expertise and recognized excellence in the synthesis, processing and study of molecular and polymeric materials with chemical, electronic, magnetic and biomedical properties. We continuously generate new knowledge in our basic and applied research projects regarding the micro and nano structuring of molecular materials. We are actively involved in implementing
nanotechnology, sustainable and economically efficient technologies for preparing advanced functional molecular materials. 

Job position description

The researcher will join the pioneer, dynamic and active Department of Molecular Nanoscience and Organic Materials (NANOMOL) at the Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) located at the UAB university campus.

The candidate will be enrolled in the design, preparation and characterization of new radical dendrimers and NPs, with tuned structural characteristics at the nanoscale and different capabilities as CAs. The candidate will use different preparative methodologies (organic synthesis, molecular self-assembling) and advanced characterization techniques (EPR, MALDI-TOF, HPLC-SEC, UV-Vis, DLS, cryo-TEM, ITC, etc.) available at ICMAB, the UAB campus such as Se-RMN service or the ICTS – NANBIOSIS unit from Biomedical Research Networking Centre in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN).

In the framework of the interdisciplinary collaborative network, CIBER-BBN, which Dr. José Vidal is also a researcher, the candidate will assess the toxicity and behavior against bioreduction in biological fluids of the final compounds and their properties as MRI CAs under different conditions (in vitro, ex-vivo and in vivo). The candidate will participate in the evaluation of T1-weighted images in phantom experiments to calculate the relaxivity of the investigated radical nanostructures. A post mortem ex vivo MRI analysis of the different radical dendrimers will be undertaken following an ex vivo method
developed to select contrast agents with good potential for in vivo efficiency. MRI studies in vivo will be also performed with the best in vitro performing radical nanostructures and compared with currently used Gd-based CA, in healthy and tumourbearing mice.

Candidates must hold a degree in Chemistry, Materials Science or similar and a recognized Master degree (or equivalent), both with high qualifications and with a good level of written and spoken English. An interdisciplinary outlook is desired and will be encouraged.

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website:Nanomol-Bio group

{slider title="TTA-UC for MOST (Kasper Moth-Poulsenl)" open="false"}

The Sustainable Molecular Systems group led by Prof. Kasper Moth-Poulsen is conducting research in several fields including Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage (MOST) and Conversion, Photon Fusion, Selective Nanoscale Functionalization and Nanoparticle Systems. The group consists of approximately 10 PhD students and post docs as well as a number of bachelor, master and visiting students.

The offered PhD position is strongly connected to the MOST and Photon Fusion research projects which are studied within the group:

  • The research in the MOST field focuses on the rising demand of efficient renewable energy systems. As it follows, the methods that include solar energy storage and on demand solar driven power generation are extremely relevant since the sun is a widely available energy source. Molecular photoswitching systems, which are the main research subject of this project, can capture solar energy and release it on demand in an emission free closed energy cycle. The objective of this research is to improve and extend the concept of molecular solar thermal energy storage towards future applications by creating novel systems and conducting their thorough characterization.
  • The research in the Photon Fusion field focuses on the improvement of the photovoltaic device performance as well as the application of upconversion to power molecular solar thermal energy storage devices via lower energy light (i.e. NIR or IR). The upconversion phenomenon allows to create higher energy photons by annihilating lower energy ones in bicomponent organic systems which are considered as the main research subject of this project. The group synthesizes and investigates novel emitter and sensitizer materials, performs their characterization, and makes functional devices. The possibility to upconvert the light and apply these systems in some exquisite applications mentioned above is a promising technology of the future.
Job position description

The PhD researcher is required to demonstrate the proficiency in experimental techniques for characterization of the novel molecules and have a profound background in the field of organic optoelectronics and semiconductor physics.

The PhD researcher is expected to perform these tasks:

  • Modelling of novel molecules using density functional theory. Optimization of molecule geometries and calculation of excited energy states including reorganization energy.
  • Preparation of photon upconversion solution and solid-state samples using novel triplet-triplet annihilation emitters in cleanroom facilities.
  • Photophysical characterization (absorption & emission spectra, fluorescence quantum yield and fluorescence transients) of samples and systematic evaluation of photon upconversion parameters.
  • Preparation of solid-state samples using blade-coating, spin-coating, drop-casting, crystal growth techniques and micelles approach. Encapsulation of samples to avoid the influence of humidity & oxygen species. Measurements of sample stability.
  • Morphology evaluation using optical and atomic force microscopes. Identification of photon upconversion phenomena and its characterization on the micron-scale.
  • Analysis of acquired data, rationalizing the phenomena and its impact for further research.
  • Writing and editing of scientific publications as well as review papers, participation in scientific conferences.

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: Sustainable Molecular Systems Group

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{tab How to apply}

How to apply

  • Access to the applications platform of ”la Caixa” Foundation fellowships programme.

  • Register to be notified when the next call for applications is open

For any questions or queries please send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you have any further questions please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at ICMAB.

{tab Economic Allowance}

Economic Allowance

The fellowship amount covers the fellow's costs according to the following breakdown:

  • Labour costs: €35,800 per year which the host institution will spend on the hiring of the fellow in accordance with the labour legislation in force in Spain or Portugal.

  • Research costs: €3,500 per year for expenses directly related to the development of the project, including conference registrations, courses, stays, consumables, equipment, intellectual property costs, etc.

  • The tuition fees to the official doctoral programme where the fellow will be admitted to.

  • Bonus of €7,500 if the fellows deposit the thesis within 6 months after the third year of their fellowship has ended.

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Selection procedure

The selection process consists of three consecutive phases:

PHASE 1 - ELEGIBILITY:

All applications are reviewed to check the accomplishment of the eligibility criteria published in the rules for participation.

PHASE 2 – PRE-SELECTION:

Each eligible application is assessed remotely for at lest two evaluators with relevant experience in the same discipline. The criteria governing the evaluation in this phase are as follows:

  1. Academic record and curriculum vitae (weight 50 %): the candidate's qualifications will be evaluated as well as the academic and/or professional curriculum in relation to the career stage and the opportunities they may have had.

  2. Motivation and statement of purpose (weight 30 %): the excellence of the ideas introduced in the statement of purpose will be assessed, considering their originality, innovative approach and their potential impact as well as the suitability of the host institution chosen and the studies or research to pursue.

  3. Reference letters (weight 20 %): the reference letters received will be assessed, considering both the specificity of their content regarding the candidates as well as the profile of the referees.

PHASE 3 – PERSONAL INTERVIEWS:

Preselected candidates are invited to a personal interview before a multidisciplinary committee, which evaluates them according to the criteria listed below:

  1. Candidate's potential (weight 40 %): the candidate's potential will be assessed considering their soft skills, such as clarity, consistent discourse and articulation of ideas, ability to express complex and independent reasoning, originality, entrepreneurship, leadership and teamwork.

  2. Motivation and statement of purpose (weight 30 %): the excellence of the ideas introduced in the statement of purpose will be assessed, considering their originality, innovative approach and their potential impact as well as the suitability of the host institution chosen and the studies or research to pursue.

  3. Academic and professional background (weight 30 %): academic and professional background of the candidate in relation to the career stage and the opportunities they may have had.

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Requirements

Incoming:

  • Research experience: Candidates must be in the first four years of their research career and must not have previously obtained a PhD degree or be in a position to apply for one.

  • Academic records: Applicants must hold a higher education degree that makes them eligible to enrol in a doctoral programme in Spain/Portugal when starting at their host institutions. The verification of the level of studies equivalent to those mentioned above will be carried out by the host university during the admission procedure.

  • Mobility: Candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain/Portugal for more than twelve months in the three years immediately prior to the deadline for applications.

  • Level of English: Candidates must accredit an advanced level of English (B2 or higher)

Retaining:

  • Research experience: Candidates must be in the first four years of their research career and must not have previously obtained a PhD degree or be in a position to apply for one.

  • Academic records: Applicants must hold a higher education degree that makes them eligible to enrol in a doctoral programme in Spain/Portugal when starting at their host institutions. The verification of the level of studies equivalent to those mentioned above will be carried out by the host university during the admission procedure.

  • Mobility: Candidates must have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain/Portugal for more than twelve months in the three years immediately prior to the deadline for applications. In addition, candidates who are finally awarded a fellowship must carry out the PhD at a university that is different from where they took up their bachelor's studies.

  • Level of English: Candidates must accredit an advanced level of English (B2 or higher)

If you have any further questions, or if there are particular issues you’d like to discuss regarding your potential PhD project, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For details of the grant, applications and selection criteria process, and other general questions, please visit the INPhINIT programme website.

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Useful dates

No projects or additional documentation can be presented outside the deadlines established in the rules of the call for applications.

Incoming:

25 January 2023, at 2 pm Peninsular Spain
Deadline for submitting applications.

18 April 2023
Notification of the shortlist results and arrangement of interviews.

23, 24 and 25 May 2023
Face-to-face interviews.

8 June 2023
Communication of the final results.

From 8 to 30 June 2023
Matching host institution-fellow.

Retaining:

16 February 2023, at 2 pm Peninsular Spain
Deadline for submitting applications.

19 May 2023
Communication of the shortlist results and arrangement of interviews.

14, 15 and 16 June 2023
Face-to-face interviews.

29 June 2023
Communication of the final results.

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More details

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About ICMAB

The Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) is an internationally renowned research center in Advanced Functional Materials and Nanomaterials that belongs to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The Institute has been recently awarded with the Severo Ochoa label of excellence by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competiveness. Our mission is to generate new knowledge in Materials Science through excellent scientific research useful for the society and for the European industry, economy and employment, consolidating our recognition as international reference center on Smart functional materials through five mission-oriented Research Lines associated to three societal grand challenges (Clean Energy, Smart and Sustainable Electronics and Smart Nanomedicine).The Institute is located in a favorable research environment, concentrating one of the largest capabilities in Spain and Southern Europe (UAB Campus near Barcelona). Recently, our facilities have been significally expanded to accommodate 500 m2 of laboratories and offices. 

ICMAB competitiveness can be inferred from the high percentage of our yearly budget raised from competitive funds. A sizable fraction of these funds are secured from our participation in EU projects. Our publications receive at present ~11.200 citations/yr, with ~220 articles published per year. Our leadership position in Catalonia, Spain and Europe is also recognized by the number of active ERC grantees (18), a figure which only a few excellent research centers exhibit in Spain. Our researchers are internationally competitive in several materials science domains, including energy storage & conversion, superconducting materials, multifunctional oxide thin films, theory & simulation, solid state chemistry or multifunctional molecular and supramolecular materials. The training of the future generations of researchers represents also an essential part of the overall mission of ICMAB, with ~25 PhD theses defended per year. We provide trainees with both a solid fundamental background in materials science and a practical mindset to facilitate their adaptation to academic and industrial environments. If you are looking for an opportunity to develop your research career and skills in a multicultural and friendly environment, ICMAB is the place for you.

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