Optically controlled ferroelectric memristors OPTOFEM2020

The School OPTICALLY CONTROLLED FERROELECTRIC MEMRISTORS will take place on June 18-19, 2020, at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC).

The school aims at introducing the scientific knowledge, in a tutorial style, required to contribute to this emerging field. Most reputed scientist active in the field will deliver lectures in a strongly interacting atmosphere.

The school is targeting an audience of PhD fellows and researchers initiating their activity on photoresponse in oxides, with interest on polar materials (ferroelectric), with applications spanning from photovoltaics to resistive switching.

For additional information and registration, please refer to the conference webpage https://congresses.icmab.es/optofem2020/ and contact us by email at optofem2020@icmab.es

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 awarded jointly to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries. J.B. Goodenough closely followed the research activity and collaborate with MULFOX members on Oxide Science and Technology. Congratulations to you all.

The Nobel prize in Chemistry, awarded this year 2019 to J.B. Goodenough, has been longly waited by a large community of material’s scientist. This is a recognition to the “Oxide Science and Technology” and its impact on society. The brilliant mind of J. B.Goodenough allowed to rationalize the electric and magnetic properties of metal oxides, discovering the clues that govern these properties and providing the tools to understand and transform them into functional materials. It is an amazing coincidence, that on the 150 anniversary of the periodic table, the Nobel award in Chemistry has recognized the enormous knowledge of J. B. Goodenough and ability to combine chemical elements, in their most common oxide form, to create magnets and batteries that have changed our life. His books on “Les oxides des métaux de transition” and “Magnetism and Chemical bond” and his crucial intuition and perseverance on the role of oxides to store electric charge in batteries, constitute pillars of our culture that are going to last forever.

J.B. Goodenough hosted me as a young postdoc at Oxford University, when he was the head of Inorganic Laboratory. There, I enjoyed his exhilarating humanity, his respect for the young students and his deep knowledge and enthusiasm. The giant was convinced that there this a lot of randomness and fortune in decisions and life, but one need to be there. He tried to teach me, how to wear a tie (without much success), and he contaminated me with his passion the intricate “lego” world of oxides.

Latter, J. B. Goodenough became member of the International Advisory of the Material’s science Institutes of CSIC.

The warmest congratulations and beyond the Oslo party, keep the strength to blow the next coming 98 candles.

Hi, my name is Clemens Lindermeir from Wolfenbüttel, Germany. I joined the ICMAB to do an internship for a year. In Germany I study chemical engineering at the Clausthal University of Technology. Apart from that I enjoy being outdoors, riding motorcycle and playing my guitar. I am also a big fan of travelling. During my stay I`d like to learn Spanish (and maybe Catalan) fluently and I will keep looking for new experiences and friends to spend time with.

Oferta treballs de Final de Grau per a estudiants Física, Física+ Matemàtiques, Física + Química de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Curs 2018-2019

“Artificial sensory neuron networks excited by optical stimuli”

G. Herranz

Breu descripció dels objectius (Brief description of the objectives):

We study the photoconductive properties of some quantum wells (QWs), whereby the system changes its conductance in a plastic way, retaining memory from its past history, using light as stimulus. We are investigating this phenomenon to replicate in a solid-state system the synaptic plasticity observed in biological neuronal systems.

Breu descripció de la metodologia (Brief description of the methodology):

The candidate will have access to our optical laboratory, which includes high-resolution microscopy using wavelengths in the visible, with accurate control of irradiance and optical stimuli controlled to timescales down the microsecond. The laboratory has deep expertise in magnetotransport and optical characterization of quantum wells. The candidate will benefit also from training in the use of Python-based algorithms to model neural networks.


“Nanophotonics: metamaterials and topological structures”

G. Herranz

Breu descripció dels objectius (Brief description of the objectives):

Robust propagation of spatially confined electromagnetic waves is indispensable for the development of on-chip optical communications in photonic circuitry. With this in mind, we investigate approaches based on special topologies in the wavevector space that can enable propagation of helical edge propagation of modes that flow unimpeded by imperfections or back-reflections.

Breu descripció de la metodologia (Brief description of the methodology):

The candidate will have access to our optical laboratory, which includes high-resolution microscopy and angle-resolved spectroscopy in the near-IR-VIS range. In particular, he/she will be acquainted with angle-resolved reflectance/transmission spectroscopy, which can resolve w-k reciprocal space maps from near-IR to violet, with scanning beam sizes down to few microns. This methodology enables the direct visualization photonic/plasmonic states, including edge states. The candidate may also benefit also from training in the use finite-difference time-domain calculations to explore topologically nontrivial photonic crystal lattices.


“Neuromorphic computing with ferroelectric materials”

I. Fina.

Neurons in the brain process and store information in a way that radically differs from conventional computers. Although algorithms are being developed to emulate brain functioning, this is only (marginaly) achieved at expense of unacceptable energy consumption. Ferroelectric tunnel devices appear as a potential candidate to replicate neuromorphic functions. The candidate will join a team working on this direction.

To get the responsibility of this cutting edge project, we are looking for candidates finishing a degree on physics, materials science, electrical or related areas, and having excellent academic records. We search for a candidate with strong scientific curiosity and highly motivated to join a very stimulating project of potentially large social impact. Skills in communication, including fluent English, are required.


“Study of ferroelectric materials for applications in photovoltaics”

I. Fina

The proposed TFG will carefully analyze the photoelectric response of ferroelectric junction under different conditions using state-of-the-art characterization devices. The student will get wide experience on dielectric and photoelectric characterization, not only required for technological perspectives like the one proposed for his/her TFG, also required for emerging technological areas such as solar cells.

The candidate is expected to be enthusiastic on experimental physics. He/she will have access to our advanced electrical characterization laboratory, which includes optical excitation tools. The candidate will follow an intensive training, so as to ensure a solid understanding of the techniques that enable to understand the interplay between light ant ferroelectricity.


“Characterization of antiferromagnetic/ferromagnetic materials for memory applications”

I. Fina

The TFG involves the characterization of antiferromagnetic materials using microscopic proximity techniques. Antiferromagnetic materials can show the ability to store magnetic information at the same time that they can make it invisible. These effects will be those that the TFG will investigate in micro-/nano-patterned device structures.

Enthusiasm about applied and experimental physics, and interest to develop skills on characterization, reporting, communication, etc.


“New epitaxial ferroelectric materials in thin film form”    

I. Fina

Ferroelectric materials are already used for a wide range of applications. However, industry defines new challenges for ferroelectric materials that well-known existing ferroelectric materials are not capable to solve. Thus, new ferroelectric materials are needed to be investigated. We propose to characterize novel ferroelectric materials in epitaxial form.

Enthusiasm about applied and experimental physics, and interest to develop skills on characterization, reporting, communication, etc.



New projected granted to Ignasi Fina

“NANOingeniería de ÓXIdos para el mayor aprovechamiento de la energía SOLar usando rutas no convencionales (NANOXISOL)” (Oxides nanoengineering for improvement of photovoltaic efficiency using non-conventional routes) proposed by Ignasi Fina has been awarded by Comfuturo program in its second edition.


MIT-Spain “La Caixa” grant for MULFOX

MULFOX group has been awarded with a MIT-Spain “La Caixa” Foundation Seed Fund. In a press release that took place on 18th April at Palau Macaya (Barcelona), the PI of the project (Ignasi Fina) was interviewed by local radio, and he commented on the new investigations on the use of semiconducting ferroelectrics for photoelectric applications that the funded project proposes. We hope fruitful collaboration with MIT. 

Read the news  appeared in the media:


We announce the forthcoming COST TO-BE Spring Meeting 2018 to be organized by the Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona and held in the Eden Roc Hotel at Sant Feliu de Guíxols, north of Barcelona, 12th–14th March 2018

The meeting is going to be the last in a series of meetings organized by the COST Action TO-BE (for Towards Oxide-Based Electronics). It aims to network researchers working in the field of the science and technology of transition-metal oxides and, to help them sharing their expertise, defining future strategies, and pursuing jointly funding opportunities.


Participation at the meeting is open to scientists, both from the public research sector and from the private sector. It is NOT restricted to the members of the Action. Non-EU participants are also very welcome to attend. One of the actions undertaken by TO-BE is to promote building a Roadmap “Towards Oxide Electronics” that we expect releasing early 2018. The forthcoming TO-BE Spring Meeting would be the opportunity for contributors to present their views on different aspects of oxide electronics.


The meeting will feature invited presentations delivered by contributors to the Roadmap, as well as flash and poster contributions.

Submission of abstracts will be open on 1st December 2017. Please submit your work by 1st January 2018.


For further information, please visit the website:




Thanks to the support of the COST TO-BE Action, participation is free of charge. However, registration is necessary. See:




We sincerely hope that you will be able to attend the COST TO-BE Spring Meeting 2018 and we look forward to seeing you in March 2018


Finally, just after the COST TO-BE Spring Meeting 2018, the COST organized school on “Oxide-based Electronic Technologies” (15th-17th March) will be held at the same place (Hotel Eden Roc, Sant Feliu de Guíxols). Information will be posted soon.

Sincerely yours,


Mariona Coll and Josep Fontcuberta


Oxides flight high. Oxide-based non-volatile memories, fabricated and integrated by our colleague Pablo Levy and his team in CNEA (Buenos Aires), were successfully launched to space on 2th.02.2018 and are now orbiting the Earth. Congratulations!

Oxides flight high. Oxide-based non-volatile memories, fabricated and integrated by our colleague Pablo Levy and his team in CNEA (Buenos Aires), were successfully launched to space on 2th-02-2018 and are now orbiting the Earth. Congratulations ! 






Agustin Lopez, PhD student from Buenos Aires, is going to stay in our group for one month

Hi! I’m Agustin, and I’m a PhD student from Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is my first time in Barcelona. I’m going to be here for one month and I will learn how to characterize ferroelectric thin films with the group of Josep Fontcuberta. In my free time I like playing videogames, reading a lot of books and spending time with my girlfriend and my friends.

February, 2018.

Early-Stage Research Fellow, PhD Position (DEADLINE February 1st 2018)



INPhINIT, ”la Caixa” Doctoral Fellowship Programme is  devoted to attract international Early-Stage Researchers to top Spanish research centres, offering an attractive and competitive environment for excellent research.


INPhINIT offers a 3-year employment contract, including trasnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility opportunities, and attend a full range of complementary training courses and workshops.


Within this Program, we are looking for excellent candidates to join the Multifunctional Thin Films and Complex Oxides lab to work on these research projects:



               1.- Photo-writing in ferroelectric green memory devices
               2.- Pure spin currents: a toggle for energy-efficient control of magnetic memories
               3.- Breaking symmetry and conventional wisdoms for efficient photovoltaics
               4.- Low-Loss Multifunctional Plasmonic Metamaterials
               5.- Dynamical modulation of electron spins with microwaves
               6.- Bioinspired Magnetic Nanodevices
               7.- Ferroelectric nano-oscillators for pattern recognition and social networks


Open call for the INPhINIT “La Caixa” Doctoral Fellowship Programme – Opportunities at ICMAB-CSIC





Manuel Bibes, former PhD student in our team has been awarded with the Descartes-Huygens Prize 2017

Manuel Bibes has beeb awarded with the Descartes-Huygens Prize 2017 as announced by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Embassy of France in the Netherlands and the Académie des Sciences, for their outstanding research  research in nanoscience and their contribution to Franco-Dutch relations.  Congratulations Manu!






Halyna Volkova from Université Paris-Saclay just starting a 2 months stage in our group


PhD student Halyna Volkova is doing her PhD thesis in Université Paris-Saclay under the supervision of B. Dkhil and I.C. Infante. She will stay in our group working on growth and photovoltaic characterization of ferroelectric materials during 2 months (2018, January – March).

We hope you the best. 





Saúl Estandía

PhD on the preparation (by PLD) of samples made of the ferroelectric oxide BaTiO3 and further characterization (by STEM microscopy) to understand the polarization domains’ dynamics, all that under the supervision of Florencio Sanchez and Jaume Gazquez. As background I hold both a degree in physics and a master in photonics (2016 – 2019)

TODAY 27 Nov. 12 pm: ICMAB Periodical Lectures “Electric-field control of magnetism in multiferroic heterostructures” By Sebastiaan van Dijken, NanoSpin, Dep. of Applied Physics, Aalto University School of Science, Finland. Sala d’Actes Carles Miravitlles

Spintronic devices currently rely on magnetic switching or controlled motion of magnetic domain walls by an external magnetic field or electric current. Achieving the same degree of magnetic controllability using an electric field has potential advantages including low power consumption. Here, an approach to electrically control local magnetic properties will be discussed [1-5]. The method is based on recurrent strain transfer from regular ferroelastic stripe domains in a ferroelectric BaTiO3 substrate to magnetostrictive films (e.g. CoFe, CoFeB, and Fe). Dominance of the strain-induced magnetoelastic anisotropy in these heterostructures causes full imprinting of ferroelectric domain patterns into ferromagnetic films and strong pinning of magnetic domain walls onto ferroelectric boundaries [6,7]. Optical polarization microscopy measurements of the ferromagnetic and ferroelectric domain structures indicate that domain correlations and strong inter-ferroic domain wall pinning are maintained in an applied electric field. As a result, deterministic electric-field control over the formation and erasure of ferromagnetic domains [1-3] and reversible motion of magnetic domain walls [4,5] are obtained. In addition, regular modulations of magnetic anisotropy in strain-coupled multiferroic heterostructures provide a versatile platform for the excitation and manipulation of spin waves [8,9]. These findings open up new routes towards electric-field driven spintronics and magnonics.

Ariadna Soro, student of a double degree in Physics and Mathematics at UAB. She is working on her final degree project at ICMAB.

My name is Ariadna Soro and I’m currently studying a double degree in Physics and Mathematics at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). Here at ICMAB, I’ll be working on my final degree project (20.11.2017 – 30.06.2018) with the help of the Multifunctional Oxides and Complex Structures research group. Besides from studying, I also enjoy dancing, skiing and playing the guitar.

I’m really looking forward to this opportunity and I’m hoping to learn a lot from everyone here!

Mikko Kataja, from Aalto University, joints our team under supervision of Dr. Gervasi Herranz



Hello everyone! I’m Mikko Kataja and I come from Finland, where I did my PhD in Aalto University on magneto-optically active plasmonic nanoparticles. I am now in ICMAB in Multifunctional Oxides and Complex Structures research group to explore the possibilities that active oxide materials, such as ferromagnetic and ferroelectric oxides, offer in the field of optics, especially for active nanoscale optical devices. In my freetime, I enjoy cooking and board games.

Pep Fontcuberta delivers an Invited lecture at “Magnetic Coupling in Naostructured Materials” to held at CNR premises in Rome next 23-24 October.

Pep Fontcuberta delivers an Invited lecture at “Magnetic Coupling in Naostructured Materials” entitled “Spin diffusion and proximity effects in metal/ferromagnetic-insulator bilayer”.

Here you can find the link to the conference website: https://sites.google.com/view/macmat2017/home

Research projects offered as TFG in Physics (Degree in Physics at UAB) 2017

1.- Photoresponse of non-centrosymmetric materials

Supervisors: Josep Fontcuberta & Ignasi Fina


Brief description of the objectives

Non-centrosymmetric materials have unique properties that could be of the highest interest for efficient photovoltaic energy conversion. The aim of the proposed TFG is that the student get used with the concepts involved in the photoresponse of non-centro-symmetric materials and the methods to study and understand it.


Brief description of the methodology

The project will include the electric characterization of ferroelectric and other polar materials (mainly thin films only few tens of nanometer thick) and their photoresponse. The samples will be illuminated with light of various wavelengths and polarization and the photoresponse will be determined. The candidate will participate to the weekly meetings of our research group, learning how to present and discus experimental results.


2.- Using light to study new materials for electronics

Supervisors: Gervasi Herranz


Brief description of the objectives

In our lab we are investigating new materials for applications in information technologies. One of our research lines aims at modulating the information stored in magnetic moments by the application of electric field pulses that, in turn, generate strain waves that stretch/squeeze locally the ferromagnet and change its magnetic state. We study these phenomena optically: the student will be trained in optical imaging and spectroscopy.


Brief description of the methodology

The candidate will have access to our advanced optical laboratory, which includes optical spectroscopy and high-resolution imaging tools. The candidate will follow an intensive training, so as to ensure a solid understanding of the techniques. The student will be acquainted with state-of-the art techniques that allow real-space mapping of optical responses with diffraction limitation That allows the visualization of features below the micron down to just a few of hundreds of nanometers, enabling direct imaging of small devices and high sensitivity to magnetic fields. The optical lab at ICMAB is suited to visualize plasmon propagation in real space as well as in reciprocal space, i.e., plasmonic and photonic band dispersions can be obtained from throughout near-IR to near-UV frequencies.




ICMAB PhD Programme Severo Ochoa fellowships. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION 3rd OCTOBER 2017


ICMAB PhD Programme Severo Ochoa fellowships

Within the program,  PhD fellowships are offered by the ICMAB-CSIC for the academic year 2017-2018


A) Energy-efficient control of magnetic memories by spin currents.

Ferran Macià 


B) Plasmonics in Multifunctional Nanophotonic Circuits.

Gervasi Herranz