Martí Gich and Adrián Carretero on a JoVE scientific video explaining how to prepare mesoporous epitaxial quartz films on silicon substrates

Martí Gich and Adrián Carretero-Genevrier publised a scientific video on the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), a peer-reviewed scientific video journal, on December 21, 2015. Dip coating

The video, entitledPreparation of macroporous epitaxial quartz films on silicon by chemical solution deposition(A Carretero-Genevrier, M Gich, JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), e53543-e53543, 12/21/2015, Issue 106; DOI: 10.3791/53543) presents the protocol for the preparation of piezoelectric macroporous epitaxial films of quartz on silicon by soft chemistry using dip-coating and thermal treatments in air. 

Martí Gich


This work describes the detailed protocol for preparing piezoelectric macroporous epitaxial quartz films on silicon(100) substrates. This is a three-step process based on the preparation of a sol in a one-pot synthesis which is followed by the deposition of a gel film on Si(100) substrates by evaporation induced self-assembly using the dip-coating technique and ends with a thermal treatment of the material to induce the gel crystallization and the growth of the quartz film. The formation of a silica gel is based on the reaction of a tetraethyl orthosilicate and water, catalyzed by HCl, in ethanol.

However, the solution contains two additional components that are essential for preparing mesoporous epitaxial quartz films from these silica gels dip-coated on Si. Alkaline earth ions, like Sr2+ act as glass melting agents that facilitate the crystallization of silica and in combination with cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) amphiphilic template form a phase separation responsible of the macroporosity of the films. The good matching between the quartz and silicon cell parameters is also essential in the stabilization of quartz over other SiO2 polymorphs and is at the origin of the epitaxial growth.

Andrés Carretero

Follow-up meeting of the Engineering Bacterial Cellulose Nanocomposites (E-BCN) Project

Follow-up meeting after seven months of starting the E-BCN project (Engineering Bacterial Cellulose Nanocomposites).

Two PhD students, Soledad Roig and Irene Anton, will be added to the project team. Soledad will work in structuring and patterning bacterial cellulose, and Irene in applying bacterial cellulose nanocomposites for skin regenaration. 

Participants of the project include: Anna Roig, Dino Tonti, Jordi Faraudo, Anna Laromaine, Martí Gich, Anna May, Soledad Roig and Irene Anton.

Jordi Llorca, one of our collaborators from INTE-UPC, in the Catalan newspaper, talks about photocatalysis

Ciè from ara.catJordi Llorca, from Institut de Tècniques Energètiques (INTE-UPC) explains in this video from the newspaper ara, one of the projects in which we collaborate: photocatalysis for hydrogen production from sunlight, a photocatalyst formed by TiO2/Au nanoparticles, and water: 

The video is part of the article, in Catalan: Com produïm electricitat amb el sol i l’hidrogen? 

In the video he says: “We obtain hydrogen -which is not in its free state in the Earth- to act as a source of energy, and to obtain it, we use use sunlight -completely clean-, a photocatalyst containing nanoparticles, and water.”

This article is part of a special issue called Ciè about research and science in Catalunya, appeared this last Sunday with the newspaper ara.

You can find the special issue here: Ciè

Martí Gich at the COMMON SENSE 36 Month meeting in Sardinia


Martí Gich is at the COMMON SENSE 36 Month meeting, which will take place in Oristano, Sardinia, on September 29-30. The COMMON SENSE project aims at developing low cost sensors that will revolutionise current marine monitoring strategies.

Please enjoy this short video featuring field testing of COMMON SENSE sensors, which have been testes in various cruises throughout the past year:

Website of the project:

Anna Laromaine participates in a Thesis Defense Committee at ICN2

Thesis CommitteeSofía Rubio, Ph.D. student of the Inorganic Nanoparticles Group at ICN2, presented the thesis “Increasing the resolution at the nanobiointerface with engineering inorganic nanoparticles”, which was supervised by the Group Leader, Víctor F. Puntes. The presentation took place on September 23, at 11.30 am at the ICN2 Seminar Room. 

Anna Laromaine was part of the Thesis Defense Committee.

Martí Gich and Laura Asturias attended the 30-Month Meeting of the FP7 COMMON SENSE project at DCU, IRELAND

commonsense groupMartí Gich and Laura Asturias attended the 30-Month Meeting of the FP7 COMMON SENSE project at Dublin City University, in Ireland, on April 6th – 7th, 2016. 

The COMMON SENSE project‘s title is “Cost-effective sensors, interoperable with international existing ocean observing systems, to meet EU policies requirements“, and the main topic of this meeting was Work Package 7: Sensors for in-situ monitoring of heavy metals. The COMMON SENSE project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (Ocean 2013-2) under the grant agreement no 614155.

logo-commonsenseLaura Asturias PresentationLaura Asturias giving the presentation in the meeting.

Open Ph.D. positions within the N&N Group

Thinking about starting a Ph.D? The N&N Group offers the following Ph.D. opportunities for this year 2016 (click here for a detailed description of each topic):

  1. Engineering Bacterial Cellulose Nanocomposites
  2. Investigation of new phenomena in novel multiferroics
  3. Functionalized bacterial cellulose for skin tissue regeneration


  • Candidates should be ready to enter an official doctoral programme in September 2016 (under Spanish Law). By this time, they must have obtained a university degree and a master degree; or must hold an official university qualification from a country of the European Higher Education Area with a minimum of 300 ECTS of official university studies, of which at least 60 are at masters’ level.
  • Candidates must have a strong commitment to scientific research and an excellent academic record (desirable above 8 in a scale of 10).
  • Candidates must have good working knowledge of English.
  • MINECO fellowship candidates may not have held a PhD contract exceeding 12 months by June 2016.

How to APPLY:

DEADLINE: Extended to 14th April  2016

Documentation required:

  • Personal data and CV.
  • Covering letter, including motivation for applying.
  • A copy of your Certified Academic Record, showing grades obtained (degree and masters). If these are not in Catalan, Spanish or English, applicants should attach an official translation in one of these languages.
  • Two letters of recommendation from lecturers or researchers with whom you have studied or worked and who can judge your potential as a PhD student. Only letters with official letterhead and signature will be accepted. Please be sure to inform your referees that their letters must be uploaded in the online application tool before deadline to provide the following information in the application form.

The ICMAB offers other Ph.D positions. More information following this link. 

If you have further questions, or if there are particular issues regarding your application, please contact: Anna Roig (, Martí Gich (, or Anna Laromaine (


Kick-off meeting of the E-BCN project

Yesterday, March 1st, was the day for the Kick-off Meeting of the project E-BCN: Engineering Bacterial Cellulose Nanocomposites (MAT2015-64442-R). The project will have a duration of three years and the team that will be working on it is formed by Anna Roig (PI), Martí Gich, Anna Laromaine, Jordi Faraudo (Materials Simulation and Theory Dept.), Dino Tonti (Solid State Chemistry Dept.), Laura Asturias and Anna May.
The main objective of the project is to develop new nanocomposites of bacterial cellulose (BC) by innovative cost-effective approaches. We will engineer BC at the biosynthesis stage, form nanocomposites with BC and nanoparticles, model relevant aspects of BC structure and its interaction with nanoparticles, and provide the proof of concept for novel devices and products.
If you want to know more about the project, keep following our activities in our website. You can also check our publications and/or contact us for any further question.

Good news! The N&N Group has been granted a three year project on Bacterial Cellulose Nanocomposites

c4tc00787e-f9_hi-resThe N&N Group has been granted the project entitled Engineering Bacterial Cellulose Nanocomposites (E-BCN), MAT2015-64442-R. The three years project will be funded with 180.000 € and a Ph.D. scholarship grant.
The Research Group that will participate in the project is formed by Anna Roig (IP), Martí Gich, Anna Laromaine, Jordi Faraudo, Dino Tonti, Laura Asturias and Anna May.

The image, showing the surface modification of bacterial cellulose, is from Zeng et al. J. Mater. Chem. C, 2014,2, 6312-6318. 


Internship at King’s College London – Toxigenomics

Laura Gokings college londonnzález is going for an internship at King’s College London for three months (February 1st – May 1st, 2016) in the framework of her Ph.D. She will be in the Toxicogenomics Group with Prof. Stephen Sturzenbaum. Laura will study whether the treatment with iron oxide and gold nanoparticles alters gene expression (at the transcriptome level) of certain genes involved in oxidative stress responses, and in heavy metals detoxification mechanisms, using C. elegans as a model organism.

Collaboration with other Universities and Research Centers is always a welcoming and positive experience, both for the graduate students and for the Group. We wish Laura all the best and success in this new adventure!