Month: November 2018

Faceted‐Charge Patchy LnF3 Nanocrystals with a Selective Solvent Interaction

Martínez‐Esaín, J. , Puig, T. , Obradors, X. , Ros, J. , Yáñez, R. , Faraudo, J. and Ricart, S. (2018)  Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.


A fast and single‐step preparation of patchy LnF3 faceted‐charge nanocrystals are described. These hexagonal faceted nanocrystals allow the spontaneous selective adsorption of cations or anions in the different faces, producing stable and well‐defined patches of different charge. The mechanism for the formation of the patches and the properties of the obtained nanocrystals were characterized by a combination of experimental techniques and all‐atomic molecular dynamics simulations. The spontaneous dual‐charged surface as well as the luminescence effects that can be achieved by doping host–LaF3 systems make these new nanocrystals interesting both from a fundamental point of view and for a wide range of applications.

Electrochemical Tuning of Metal Insulator Transition and Nonvolatile Resistive Switching in Superconducting Films

Anna Palau*,Alejandro Fernandez-RodriguezJuan Carlos Gonzalez-RosilloXavier GranadosMariona CollBernat BozzoRafael Ortega-HernandezJordi SuñéNarcís MestresXavier Obradors, and Teresa Puig. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2018, 10 (36), pp 30522–30531.

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b08042

Modulation of carrier concentration in strongly correlated oxides offers the unique opportunity to induce different phases in the same material, which dramatically change their physical properties, providing novel concepts in oxide electronic devices with engineered functionalities. This work reports on the electric manipulation of the superconducting to insulator phase transition in YBa2Cu3O7−δ thin films by electrochemical oxygen doping. Both normal state resistance and the superconducting critical temperature can be reversibly manipulated in confined active volumes of the film by gate-tunable oxygen diffusion. Vertical and lateral oxygen mobility may be finely modulated, at the micro- and nano-scale, by tuning the applied bias voltage and operating temperature thus providing the basis for the design of homogeneous and flexible transistor-like devices with loss-less superconducting drain–source channels. We analyze the experimental results in light of a theoretical model, which incorporates thermally activated and electrically driven volume oxygen diffusion.

Direct and Converse Piezoelectric Responses at the Nanoscale from Epitaxial BiFeO3 Thin Films Grown by Polymer Assisted Deposition


We use an original water-based chemical method, to grow pure epitaxial BiFeO3 (BFO) ultra-thin films with excellent piezoelectric properties. Particularly, we show that this novel chemical route produces a higher natural ferroelectric domain size distribution and coercive field compared to similar BFO films grown by physical methods. Moreover, we measured the d33 piezoelectric coefficient of 60 nm thick BFO films with a direct approach, using Direct Piezoelectric Force Microscopy (DPFM). As a result, first piezo-generated charge maps of a very thin BFO layer were obtained applying this novel technology. We also performed a comparative study of the d33 coefficients between standard PFM analysis and the DPFM microscopy showing similar values i.e. 17 pm/V and 22 pC/N respectively. Finally, we proved that the directionality of the piezoelectric effect in BFO ferroelectric thin films is preserved at low thickness dimensions demonstrating the potential of chemical processes for the development of low cost functional ferroelectric and piezoelectric devices.

Teresa Puig on Terrassa Digital radio!

Teresa Puig was on November 15, 2018, on the radio! The program “La Nit Estèrica” from Terrassa Digital (95.2 FM) interviewed Teresa Puig, ICMAB researcher from Terrassa. They talked about superconducting materials and about the begining of Teresa Puig in the superconducting world, about her current projects, and many more things!

Listen to the interview here, from mintue 10:00!


Fifteen ERC grantees telling their story in simple words #LasCientíficasCuentan

The following article appeared in the ERC Newsletter on 26 October 2018. It is about the project #LasCientíficasCuentan, which explalins complex science through the voice of fifteen female ERC grantees in Spain. From ICMAB, Teresa Puig and Marta Mas-Torrent participated in the project, funded by the FECYT and the FGCSIC. They give talks, participate in roundtables, and appear in some videos explaining their research!



Read the full text here, transcribed from the ERC Newsletter (26 Oct 2018):


How can body heat become electricity? Could the neurons behind vision replace those in charge of hearing? How do cells reach the body organs that they form? What can history tell us about tackling modern crises and challenges? “Las Cientificas cuentan” (Women in science count) is a communication campaign funded by Fundación Española de Ciencia y Tecnología (FECYT) and Fundación General CSIC (FGCSIC), and launched by the Brussels’ office of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The main objective of this initiative, in which female scientists with an ERC grant play the central role, is to bring complex science to the public space and to draw attention also to the challenges that women face nowadays in research.

“As a scientist, it is in your 30s and 40s that you are most productive. It is also at that point that you must choose between the professional competition and your personal life. Why is the scientific career path so competitive, so stressful? Why can we not design it differently, take other criteria into account? Excellence is key, of course, but it should not be measured it in terms of quantity”, explains Neus Sabate, who develops paper-based eco-friendly fuel cells made of organic molecules such as ethanol, glucose or urea.

Nuria Flames, working on Serotonin Related Mental Disorders shares a different experience: “I never felt judged for my gender, only for my competences. But being a scientist and having children is like having two full-time jobs. It is challenging for women and for men. More should be done in this respect”.

Across the country, until the end of November, the grantees share both their science and their reflections at round tables, where different types of audiences, including children, are invited to put their questions forward and to provide their feedback through different means. These informative sessions are supported by a series of short videos, in which the scientists present the challenges of their research projects in a simple and accessible way, sometimes in the same way as they explain these to their own families or friends.

Beyond making science more accessible to the public, the campaign goal is also to highlight EU’s support for basic research through grants like those of the ERC.

Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona ICMAB CSIC


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