Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.

H.E. Luccock

Josep Nogués Sanmiquel

Dr. Josep Nogués obtained his PhD degree in Condensed Matter Physics from the Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden) in 1993. After over 4 years as a post-doc at the University of California San Diego, in 1997 he settled at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. In Oct. 2001 he obtained an ICREA Research Professor position and he is, since 2006, the group leader of the Magnetic Nanostructures Group at the Institut Català de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2).
Dr. Nogués has published 258 articles (most of them in well-reputed journals in Physics, Chemistry and Materials Science; including 9 reviews), which have been cited more than 20000 times. Moreover, his work has resulted in over 250 invited talks (including 12 plenary and 21 Keynote). He currently holds 7 patents, one of them transferred and in exploitation by IENAI Space. Dr. Nogués is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has been an Associated Editor for Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials and IEEE Magnetics Letters.
During his scientific career, Dr. Nogués has extensively worked on the magnetic characterization of different types of materials, particularly nanoparticles and nanostructures, a field in which he has had many seminal contributions, like ‘large exchange bias in double inverse core/shell nanoparticles’, ‘antiferromagnetic interface coupling in core/shell nanoparticles’ or the ‘use of exchange bias to beat the superparamagnetic limit in nanoparticles’.
His current research interests are related to the synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles of different shapes and phases and the study of the effect of different types of magnetic interactions on the magnetic properties of nanoparticles and thin films (e.g., ‘voltage-controlled ON-OFF ferromagnetism at room temperature’). He is also involved in the development of novel measuring approaches, based on microscopy (e.g., 3D visualization of the oxidation states from electron energy loss tomography), synchrotron or neutrons, to gain enhanced magnetic/structural/morphological information at the nanoscale. One of his main present activities is the design of magneto-plasmonic and magneto-electric structures for biomedical, theranostic, applications, particularly for wireless actuation (e.g., Efficient tumor eradication at ultralow drug concentration via externally controlled and boosted metallic iron magnetoplasmonic nanocapsules). Moreover, he is working in different types of magneto-optic-electrochemical structures for environmental remediation (e.g., degradation of persistent organic pollutants or antibiotics), or hydrogen or bioethanol production (e.g., ‘ZnO-based biomimetic fern-like microleaves for photocatalytic water decontamination using sunlight’).

ICREA Research Professor & Group Leader
CSIC Scientific Researcher

María José Esplandiu Egido

Dr. Maria Jose Esplandiu (MJE) is a CSIC Scientific Researcher at the ICN2. In 1990 she obtained her BSc Degree in Chemistry and in 1995 obtained her PhD, both at the University of Cordoba (Argentina). MJe has developed her scieintific career in Dresden and Ulm (Germany), UCLA and CALTECH in United States and since 2013 she Works at ICN2 in Barcelona (spain).
At the beginning of her postdoctoral career (Dresden and Ulm University and with an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship), MJE did research on surface electrochemistry using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) in electrolytes to characterize dynamic surface processes with atomic/molecular resolution under electrochemical control. Then, she continued her expertise with ultra-high vacuum STM and AFM (postdocs at UCLA and CALTECH, USA). She developed high-resolution imaging probes/nanoelectrodes of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) integrated as AFM tips for the characterization of (bio)surfaces, also acquiring sound expertise in CNT chemical vapor deposition (CVD) growth. During the last 10 years she also opened a new line at the ICN2 related with (photo)electrochemical energy conversion into mechanical energy. Her work involves exploiting the (electro)chemical interface or interfacial phenomena for developing self-propelled nano/micromotors and pumps driven by physicochemical reactions/gradients. She has focused on the fundamental understanding of coupled processes (chemical reactions, diffusion processes, electrokinetic phenomena) determining the chemomechanical actuation and provided important insights into many ill-defined parameters involved.
As seen from this brief summary, her scientific activity has a high multidisciplinary character between the frontier of chemistry and physics and has contributed to many research fields (e.g. surface and interfacial (electro) chemistry, STM/AFM, (Photo)electrochemical micro/nanomotors and pumps, CNT/graphene growth, (bio)chemical sensors, CNT nanoelectronics and CNTs/graphene for nanomechanics and spintronics. At this moment she is exploiting her expertise within the Magnetic Nanostructure group leaded by Prof. J. Nogués. Recently she has extended the CVD growth to 2D transition metal dichalcogenides to integrate them with (photo)electrochemical motors and address more applied topics in environmental remediation but without forsaking fundamental aspects.
She has published around 80 papers many of them with I.F. > 10. In the last 10 years, she has supervised 8 doctoral theses (3 still in progress), 2 Master theses and 9 final degree research projects. She is also evaluator of European projects and ERCs. Additionally, her scientific career has been complemented by an important teaching contribution UNC (Argentina) and UAB in Barcelona (Adjunct Professor of undergraduate courses, master classes and summer schools) and as science communicator in schools, special programs of universities and foundations.

Alejandro Gómez Roca

Dr. Alejandro G. Roca is a senior researcher at the ICn2. He has developed his scientific career in different research centers from Spain (ICMM, INA-UNIZAR, ICMA and ICN2), United Kingdom (University of York) and Japan (Tohoku University), and also the private sector (Liquids Research Ltd).
He has reached a scientific production with 52 scientific publications being cited more than 3300 times leading to a h-number of 26. Also, he edited 1 book in Springer Nature (other in progress with RSC) and wrote 2 book chapters and 2 patents. He has been the Principal Investigator of 3 funded project and also has participated actively in 17 projects (Spanish and European).
In 2020, he was awarded with the Ramon y Cajal fellowship (Materials Science area). During his research career he has supervised 1 PhD, 7 BsC students and 1 MSc student. Currently he is supervising 1 PhD thesis. He has given Invited seminars in Summer Schools for undergraduates. He has presented his work as Invited Speaker 10 times in different International conferences. He regularly participates in dissemination activities.
His research lines are, on one hand, the development of novel nanofabrication methodologies of magnetic-based nanoparticles for biomedicine with an accurate control over the size, shape and interphase features. His target materials range from hybrid heterostructures with magnetic and optical domains where the heterostructure has the properties of both domains plus the ones arising from the interaction of both domains, and anisotropic magnetic nanoparticles like magnetite nanocubes or nanorods, with direction-dependent properties. He is focused on the evaluation of these nanomaterials for their performance in theranostics (contrast agents in different imaging techniques or nanoheters in magnetic and/or optical hyperthermia). The other research line deals with the study of the magnetism of magnetic-based nanostructures with synchrotron/neutron techniques leading to the complete knowledge of the structure and magnetism of nanomaterials. He was devoted to study the Fe3O4 magnetism with size, oxidation state and when couple to other domains (Mn3O4), the magnetism of Mn3O4 when coupled with Fe3O4, magnetic structure of antiferromagnetic nano-CoO polymorphs and FeO magnetism affected by internal defects when transformed to Fe3O4.

RyC Senior Researcher

Jessica Ramírez de la Torre

PhD Student​

Jessica Ramirez graduated from her Bachelor’s in Nanotechnology Engineering at the ITESO university, Mexico. She obtained her master’s degree in Nanostructured materials for nanotechnological applications, in 2019 at the Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain. Currently, she is doing her Ph.D. in Materials Science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She is doing her thesis research at the ICn2 Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia, her research is focused on the development of multicomponent 2D Transition metal dichalcogenides materials with environmental applications such as water treatment and hydrogen production.

Nour Al Hoda Al Baast

PhD Student​

Nour Al Bast finished her Bachelor in science (Biochemistry) at the Lebanese International University in Lebanon. In 2018, she got a Master´s degree in Molecular Biology from Beirut Arab University. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD in Material Sciences at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona under the supervision of Maria Jose Esplandiu, Borja Sepulveda and Carme Nogues. Her research encompasses the fabrication and characterization of various light-induced nanodevices by combining different junctions, Si/metal interface and nanostructures. The devices are designed to be used in different applications as: catalysis, wireless stimulation of cells in the first and second biological windows of NIR. In addition to examining the cytotoxic effect of modified silica particles on cancer cells.

Aritz Lafuente López

PhD Student​

In 2019 Aritz received his bachelor´s degree in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology with honors at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). Then, he studied a master´s degree in Multidisciplinary Research in Experimental Sciences at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). During those years he joined multiple teams to learn about polymers (PolyMat), advanced characterization (ALBA Synchrotron), magnetism and nanofabrication (ICN2) and nanomedicine (IBEC). Afterwards, he joined ICN2 again to work in the MAGPLADRUG project funded by Fundación Ramón Areces. In 2021 he received the FPI fellowship to do a PhD in materials science. In his PhD he is developing opto-magnetic nanostructures for wirelessly controlled therapies based in PLGA nanoparticles partially capped with Fe and SiO2 layers of few nanometers that combine (i) high drug loading capacity, (ii) efficient magnetic manipulation, (iii) MRI contrast to non-invasively monitor the therapy and (iv) highly efficient optical heating as adjuvant therapy.

Philippos Perdikos

PhD Student​

Filippos received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Brighton and his master’s degree in Electrical Power from Newcastle University. In the past, he has been involved with the University of Manchester as well as the FOSS Research centre for Sustainable Energy, researching PV Systems, Smart Grids, and Grid Integration. Currently, he is a PhD student at the ICN2. His research focuses on the fabrication and characterisation of magnetoelectric nanocomposite heterostructures for wireless tissue electrostimulation using relatively low AC magnetic fields for non-invasive muscle/brain stimulation.