Press Release

Image from Gerd Altmann in Pixabay

Researchers develop a material that mimics how the brain stores information

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UAB researchers have developed a magnetic material capable of imitating the way the brain stores information. The material makes it possible to emulate the synapses of neurons and mimic, for the first time, the learning that occurs during deep sleep. ICMAB researcher Alberto Quintana participates in the study. 

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Welcome to the ICMAB Annual Report 2021

2021 has been a year characterized by the "back-to-normal" life after the pandemic. 

The ICMAB has, step by step, returned to normality, but continuing with online and hybrid events and meetings, and with limitted capacity in the labs and offices for most of the year, and strict conditions to ensure the safety and health of all the ICMABers. 

However, our researchers and all our staff have worked hard to continue making this center one of the top centers in materials science research of the world.

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NextGEM project partners during the Kick-off meeting in Crete on July 2022

ICMAB participates in the new NextGEM European project to investigate new generation electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure and possible health effects

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The 48-month EU-funded NextGEM project started on 1 July 2022 and counts with 7.56 M€. One of the objectives of the project is to ensure EU citizens’ healthy living and a safe working environment when employing existing and future electromagnetic fields (EMF)-based telecommunication technologies

Press Release, New Projects, Breaking News, Press Review

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Organic semiconductor on glass support | ICMAB-CSIC

Efficient photovoltaics: more (light) with less (material)

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Absorb more light while using less material: This constitutes one of the most complicated milestones in the field of organic photovoltaics due to its practical implications: improving the efficiency of solar cells, (potentially) their stability and their semi-transparency to the human eye. Now, the achievement of such milestone seems to be closer than ever.

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Digging the whole for the IoT wireless sensors in COVIDES vineyards | ICMAB-CSIC

ICMAB installs IoT wireless sensors in vineyards at the Penedès

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In the framework of the ERC PoC project OrGeVine, an expedition of ICMABers visited the vineyards of the cooperative COVIDES and installed several IoT devices.

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Converting solar energy to electricity on demand | Chalmers University of Technology | Daniel Spacek, neuroncollective.com

Converting solar energy to electricity on demand

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Eventually, this research – developed at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, by ICMAB and ICREA researcher Kasper Moth-Poulsen and co-workers – could lead to self-charging electronics using stored solar energy on demand.

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A picture of the installation at the ALBA Synchrotron

The ALBA Synchrotron begins construction of a new beamline: 3Sbar

ICMAB Researcher Xavier Torrelles has collaborated in the design process of the new beamline installation.

ALBA Synchrotron, a 3rd generation synchrotron light facility that allows for the visualization of the atomic structure of matter as well as the study of its properties, will open its newest beamline, 3Sbar, by 2026:

"Each new beamline opens new windows in understanding the complexity of the world around us. With 3Sbar, ALBA aims to be at the fore-front of catalysis science, building a unique scientific instrument with strong capabilities for preserving our environment", says Caterina Biscari, director of the ALBA Synchrotron.

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 Álvaro Luis Jiménez, CRAG PhD researcher, working with tomato plants at CRAG greenhouse | CRAG

A wall to stop bacterial wilt in tomato plants

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ICMAB researchers Anna Laromaine and Sumithra Srinivasan collaborate in this study led by CRAG researchers to unveil the physico-chemical nature of the xylem barriers responsible for bacterial wilt resistance in tomato plants.

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A portrait of Agustín Mihi

New ERC-PoC Project will provide a sustainable alternative to microplastics as whitening agents

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ICMAB Researcher Agustín Mihi and his team will develop opacifying agents based on cellulose and algae-based polymers. 

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Stable nanovesicles for the delivery of microRNA in cancer treatment in #WorldCancerDay

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On World Cancer Day (4 Feb), we present a study on new nanovesicles, known as quatsomes, which have been successfully engineered to encapsulate and deliver microRNAs for the treatment of tumors. These nanovesicles are produced by a simple GMP compliant process, an unavoidable requirement for the clinical use of new drug candidates. The study, published in Small, has been highlighted in the Women in Materials Science issue of Advanced Materials.

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Cell penetrability of DNA-grafted quatsomes

New fluorescent nanovesicles for intracellular biomarker detection

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A new work by the Nanomol Group, belonging to the CIBER-BBN network, together with a team from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, presents new nanovesicles capable of crossing biological barriers such as cell membranes, while maintaining their sensing capacity, which makes them attractive probes for intracellular detection of biomarkers.

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Noemí Contreras-Pereda (ICN2) and Josep Puigmartí (IQTCUB-ICREA) with the microgravity device. | Xènia Fuentes/UB

Simulated microgravity system to synthesize high-quality 2D crystalline materials

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A team of researchers demonstrated that 2D porous crystalline molecular frameworks (MOFs) can be grown with excellent control over their morphology and homogeneity by using a custom-made microfluidic device.

This approach recreates on Earth the microgravity environment of laboratories on the International Space Stations.

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A collection of strontium and vanadium oxide (SrVO3) metallic films of increasing thickness.| ICMAB-CSIC

A new theory to explain the transparency of metallic oxides

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The electrons of some metal oxides, due to their large effective mass when coupled with the ionic lattice of the material, cannot follow the electric field of light and allow it to pass through the material. Transparent and conductive materials are used in smartphone touch screens and solar panels for photovoltaic energy.

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Amplified frequency-domain thermoreflectance setup used to study the existence of second sound in germanium. | ICMAB, CSIC

Thermal waves observed in semiconductor materials

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A study published in Science Advances reports on the unexpected observation of thermal waves in germanium, a semiconductor material. This phenomenon may allow a significant improvement in the performance of our electronic devices in a near future. The study is led by researchers from the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB, CSIC) in collaboration with researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and the University of Cagliari.

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Jewel Ann Maria Xavier, ICMAB researcher, with the magnetic nanoparticles. | ICMAB-CSIC

A device monitoring heart failure from saliva co-developed by ICMAB and IMB-CNM researchers

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The instrument, developed in the framework of the European project KardiaTool, contains a biosensor chip developed in the Clean Room of the IMB-CNM, and functionalized magnetic nanoparticles synthesized at ICMAB, key to detect the biomarkers found in saliva. It is a quick Point-of-Care saliva test that does not require specialized personnel. 

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Sole Roig, researcher at the NN group at ICMAB-CSIC, showing a sample of a hybrid mesh of surgical polypropylene and the bio-based bacterial nanocellulose. | ICMAB-CSIC

Bio-nanocellulose meshes improve hernia repair surgery

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Bacterial nanocellulose is an emergent biocompatible natural polymer with increasing applicability in the healthcare sector. A potential innovative application can be found in the design of surgical meshes for the treatment of abdominal hernias. Researchers from ICMAB-CSIC and B. Braun Surgical, a leading manufacturer of medical devices for wound closure, have collaborated to develop a bio-based surgical mesh with this biomaterial. First results from an in vivo animal study yield promising outcomes.

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A) Spatial organisation of the catalytic biostructures. B) and C) Detail of the two types of amino acids and their interactions.

Nanoenzymes designed with a unique combination of structure and functions

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ICMAB researchers from the LMI group have collaborated in a study to design minimalist biostructures that imitate natural enzymes, capable of carrying out two differentiated and reversibly regulated activities thanks to a unique combination of structural and functional properties. The strategy used opens the door to the creation of “intelligent” nanomaterials with tailor-made combinations of catalytic functions.

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Smart4Fabry Lab in VHIR | ICMAB

A more effective nanomedicine developed for the treatment of Fabry rare disease designated as Orphan Drug

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This is one of the major achievements of the European Smart4Fabry project, which is now coming to an end after four years of work. The results have been made possible thanks to nanotechnology and the approach developed could be applied to other drugs in the future. The new drug improves on current treatments, helps reduce costs and improve patients' quality of life.

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Irene Anton, researcher at the NN group, holding a bacterial nanocellulose membrane

Bio-membranes with ocular stem cells to treat corneal disorders

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The production, preparation, and use of bacterial nanocellulose as corneal bandages could be the key to help delicate stem cells to migrate to the cornea and heal the eye from a range of ocular disorders.

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Mariano Campoy-Quiles and Xabier Rodríguez-Martínez, co-authors of the study, in their lab | ICMAB

Machine learning to predict the performance of organic solar cells

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In this study, researchers have demonstrated that by feeding machine-learning algorithms with high-throughput experimental datasets, it is possible to retrieve predictive models for the performance of organic solar cells.

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A photon reverses the binary 0/1 state of a memory device

Storing information with light

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New photo-ferroelectric materials allow to store information in a non-volatile way using light stimulus. The idea is to create energy efficient memory devices with high performance and versatility to face the challenges of the current society.
 
The study has been publishd in Nature Communications by Josep Fontcuberta and co-workers and opens a path towards further investigations on this phenomenon and to neuromorphic computing applications. 

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Borate-based passivation layers enables reversible calcium batteries

A study published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science has combined experimental and theoretical approaches to study the passivation layers formed on calcium metal electrodes and their influence on the reversible operation of calcium-based batteries. The work is led by researchers from the ICMAB-CSIC, who have collaborated with the ALBA Synchrotron (MIRAS beamline) as well as with other international laboratories and universities. 

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Practical and versatile micro-patterning for organic electronics and photonics

Scientists have managed to draw at high resolution and speed, local patterns in organic semiconductor films used in optoelectronic and photonic applications. The new method enables the patterning of material characteristics and concomitant final properties, including molecular conformation, orientation, crystallinity and composition. The technique, published with open access in Nature Communications, has also been patented and industrial partners are sought for further co-development.

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Emulating the plasticity of synapses between neurons in a physical system by light stimuli

This is the first case of a 2D electron system, in which the electron population can be increased and reduced in a controlled way by light. The study, published in Physical Review Letters, has been carried out by Gervasi Herranz and co-workers from the Laboratory of Multifunctional Thin Films and Complex Sructures (MULFOX) group at the ICMAB. 

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New fluorescent nanoparticles to see what is invisible to the eye

Researchers from the Nanomol group at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), the CIBER-BBN network and the ICTS Nanbiosis U6, and members of the TECNIO technology transfer network ACCIÓ-Generalitat de Catalunya, together with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT, USA) and the University of Parma (UNIPR, Italy) have developed a new nanomaterial for bioimaging. The results of the study are the result of the TECNIOspring PLUS project co-financed by ACCIÓ and the European Commission.

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Nanoneedles to increase the capacity and robustness of digital memories

Researchers at the ICMAB, UAB and the ALBA Synchrotron, in collaboration with the UB and ICN2, have developed a new technique to locally modify the properties of a metamagnetic material. The method consists in applying local pressure to the surface of the material using nanometric needles and allows a much more easy and local modification than current methods. The research opens the door to a more accurate and precise control of magnetic materials and allows to improve the architecture and capacity of magnetic digital memories.

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Towards green energies: new materials for biobutanol separation

Researchers from the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) have discovered a water stable metal-organic framework (MOF) that allows for the separation of butanol from acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) mixtures that are extracted from the fermentation process of biomass feedstock, as part of the standard industrial process to produce biofuels. This new compound, mCB-MOF-1, shows promising results compared to other methodologies or other MOF materials. The study is published in JACS on 27 April 2020. 

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Breakthrough in the ultrafast growth of superconducting films with high performances

  • The new low-cost, environmentally friendly and scalable method, designed by ICMAB-CSIC researchers, represents a breakthrough in the production of superconducting materials
  • transient liquid phase is formed with the new precursors, from which the superconducting films grow at speeds of 100 nm/s
  • This method is fully compatible with the incorporation of nanoparticles into the superconductor structure, essential for high magnetic field applications in wind generators, electric aviation or particle accelerators

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