The PhD Thesis was supervised by Alberto Pomar and Lluís Balcells, from the Advanced Characterization and Nanostructured Materials (ACNM) group at ICMAB. The PhD Committee was formed by Agustina Asenjo Barahona (ICMM, CSIC) as President, José Santiso López (ICN2) as Secretary and Mónica Burriel López (LMGP, CNRS, France) as Vocal.
After the PhD Defense, from left to right: Alberto Pomar, Víctor Fuentes, José Santiso López, Lluís Balcells, and on the screens: Agustina Asenjo and Mónica Burriel. | ICMAB
Why did you choose the ICMAB for your PhD?
I did my Bachelor’s and my Master’s thesis in ICMAB groups. Since my experience was good both from a personal and an academic point of view, when the same group where I made the Master’s thesis offered me a PhD position in the ICMAB I didn’t think it twice.
How would you explain your research to a non-scientific audience?
In order to increase the capacity of memories in computers the components size of these memories must be constantly reduced. Nevertheless, the usual ways to approach this miniaturization are reaching important limits and new strategies are needed. In the case of the random access memories (RAM) one of the strongest candidates are the memories based on Resistive Switching phenomena. Resistive Switching phenomena are diverse but generally involve the change, in a non-volatile way, between two different resistive states due to the application of a voltage. That means, that a material cell with Resistive Switching properties can change from a state with good conductivity to a state with bad conductivity by a voltage controlled externally.
This makes materials with such properties excellent candidates for memories applications. In particular, in my thesis I studied a family of materials (Strontium Iridates) that whose resistive switching properties had not been studied before although they have electronic characteristics that make them very interesting for this type of applications.
What are the main applications of your research? Could you give us an example?
The study of the resistive switching is mainly oriented towards the elaboration of Memories (especially RAM). Nevertheless, more recently, Resistive switching properties are being investigated for their application in neuromorphic computing.
From the lessons learnt here, which one do you value the most?
Organization is very important in research. In order to optimize the time you spend in each stage of research you have to have clear objectives and you must be able to detect the bottlenecks in the experimental work in advance.
What will you miss the most from ICMAB?
How do you think this experience will contribute to your training and to your future?
Apart from the experience in my particular field of research, during my thesis I have learnt to use many different techniques in the field of materials science that can be useful also for other fields of research.
What are your plans once you finish your PhD?
I want to look for a job as a technician in a laboratory but I am also open to look for other types of jobs that require a scientific background.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD, that now you can recommend to the ones who are starting?
Try to keep in order the files, the results and the experimental conditions. At the beginning of the PhD is easy to remember everything you have done but at the end it is more complicated.
Why did you become a scientist? Which have been your role models?
I was interested in science since the high school. After my Bachelor’s degree in science I was still interested in it so I keep studying and I end doing a PhD. My parents are both pharmacists so probably that has contributed to my interest in science.
Which is your favourite female scientist?
Describe in 3 keywords…
* Your research: Resistive Switching, Metal-Insulator Transitions, Strontium Iridates
* Barcelona: Home, Family, Friends
* Your experience at ICMAB: hard work, good quality of research, friendly people
Víctor Fuentes will defend his PhD Thesis on Thursday, 21 Jan 2021 at 11 am