The PhD thesis was supervised by Dr. Lluís Balcells Argemí, from the Advanced Characterization and Nanostructured Materials (ACNM) Group (ICMAB-CSIC) and Dr. Zorica Konstantinović, from the Institute of Physics Belgrade. The PhD Committee that evaluated the Thesis was formed by Alfonso Cebollada Navarro, Instituto de Micro y Nanotecnología, IMN-CSIC (President), Narcís Mestres, Superconducting Materials and Large Scale Nanostructures (SUMAN) Group, ICMAB-CSIC (Secretary), and Montse Garcia del Muro, Facultat de Física, Universitat de Barcelona, UB (Vocal).
Mónica Bernal’s PhD thesis was part of the PhD Programme in Physics from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).
From left to right: Lluís Balcells, Zorica Konstantinović, Mónica Bernal, Alfonso Cebollada, Montse Garcia del Muro and Narcís Mestres
Why did you choose the ICMAB for your PhD?
From the beginning I was in the search of a doctorate related to my research topics, within the different options, the scientific areas offered by the ICMAB seemed interesting to me, so I made the decision to contact with my directors who kindly opened me the doors of their research group.
How would you explain your research to a non-scientific audience?
Our research is based on the study of oxides materials as a contribution to the development of spintronic devices. This is a technology that uses the properties of the electron spin, with which faster, more efficient devices with greater storage capacity could be manufactured: computers, hard drives, telephones, among others.
What are the main applications of your research? Could you give us an example?
Magnetically active insulating barriers in spin filters to improve tunnel magnetoresistance performance.
From the lessons learnt here, which one do you value the most?
I greatly value the knowledge and experiences lived, both personally and professionally.
What will you miss the most from ICMAB?
I will greatly miss the good times shared with my work group and all the experiences lived.
How do you think this experience will contribute to your training and to your future?
I believe that this experience will open new doors for me at a professional level, also it will allow me to delve into related fields of knowledge and research.
What are your plans once you finish your PhD?
Continue with my academic development and looking for a job that be related to what I have been doing.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD, that now you can recommend to the ones who are starting?
To be prepared to spend many hours doing experiments, reading, and collecting data. I believe that motivation is very important and that you like the research you are carrying out.
Why did you become a scientist? Which have been your role models?
Since school I liked the field of exact sciences, the subjects with the highest grades were in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Since then I have been motivated to pursue a career projected towards the academic-research field.
As a model I had professors at the university who, apart from being great human beings, were very passionate about their profession.
Which is your favourite female scientist? And why?
I don't have a scientific woman in particular, all scientific women are worthy of being valued and appreciated for their great work.
Describe in 3 keywords…
- Your research: Insulating ferromagnetic materials, Double perovskites, Spintronics
- Barcelona: polyglot, culture, science
- Your experience at ICMAB: knowledge, sharing, research
Any other comments you would like to say:
For the moment, just thanks for everything I've lived and learned.