Five UAB PhD Extraordinary Awards go to ICMAB graduates

This honor is given by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona to remarkable PhDs.

17 January 2022
Campus UAB / UAB

The PhD Extraordinary Awards is an accreditation given by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona to PhDs defended in the last 3 academic years, and 5 Awards are available in each of the 66 PhD programmes. Besides the accreditations, the awarded students are exempt of the payment attached to the title application.

The Accademic Committee of each programme has decided to award five of these Awards to ICMAB Graduates. The accolades went to:

Ana Pérez Rodríguez

Materials Science Programme, 2017-2018

Ana Pérez receives the Award for her PhD Thesis on “Nanoscale interpretation of performances in organic solar cells and field effect transistors”, supervised by Esther Barrena and Carmen Ocal, from the Physical Chemistry of Surfaces and Interfaces (SURFACES) Group at ICMAB-CSIC.


Since the 1960s, the field of molecular electronics has drawn growing attention as an alternative to the traditional silicon-based devices. The performance of organic devices is rapidly increasing, but their use in low-cost and large-area applications is hindered by insufficient device efficiency and poor reproducibility. Though most efforts addressing these issues are focused towards exploring materials synthesis and   processing, understanding the phenomena controlling performances becomes yet indispensable. The goal of this thesis is providing interpretation of different interface and structure related issues in organic solar cells and organic field effect transistors at the nanoscale by employing advanced scanning probe microscopies. This study correlates the structural and electrical properties at the nanoscale with the device macroscopic performance, providing understanding of mechanisms that importantly affect the devices efficiency.

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Isabel Fuentes Sempere

Chemistry Programme, 2018-2019

Isabel Fuentes receives the Award for her PhD Thesis on “Aplicaciones de los metalacarboranos en el campo de la biomedicina y de la energía”, supervised by Francesc Teixidor Bombardó, from the Inorganic Materials & Catalysis (LMI) Group, ICMAB-CSIC.


The work presented in this thesis has been focused mainly on the use of metallacarboranes in different applications in the field of biomedicine (study of interaction with DNA, study of the cellular viability, the cellular uptake and biodistribution in glioblastoma and melanoma cells, in horse blood ans in normal mice, the use as redox mediators in DNA sensors, study of interacción with BSA and its stability upon thermal and chemical induced denaturation) and energy (study of the physicochemical, ionic conductivity and electrochemical properties of the polymers PBI and PEDOT doped with different salts of metallacarboranes to be used in fuel cells, batteries and supercapacitors and study the use of metallacarboranes as additive in commercial activated carbon in asymmetric aqueous supercapacitor).

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Arpita Saha

Chemistry programme, 2018-2019

Arpita Saha receives the Award for her PhD Thesis on “Tuning the Properties of Quantum Nanocrystals and Magnetic Nanoparticles using Spherical Ligands: Carboranes and Metallacarboranes”, supervised by Francesc Teixidor and Clara Viñas, from the Inorganic Materials & Catalysis (LMI) at ICMAB-CSIC.


A new architecture of QDs has been designed using Carboranyl phosphinate ligands in water which shows a unique luminescence phenomenon called Kinetic Fluorescence Switching (KFS). It has never been reported before and was possible due to the spherical ligands. Further QDs have been synthesized which combines the advantage of organometallic synthesis and aqueous synthesis in one method using a new design set-up. Also, for the first time QRods and QRings have been synthesized in water and their luminescence properties were studied using photo or electric excitation.

Magnetic nanoparticles have also been used along with borane clusters to form new nano-hybrids which have been tested for Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) for cancer treatment. In-vitro and In-vivo studies were done using these new nanohybrids. Also, new kind of magnetic nanocomposites were formed as part of the European Horizon 2020 project KARDIATOOL using MWCNTs, magnetic nanoparticles coated with silica and functionalized with different functional groups which were further used to form non-bonded complex with H[COSAN] for sensing layers in biosensors.

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Jordi Martínez Esaín

Chemistry Programme, 2018-2019

Jordi Martínez receives his Award for his PhD Thesis on “The Surface Chemistry of Metal Fluoride Nanocrystals”, supervised by Susagna Ricart, from the Superconducting Materials and Large Scale Nanostructures (SUMAN) Group and Jordi Faraudo from the Soft Matter Theory Group at ICMAB-CSIC.


This thesis is mainly based on the understanding the synthesis and the final behavior of the surface of LnF3 nanocrystals. In consequence, this knowledge will allow the control and manipulation of the bridge between synthesis and applications, currently called surface chemistry.

Starting from the successful synthesis of fifteen different types of inorganic nanocrystals, the general trends of metal fluoride nanocrystals is successfully unraveled. A new kind of ionic self-assembly in colloidal systems is postulated and thermodynamically stable patchy nanocrystals also obtained. Using experimental techniques and molecular dynamics simulations, a self-assembly mechanism also applicable to other kind of systems is postulated and we demonstrate that the different facets of the patchy nanoparticles can be modified selectively.

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Jike Lyu

Materials Science, 2018-2019

Jike Lyu receives his Award for his PhD Thesis on “Epitaxial Ferroelectric Thin Films on Si(001): strain tuning of BaTiO3 and stabilization of polar phase in Hf0.5Zr0.5O2, supervised by Florencio Sánchez, from the Multifunctional Thin Films and Complex Structures (MULFOX) Group at ICMAB-CSIC.


This thesis investigated the epitaxial lead free ferroelectric films on Silicon. It consists of two major parts: firstly, different from the conventional substrate-based strain engineering, we developed a new strain method to tune the lattice strain and ferroelectric polarization of BaTiO3 films epitaxially integrated with silicon based on balancing the thermodynamics and kinetics through controlling the growth parameters; secondly, we determined the growth window by PLD for epitaxially stabilizing the polar orthorhombic phase in Hf0.5Zr0.5O2 films on STO(001).Further epitaxial growth of high quality Hf0.5Zr0.5O2 films has been successfully integrated on Si substrate in a capacitor heterostructure with different buffer layers presenting outstanding ferroelectric properties.

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Congratulations to all the recent doctors, and to their supervisors for the great achievement!

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