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Molecular One- and Two-Qubit Systems with Very Long Coherence Times

General-purpose quantum computation and quantum simulation require multi-qubit architectures with precisely defined, robust interqubit interactions, coupled with local addressability. This is an unsolved challenge, primarily due to scalability issues. These issues often derive from poor control over interqubit interactions.


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Cover in Small on ratiometric nanothermometers

New Cover in Small on ratiometric nanothermometers

The featured article on the cover of Small, titled "Ratiometric Nanothermometer Based on a Radical Excimer for In Vivo Sensing" and led by Jaume Veciana and Imma Ratera from the Nanomol-Bio Group (ICMAB, CIBER-BBN) and their team, investigates organic nanoparticles based on persistent TTM radicals. In vivo experiments demonstrate that these nanoparticles function as ratiometric nanothermometers, showing significant promise in the field of biological thermometry.

Cover, Breaking News

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Microscale Metasurfaces for On-Chip Magnetic Flux Concentration

Magnetic metamaterials have demonstrated promising perspectives to improve the efficiency of magnetic flux concentrators. In this work, the effects of downscaling these devices for on-chip integration is investigated. The influence of the non-linear magnetic response of the ferromagnetic components, their magnetic irreversibility, the formation of magnetic domains, as well as the effects of geometry and size of the devices are scrutinized.


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ICMAB researchers participate in the European Researchers Night

Celebrated simultaneously in more than 25 European countries, the European Researchers' Night brings together research, innovation, scientists and the society with a myriad of outreach activities addressed to all audiences. The ICMAB will contribute to this event by participating in demonstrations, talks and other activities. Don't miss them!

Fairs, Outreach & Dissemination

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Reversible Optical Data Storage via Two-Photon Micropatterning of o-Carboranes-Embedded Switchable Materials

Two-photon polymerization (2PP) constitutes a powerful light-triggered 3D stereolithography, allowing the fabrication of micro- or nanostructures with spatially encoded functionalities. In the present report, we take advantage of this programmable property in order to develop a photoresist authorizing the direct 2PP-lithography of luminescent switchable μ-structures.


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Ce1−xZrxO2 nanoparticles in bacterial cellulose, bio-based composites with self-regenerating antioxidant capabilities

Bacterial cellulose (BC) is an emerging biopolymer with ever-widening uses in the biomedical field due to its purity, mechanical stability, conformability, moisture control, and biocompatibility. In the wet form, its highly porous nanofibrillar structure and abundant surface hydroxyl groups enable the functionalisation of BC with inorganic nanoparticles (NPs), granting the material additional purposive capabilities.


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Welcome Grace Nomthandazo Ngubeni at ICMAB!

  • Nombre y apellidos: Grace Nomthandazo Ngubeni

Sanibonani! (which means hello everyone in isiZulu).

My name is Grace Nomthandazo Ngubeni, a guest researcher hosted by Prof. Alejandro Goñi for two-months. I am from Soweto, South Africa and I like listening to a variety of music, podcasts and watching series/movies. Playing volleyball and netball, as well as reading novels and inspirational literature, are some of my other interests. As a member of the Nano-WEBS research group, I am a lecturer and researcher at Wits University. My research interests are mostly on the synthesis, characterization and fabrication of environmental solutions related to water (membranes), plastics (biodegradable) and energy materials (solar devices), with a particular interest in the latter.

South Africa

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Biohybrid Hydrogels for Tumoroid Culture

Tumoroids are 3D in vitro models that recapitulate key features of in vivo tumors, such as their architecture — hypoxic center and oxygenated outer layer — in contrast with traditional 2D cell cultures. Moreover, they may be able to preserve the patient-specific signature in terms of cell heterogeneity and mutations. Tumoroids are, therefore, interesting tools for improving the understanding of cancer biology, developing new drugs, and potentially designing personalized therapeutic plans.


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Antibiofilm surfaces based on the immobilization of a novel recombinant antimicrobial multidomain protein using self-assembled monolayers

The constant increase of microorganisms resistant to antibiotics has been classified as a global health emergency, which is especially challenging when biofilms are formed. Herein, novel biofunctionalized gold surfaces with the antimicrobial multidomain recombinant protein JAMF1, both in the soluble form and nanostructured as nanoparticles, were developed. The interaction between His-tag termination of the protein and a nitriloacetic acid–Ni complex formed on mixed self-assembled monolayers (mixed SAMs) was exploited.


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A Metal-Organic Framework Incorporating Eight Different Size Rare-Earth Metal Elements: Toward Multifunctionality À La Carte

Multi-metallic multivariate (MTV) rare earth (RE) metal−organic frameworks (MOFs) are of interest for the development of multifunctional materials, however examples with more than three RE cations are rare and obstructed by compositional segregation during synthesis. Herein, this work demonstrates the synthesis of a multi-metallic MTV RE MOF incorporating two, four, six, or eight different RE ions with different sizes and in nearly equimolar amounts and no compositional segregation.


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Welcome Gerard Albujer Bascompte at ICMAB!

  • Nombre y apellidos: Gerard Albujer Bascompte
Hello there. My name is Gerard, I am a Mechanical & Materials Engineer. You will find my in the new Prototyping department where I'll assist the research groups build their functional discoveries, design specific tools for their needs and representative miniatures to exhibit in fairs. I hope to put my skills in 3D printing, modeling and electronics in good use.


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A novel calcium fluorinated alkoxyaluminate salt as a next step towards Ca metal anode rechargeable batteries

Ca metal anode rechargeable batteries are seen as a sustainable high-energy density and high-voltage alternative to the current Li-ion battery technology due to the low redox potential of Ca metal and abundance of Ca. Electrolytes are key enablers on the path towards next-generation battery systems. Within this work, we synthesize a new calcium tetrakis(hexafluoroisopropyloxy) aluminate salt, Ca[Al(hfip)4]2, and benchmark it versus the state-of-the-art boron analogue Ca[B(hfip)4]2.


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From synthesis to device fabrication: elucidating the structural and electronic properties of C7-BTBT-C7

We report the polymorph investigation, crystallographic study and fabrication of organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) in solution-processed thin films of a prototypical organic semiconductor, i.e., 2,7-diheptylbenzo[b]benzo[4,5]thieno[2,3-d]thiophene (C7-BTBT-C7). We found that this molecule self-assembles solely into one type of stable crystal form, regardless of the experimental conditions employed when using conventional and non-conventional methods of crystallization.


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Biomimetic Photodegradation of Glyphosate in Carborane-Functionalized Nanoconfined Spaces

The removal of organophosphorus (OP) herbicides from water has been studied using adsorptive removal, chemical oxidation, electrooxidation, enzymatic degradation, and photodegradation. The OP herbicide glyphosate (GP) is one of the most used herbicides worldwide, leading to excess GP in wastewater and soil. GP is commonly broken down in environmental conditions to compounds such as aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) or sarcosine, with AMPA having a longer half-life and similar toxicity to GP.


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Polyimides as Promising Cathodes for Metal–Organic Batteries: A Comparison between Divalent (Ca2+, Mg2+) and Monovalent (Li+, Na+) Cations

Ca- and Mg-based batteries represent a more sustainable alternative to Li-ion batteries. However, multivalent cation technologies suffer from poor cation mass transport. In addition, the development of positive electrodes enabling reversible charge storage currently represents one of the major challenges. Organic positive electrodes, in addition to being the most sustainable and potentially low-cost candidates, compared with their inorganic counterparts, currently present the best electrochemical performances in Ca and Mg cells.


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ICMAB's research on brain tumor therapy using boron clusters featured in Journal of Materials Chemistry B's prestigious collection

The research article titled "Boron clusters (ferrabisdicarbollides), shaping the future as radiosensitizers for multimodal (chemo/radio/PBFR) therapy of glioblastoma," has been selected for the 'Most Popular' collection in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Journal of Materials Chemistry B, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Top Science Results, Breaking News, Press Review

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Colloidal Silver Nanoparticle Plasmonic Arrays for Versatile Lasing Architectures via Template-Assisted Self-Assembly

The characteristic narrow spectral features of surface lattice resonances emerge as great candidates for the rational design of optical nanocavities targeting enhanced light-matter interaction, ultrasensitive detection, or efficient light-energy conversion. Traditional fabrication of metal arrays involves thermal evaporation and annealing steps, limiting scalability and adaptability. In contrast, template-assisted self-assembly provides a high-throughput all-around approach for implementing colloidal plasmonic metasurfaces on a variety of different materials.


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Conductive Bacterial Nanocellulose-Polypyrrole Patches Promote Cardiomyocyte Differentiation

The low endogenous regenerative capacity of the heart, added to the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, triggered the advent of cardiac tissue engineering in the last decades. The myocardial niche plays a critical role in directing the function and fate of cardiomyocytes; therefore, engineering a biomimetic scaffold holds excellent promise. We produced an electroconductive cardiac patch of bacterial nanocellulose (BC) with polypyrrole nanoparticles (Ppy NPs) to mimic the natural myocardial microenvironment.


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Triplet–triplet annihilation mediated photon upconversion solar energy systems

Solar energy harvesting is among the best solutions for a global transition toward carbon-neutral energy technologies. The existing solar energy harvesting technologies like photovoltaics (PV) and emerging molecular concepts such as solar fuels and molecular solar thermal energy storage (MOST) are rapidly developing. However, to realize their full potential, fundamental solar energy loss channels like photon transmission, recombination, and thermalization need to be addressed. Triplet–triplet annihilation mediated photon upconversion (TTA-UC) is emerging as a way to overcome losses due to the transmission of photons below the PV/chromophore band gap.


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On the Role of the Sr3−xCaxAl2O6 Sacrificial Layer Composition in Epitaxial La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 Membranes

The possibility to fabricate freestanding single crystal complex oxide films has raised enormous interest to be integrated in next-generation electronic devices envisaging distinct and novel properties that can deliver unprecedented performance improvement compared to traditional semiconductors. The use of the water-soluble Sr3Al2O6 (SAO) sacrificial layer to detach the complex oxide film from the growth substrate has significantly expanded the complex oxide perovskite membranes library. Nonetheless, the extreme water sensitivity of SAO hinders its manipulation in ambient conditions and restricts the deposition approaches to those using high vacuum.


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Using pressure to unravel the structure–dynamic-disorder relationship in metal halide perovskites

The exceptional optoelectronic properties of metal halide perovskites (MHPs) are presumed to arise, at least in part, from the peculiar interplay between the inorganic metal-halide sublattice and the atomic or molecular cations enclosed in the cage voids. The latter can exhibit a roto-translative dynamics, which is shown here to be at the origin of the structural behavior of MHPs as a function of temperature, pressure and composition. The application of high hydrostatic pressure allows for unraveling the nature of the interaction between both sublattices, characterized by the simultaneous action of hydrogen bonding and steric hindrance.


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Direct Bottom-Up In Situ Growth: A Paradigm Shift for Studies in Wet-Chemical Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles

Plasmonic gold nanoparticles have been used increasingly in solid-state systems because of their applicability in fabricating novel sensors, heterogeneous catalysts, metamaterials, and thermoplasmonic substrates. While bottom-up colloidal syntheses take advantage of the chemical environment to control size, shape, composition, surface chemistry, and crystallography of the nanostructures precisely, it can be challenging to assemble nanoparticles rationally from suspension onto solid supports or within devices.


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