PhD Position in Magnetic Nanoparticles

 We announce a 4 years PhD grant (+ travel allowances) to work in the Instituto Regional de Investigación Científica Aplicada (IRICA) in the Ciudad Real campus under the supervision of Prof. Chris Binns.

Project: The student will contribute to the set up and exploitation of a new high-vacuum facility to prepare liquid dispersions of heterostructured magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications. In parallel, the student will be introduced and take part in ongoing studies on the magnetism of thin nanoparticle stripes and self-assembled systems.
Qualifications: Candidates must have a Master’s degree in Physics, Materials Science or Engineering by 15/Sept/2020 in order to enroll in UCLM’s Escuela Internacional de Doctorado.
Evaluation based on: Skype/on-site interview, academic record, English level (Spanish not mandatory but valuable), lab experience, programming, …
Contact: Please send your CV and motivation letter (English or Spanish) to and

Deadline for interviews:  15/May/2020.

Starting Date: Fall/2020.

SQUIDing and skiing with the ApNANO group

Verner Håkonsen (in the picture with Jose Angel), from the NTNU Nanomechanical Lab at Trondheim (Norway), has been with us in Ciudad Real for the last 10 days to further our collaboration on superstructures of Fe oxide nanocubes (see three posts below for a summary of our recent paper in AFM). As you can see, we also managed to find some time for what would be a glorious day of skiing in Sierra Nevada.

Chris Binns will join the ApNANO group in February-2020

Chris Binns, Emeritus Professor of Nanoscience at the University of Leicester, was in Ciudad Real last October to sign his “Beatriz Galindo distinguished researcher” contract and will join the ApNano group in February/2020. The research project that won him the senior Beatriz Galindo grant (one of only 100 nationwide) is based on the gas-phase synthesis of magnetic hydrosols for biomedical applications. We look forward to implementing it and, generally, to benefitting from Chris’s large experience in nanoparticle deposition and characterization. Bienvenido a La Mancha, Chris!

Can we go together? Individual vs Collective Behavior in Binary systems

 The journal Chemistry of Materials has just accepted for publication our study (in collaboration with long-term collaborators) on the magnetism of random binary compacts comprising two uniformly mixed populations of soft and hard nanoparticles (preprint here). It turns out that the answer we have found for the question above is «it depends where!», as we inform directly in the title of the paper: «Simultaneous individual and dipolar collective properties in binary assemblies of magnetic nanoparticles». We have shown how compact mixtures may be employed as a tool to test or, rather, to define the collective character of a given magnetic property as that resulting in the collapse of the individual features caused by strong enough interactions. Crucially, such collective character must, in general, be ascribed to specific properties and not to the system as a whole. 

Magnetically Enhanced Mechanical Stability in Self-Assembled Superstructures of Nanocubes

The ApNano group has taken part, in collaboration with researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and from the University of Sydney, in an investigation of magnetically enhanced mechanical stability in self-assembled nanostructures. The results, which have just been published in Advanced Functional Materials, combine Monte Carlo simulations, magnetic characterization and electronic microscopy to conclude a significant increase in cohesive energy from the magnetostatic interactions between magnetite nanocubes assembled in dense superstructures. This increase depends strongly on the size of the assembly. The discovery of this effect opens new possibilities in size-controlled tuning of superstructure properties, thus contributing to the design of next-generation self-assembled materials with simultaneous enhancement of magnetic and mechanical properties.

Spring Training at ApNANO for Francesca and Chiara

Chiara Olla (University of Cagliari) and Francesca Airaldi (University of Genoa) just left us after spending three months in our lab as Erasmus+ trainees. Both will next defend their Master degrees projects with new data and training in magnetometry and X-ray diffraction. We learnt with Chiara about the magnetism and structure of luminescent carbon dots doped with gadolinium synthesized in a mesoporous silica matrix, whereas Francesca studied

magnetic properties of different bi-magnetic core/shell ferrite nanoparticles. Both will pursue PhD studies back in Italy, best of luck with it!

Alberto López Ortega new research member at the ApNANO group

Alberto López Ortega has joined the Applied Nanomagnetism group as an assistant professor. He will teach at the Escuela de Ingeniería Industrial y Aeroespacial in Toledo. He obtained his Degree on Chemistry at the Universitat de Barcelona in 2007 and his PhD in Materials Science at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2012 (with an Outstanding Award). He subsequently spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Univerità degli Studi di Firenze (Italy) and came back to Spain with a Juan de la Cierva – Incorporación fellowship to the research center CIC-Nanogune (San Sebastián, Spain), where he spent another three years.

In particular, Alberto’s expertise in the synthesis of magnetic nanostructures by colloidal and electron beam lithography methods (with special emphasis in the development of complex hybrid bi-magnetic nanoparticles and magneto-plasmonic heterostructures) is a great new asset for our group. You are most welcome, Alberto!

Nanoparticle Stripes prepared for the first time

In collaboration with Instituto Rocasolano (CSIC, Madrid), who provided laser-irradiated undulated polymer substrates, we have succeeded in the preparation of nanoparticle stripes by self-shadowing deposition of gas-aggregated Pd particles. This novel type of nanostructure, with promising anisotropic properties, was one of the main objectives of our ongoing national project. The synthesis procedure, as well as optical, electrical and hydrogen-detection properties, have been submitted to the journal Applied Surface Science.

El grupo ApNANO de la UCLM organiza un simposio de sustitución de materiales críticos en el congreso anual de la European Materials Research Society (E-MRS)

Esta semana se celebra en Estrasburgo el E-MRS Spring Meeting, con unos 3000 ponentes distribuidos en 28 simposios. Uno de ellos, titulado “Sustitución y Reciclado de Materias Primas Críticas en Dispositivos Optoelectrónicos, Magnéticos y para Energía”, ha sido organizado por los profesores José Ángel De Toro (del Applied Nanomagnetism Group, ApNano, en el Instituto Regional de Investigación Científica Aplicada, IRICA, de Ciudad Real), Carlo Ricci (Universidad de Cagliari) y Patrice Miska (Universidad de Lorraine).

Desde 2011 la Comisión Europea (CE) publica cada tres años una relación de materiales críticos para la industria europea evaluando, de un lado, la relevancia tecnológica de las diferentes materias primas (excluidos los combustibles) y, de otro, el riesgo de suministro, a su vez determinado por la abundancia y concentración geopolítica de los materiales. Por ejemplo, en la última revisión de la CE (enlace), los elementos de la familia de las tierras raras –cruciales, entre otras aplicaciones, en los motores de coches eléctricos y en generadores eólicos- fueron evaluados como los de mayor riesgo de suministro, ya que China controla el 95% de la producción mundial. Las tierras raras han encontrado gran eco mediático recientemente en nuestra comunidad debido a la controversia sobre la posible extracción de monacita en el Campo de Montiel. Una de las líneas del ApNANO busca precisamente reducir el uso de tierras raras en nanocomposites magnéticos (proyecto NANOESENS, financiado por el MICINN).

El simposio reúne más de 100 contribuciones de investigadores de 30 países, con presencia destacada de Italia, Corea del Sur y España. Entre ellas caben destacar los seminarios a cargo del Director del Instituto Europeo de Tecnología en Materias Primas (EIT Raw Materials), Didier Zimmerman, y de la asociación Enterprises pour la Environment (EpE), que gestiona los intereses mediambientales para las grandes empresas en Francia.

Los organizadores del simposio en sustitución de materiales críticos, que se celebra actualmente en el marco del congreso anual de la Sociedad Europea de Materiales

Maral Ghoshani arrives to Ciudad Real to pursue a double PhD (UCLM-Esfahan University)

Maral received an Iranian fellowship to come to work with the ApNano group. She will stay with us the whole 2018 year researching on the exchange-bias properties of different nanostructured materials.
Jessica Satta (University of Cagliari) shared office with Maral during her Erasmus+ stay in our group (April-June 2018), a stay essentially devoted to X-Ray Diffraction characterization of luminescent materials under Peter Normile’s guidance.