Material Physics Center – (MPC-CFM) is a centre created to foster international excellence in advanced materials nanoscience fundamental research. MPC-CFM research activity covers electronic, magnetic, optical and dielectric properties of condensed and soft matter systems, as well as surfaces and nanostructured architectures. Physical and chemical properties of materials and molecular assemblies are addressed by analysing their properties at the nanoscale. This is carried out by following a two-fold strategy, which consists of theoretical and experimental research methods that target the study of nanoscale properties of matter.
MPC-CFM research activities are grouped into four (4) main lines, although the organisational structure remains fully horizontal and cross-linked, since multidisciplinary research is actively pursued:
I. CHEMICAL PHYSICS OF COMPLEX MATERIALS
This research line addresses the structural and electronic properties of complex nanostructured materials, particularly in the presence of molecules. Both experimental and theoretical efforts are combined to understand the properties, formation and dynamics of different molecules and nanostructures at surfaces. Within this research line, there is a recent thematic area related to nanomedicine. The experimental research group ‘Nanophysics Lab’ at MPC-CFM is contributing with know-how in surface physics and nanotechnology in the development of optical detectors that allow detecting the presence of molecules that are part of specific viruses, for example the proteins that coat coronaviruses.
II. ELECTRONIC PROPERTIES AT THE NANOSCALE
This research line focuses on the theoretical investigation of electronic properties of solids, surfaces, nanostructures, and low-dimensional systems, including spintronics, nanomagentism, or attosecond dynamics in solids. The activity within this research line covers the study of a wide range of advanced materials at microscopic and mesoscopic scales, such as materials under high pressure or ceramics and cement-based materials. This latter are also studied experimentally, using equipment for synthesizing ceramics and cements.
This research line deals with the experimental and theoretical study of the interaction of radiation with matter from different and complementary approaches: (i) the interaction of light with metallic and semiconductor nanostructures to confine and engineer electromagnetic fields in the nanoscale, (ii) the optical properties of new materials and elements that provide improved properties in a variety of lasing effects, as well as the design of novel photonic structures that provide laser confinement for bioimaging, and (iii) spectroscopy and photonic applications of nano-scale functional units, including different types of low-dimensional systems. The experimental research groups within Photonics research line are recently working on a new thematic area related to biomedicine. Among other projects, they are contributing with know-how in optics and nanotechnology in the development of optical detectors that allow detecting the presence of molecules that are part of specific viruses, for example the proteins that coat coronaviruses.
IV. POLYMERS AND SOFT MATTER
This research line deals with the experimental and theoretical study of polymers and soft condensed matter materials, focusing mainly on the investigation of the structure and dynamics of polymers and glass-forming complex systems (multi-component, nano-structured and biopolymer materials) at different length and time scales (micro, nano, meso, macro). The following specific objectives have been targeted: (i) understanding of the interplay of geometry and topology in polymeric materials, (ii) the characterisation of interfacial features, and (iii) the study of the dynamics at the interfacial level, the new confinement effects and the way local friction arises in crowed environments. The recently created “Quantum Beams and Sustainable Materials” group complements the research line making extensive use of beams of quantum particles like neutrons or photons in tandem with computational materials modelling to interrogate, understand and design novel functional materials for energy applications and sustainability.
Overall, within this scientific structure, the applicant could collaborate with the different MPC-CFM research groups working on the following main strategic topics at MPC-CFM: Nanophotonics; Two-dimensional materials; Topological materials; Soft matter; Ab-initio characterization of nanostructured materials; Surface Nanophysics; Nanodevices; Quantum Technologies; Ceramics and Cement-based materials; and Neutron Techniques in Materials Science.
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