Three Consolidator Grant projects awarded to Cluster BNC-b researchers

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Jordi Sort, ICREA researcher at the UAB Department of Physics; Neus Sabaté, from the IMB-CSIC and Mariano Campoy, from the ICMAB-CSIC, all three of them members of the UAB-CIE Sphere, have each received a grant from the European Research Council.


Three researchers, one from the UAB and two from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Cluster BNC-b partners in nanoscience and nanotechnology from centres which form part of the UAB-CIE Sphere, have been awarded Consolidator Grants offered by the European Research Council as funding which goes to highly innovative projects. The three scientists, Jordi Sort (UAB), Neus Sabaté (CSIC) and Mariano Campoy (CSIC), work in the field of nanomaterials applied to energy, a strategic line which is generating many expectations due to its ability to contribute to energy saving and to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

Jordi Sort, ICREA research lecturer at the UAB Department of Physics, received 1.75 million euros in funding which he will use over the next five years to develop new nanoporous materials. These materials will serve to build computers which use up almost no electricity and have no energy losses due to heat. Its batteries would have an almost unlimited lifespan. The project, entitled "Merging Nanoporous Materials with Energy-Efficient Spintronics (SPIN-PORICS)", is based on the previous results reached by the group and recent discoveries made in this field. Approximately half a million euros will go to buying new measuring equipment and the a group of six researchers will also be hired. Also participating in this project will be Eva Pellicer, Ramón y Cajal researcher at the UAB Department of Physics, and David Jiménez, lecturer at the UAB Department of Electronic Engineering.

Neus Sabaté, Ramon i Cajal researcher at the CSIC Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM) and head of the micro fuel cells research line, received a total of 1.9 million euros for her project entitled Supercell (Single use paper fuel cells). The objective is to develop fuel cells made on paper which can produce electrical energy from organic molecules such as ethanol, glucose or urea. These energy sources would be ecological, of single use, and would allow powering disposable diagnosis devices such as pregnancy tests or glucometers, using as fuel the same fluid to be analysed. Last year, her team designed the prototype of a micro fluid cell made on paper and the results were published in the journal Science.

Mariano Campoy, researcher of the Nanostructured Materials Group at the CSIC Institute of Material Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), received a total of 2.4 million euros in funding for his FOREMAT project. FOREMAT will be developing innovative technology focused on ultra rapid production and identification of organic materials for the energetic sector (solar panels and thermoelectric devices). At present, setting up these materials is very expensive and this has created a bottleneck which is limiting the further development of these technologies. The project led by Mariano Campoy aims to create the technology necessary to evaluate materials in the shortest time possible (up to 100 times shorter than currently). The objective is to have better performing organic materials destined to panchromatic solar panels, as well as flexible, lightweight, high performance thermoelectric devices in which heat dissipation can be used as a source of energy.

The European Research Council's (ERC) Consolidator Grants are awarded each year to projects of consolidated and renowned scientists of all countries and ages. ERC selects high risk, ground-breaking projects which can open new paths in their fields of research or in related fields.

The nanotechnology Cluster BNC-b was created in 2007 and brings together research centres, laboratories and associated businesses who have the experience and resources needed to advance in the area of nanotechnology and nanomaterials. Located at the UAB campus, it is formed by the CSIC National Centre for Microelectronics (IMB-CNM), the ICN and CSIC Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research Institute (ICN2), the CSIC Institute of Material Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), several UAB research groups, the ALBA Synchrotron, the D&T Microelectrònica, AIE and MATGAS AIE.

The BNC-b includes 700 researchers who produce approximately 50% of all scientific publications in Catalonia in the field of nanoscience and make up the greatest group of researchers in this scientific area in all of the state, as well as the most important scientific pole in nanoscience in Southern Europe.


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