The ICMAB became a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence in 2016, becoming one of the top research centers in Spain in Materials Science. The associated research programme brings together the institute’s eight research groups in five priority research lines (RL):
These 5 RL are integrated into the three social grand challenges of the 21st Century, aligned with the main European Social Challenges in H2020:
The general objectives of the FUNMAT Severo Ochoa project are:
The Severo Ochoa Centers and María de Maezto Units as in 2019 are illustrated in this map:
CLEAN AND SECURE ENERGY
The Energy sector is facing a new worldwide paradigm with 20 % renewables and 20 % decrease of greenhouse emission for 2020. This requires new ways of producing, storing, transporting and stabilizing electricity. The ICMAB undertakes this challenge reinforcing our expertise in smart functional materials research and strategically developing cost-effective upscalable technologies, from materials choice all along the value chain process to proof-of-concept devices. Our roadmap promotes greener and cost-effective technologies strengthening materials growth from chemical methods and highlighting additive manufacturing technologies for large area materials at high performance/low cost.
SMART AND SUSTAINABLE ELECTRONICS
Current needs in big-data handling are demanding new solutions for the dramatic energy consumption of current computing and data storage devices. Power dissipation and miniaturization are fundamental challenges for nanoelectronic circuits. We envisage sustainable and energy-efficiency approaches to electronics by working along two fronts: exploiting dissipation-less storage and information control by electric fields and involving spin-only currents, rather than charge transport. The use of organic materials/molecules in devices will also provide important guidance towards a new-generation of memories. Great perspectives are expected for the development of devices exploiting the charge as well as the spin of the molecules.
Academia and the innovative industry have directed its interests towards nanomedicine, whose technological breakthrough potentiality is widely acknowledged. It is envisaged that the unique properties of nanomaterials will make a strong impact contributing to solve some of the challenges of Health and Societal Wellbeing. FUNMAT will contribution to Nanomedecine, through improvement of drugs and medicines making them more selective, less toxic, and more efficient. It will also contribute to the advance of medical diagnosis by developing new contrast agents for medical imaging techniques. Further, the use of advanced materials and nanotechnology concepts in synergy with molecular biology will allow the generation of new tools for tissue engineering meaning a giant step for regenerative medicine.
The "Smart Functional Materials for Social Grand Challenges (FUNMAT) Severo Ochoa Project of Excellence involves the following Strategic Priority Actions for the years 2016-2019:
SOMMa (www.somma.es/) is the alliance of Severo Ochoa centres and María de Maeztu units to promote Spanish Excellence in research and to enhance its social impact at national and international levels. SOMMa was officially launched in October 2017.
SOMMa brings together 25 Severo Ochoa centres and 16 María de Maeztu units accredited through these excellence awards and aims to:
The alliance’s starting activities comprised the establishment of its own governance, the launching of the website (somma.es) and the organisation of task forces to address the different objectives.
SOMMa is organized by a Chair, Co-Chair and Project Manager, and by a Steering Committee (SC) in charge of different work packages.
The ICMAB participates in “Work package 3: Outreach”, and helps in the organization of the 100xCiencia meetings.
The ICMAB Communication & Outreach Officer, Anna May Masnou, is also part of the SOMMa Editorial Board, which is in charge of the website and of the press releases of the SOMMa network.
The development of a rechargeable battery technology using light electropositive metal anodes would bring in a breakthrough in energy density. For divalent charge carriers (M2+), the number of ions that must react to achieve a certain electrochemical capacity is diminished by two when compared to Li+. This would allow for the design of higher energy density batteries.
The Superconducting Materials and Large Scale Nanostructures (SUMAN) group has participated in the EU-funded project EUROTAPES, whose main goal is to develop superconducting tapes to improve energy efficiency in Europe. The project, which counts with the participation of excellent researchers in the field, and the involvement of leading global companies and universities, has produced 600 meters of superconducting tape with an innovative method that reduces superconductor production cost, simplifies the architecture of these materials, and improves their capacity in high magnetic fields at various temperature scales.
A group of researchers of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB – CSIC) has made a discovery that could entail the replacement in the future of the currently omnipresent Lithium–ion batteries. From mobiles to laptops, drills to hedge trimmers, or electric bicycles and cars, these batteries are used in countless devices, small and large. Now, building on top of their previous discoveries in this field, the research group of M. Rosa Palacín has proven the feasibility of electrochemically extracting calcium from a calcium containing oxide.
La élite de la ciencia española se queja del ahogo de las leyes (El País, 03/11/2017)