Group of Spectroscopy and Thermodynamics at High Pressures

Department of Physical Chemistry
Faculty of Chemical Science

Research Goals and Motivation: Three decades ago our group focused on the study of condensed matter by thermodynamic and spectroscopic methods, requiring the design and setup of new experimental techniques and the development of theoretical interpretative models and computational tools. Our aim is to understand the structure, properties and stability of materials when exposed to external stimuli (pressure, temperature, electromagnetic radiation or chemical environment) and to hypothesize about how they will evolve and transform. Application Areas: mechanochemistry, extreme conditions, novel materials, carbon materials, water-based systems, geomaterials and cultural heritage, meteorites and planetary/space exploration, instrumentation, signal analysis. Research Track Record: 12 PhD Thesis and more than 30 Ms and undergraduate thesis, more that 6 M€ funding managed, more than 150 research papers and 200 conference communications, hosts of two international conferences on high pressure, regular organizers of high presssure and spectroscopy wokshops and schools since 2004. Non-Academic Institutions Contacts: Microbeam SA (Arturo Prudencio, CEO, arturo.prudencio@microbeam.es), Raman Health Technologies SL (Carlo Zanotti, CEO, czanotti@ramanht.com), Probtech Innovations SL (Untzizu Elejalde, Director, director@probtechinnovations.com).

Our research facilities are distributed in several locations at the university campus: @Faculty of Chemical Science: Raman spectroscopy and microscopy facility: Raman setups (4) including (near-UV/visible/near-IR) laser excitation sources, 2D/3D imaging capabilities and dedicated platforms for pressure/temperature chambers. Extreme conditions full-equipped facility: Anvil-cell setups mounting diamond/moissanite/sapphire anvils (Pressure range: 1-50 GPa), and a complete set of Linkam stages (Temperature range: 80-1800 K). @Institute of Geosciences IGEO (CSIC-UCM): Microscopy and Mineralogy Laboratory (owned): X-Ray Diffraction (both powder and single-crystal analysis), and optical and petrological microscopies. Petrophysics Laboratory (shared, certified under UNE-EN-ISO 9001:2015): Physical analysis of rocks and building materials for architectonic heritage, including in-field tests and non-destructive analysis using portable FTIR and Raman spectrographs.

Our group has led the field of high pressure in Chemistry at a national level and has strengthened its leadership in this area at an international level. Our expertise can be outlined in that we can control and interpret the physical-chemical consequences of the application of pressure in diverse materials. The use of vibrational spectroscopy as a diagnostic technique -mainly Raman spectroscopy- along with developing theoretical models and performing computational calculations, enables us to correlate local properties (e.g. bond strengths) with macroscopic properties of the systems studied; hence the diversity in the topics of our research over the years. We have taken full advantage of the inter- and multi-disciplinary nature of the high pressure science and technology, and applied our knowledge to a range of fields, enabling us to collaborate with many different types of research groups. Currently, our scientific interests are equally divided between applications in molecular mechanochemistry and the development of protocols of analysis based on spectroscopic imaging techniques. The interested researcher will be able to apply state-of-the-art methodologies to the study of carbon-related systems, from graphite-related systems to meteoritic carbonaceous chondrites, or to the effect of pressure on macromolecular formations. The subject of the UNA4CAREER action is subordinated to the candidate’s initiative and will be discussed on demand in a preliminary interview.