Superconducting Materials and Functional Nanoengineered Structures Group

Superconducting Materials and Large Scale Nanostructures, SUMAN department has been active in the field of superconducting materials since the discovery of High Temperature superconductors, more than 20 years ago, it has widely contributed to the field of vortex pinning analysis and materials development for more than 15 years and more recently, since about ten years, it has shifted its interests towards the chemical solution approaches to superconducting thin films and coated conductors, due to its high potential in terms of cost-effectiveness for practical applications.
Moreover, the department is contributing to promote and develop the area of nanostructuration through chemical methods. This is a transverse emerging methodology of wide functional interest in which several new breakthroughs have already been achieved recently. In the area of vortex pinning, we are studying the new ideas of ferromagnetic pinning which appeared quite recently, though already started to be explored in LTS, their capabilities in HTS has not been explored at all. Overall, the research approach of the department is based on very vast scientific and technological interests which try to combine the generation of new knowledge in several fields (physics, materials, chemistry, nanotechnology) with the development of processes and materials generating industrial outputs (coated conductors, multifunctional oxide nanostructures) at effective costs (chemical deposition methods) and having a very significant attractive for a strategic sector with one of the highest social and environmental concern: the development of a sustainable energy paradigm.

The “Superconducting Materials and large scale nanostructures, SUMAN” group has experience of more than 20 years in the research field of superconducting materials and development of their applications. At this moment the group is constituted by 2 Professors, 1 Research Scientist, 5 Tenured scientists, 1 Ramón y Cajal (RyC), 5 Post-docs, 14 PhD students and 2 technicians. In addition, we have a long cooperation tradition of more than 14 years with 2 professors, one from U. Lleida and another from EUSS, and 6-year cooperation with 2 professors from UAB. The gender balance has been carefully considered and at present, 50% of permanent staff are female researchers and 47% of the overall group components are women. Regarding the internationalization of the members of SUMAN is high: 50 % of the PhD students and an overall rate of 37 % of active members are foreigners.

The members’ expertise is very diverse and complementary confirming our compromise with an interdisciplinary and global research. Among the doctors we are 7 physicists, 1 materials engineer and 5 chemists and among the PhD students we have 5 physicists and 8 chemists and 1 electric engineer specialized in superconductivity. Our interdisciplinary research is also reflected in our areas of publications according to the Web of Science: 50% is classified in Applied Physics, 30% in Physics of Condensed Matter, 30% in Materials Science Multidisciplinarity, 20% to Chemistry Multidisciplinary, 16% in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 12% to Chemistry Physical and 8% to Engineering Electrical and Electronic. 

Indicators of the group in the last 5 years

  • We have published more than 120 articles in international journals, many of them in high impact index journals and 4 publications in books chapters
  • 17 PhD Thesis have been completed (18 PhD thesis more are currently on-going)
  • 6 patents have been filed
  • 67 invited or plenary talks and 93 oral talks have been given in international Conferences
  • Several outreached activities (29 seminars and conferences, 12 publications, 4 videos, 8 exhibitions, 5 TV and radio programs and 5 other) have been given
  • 4 members of the group are active Editorial members of publishing societies (Superconducting Science and Technology, Physica C, Scientific Reports-Nature Group, European Superconductivity News Forum and J. Materials) 
  • The spin-off company OXOLUTIA S.L., funded in 2010, is still active
  • Four prizes have been received: Ciutat de Barcelona to Experimental Science and Technology (2015), Leibniz Medal of the Institute of Solid State and Materials Research, Dresden (2016); Newspaper Regió 7 -2017- Ambassador Award and Research Award L’Oréal-Unesco “For Women in Science” (2017)
  • Scientific collaborators include over 30 international institutions, 3 technological centres, 20 companies and 20 national research groups
The central activity of the group is directed towards epitaxial film growth and properties of complex oxide materials. We address this activity from the process, properties and device perspective. We are specialized in low cost chemical synthesis of epitaxial film growth, namely chemical solution deposition, including metalorganic decomposition and polymer assisted deposition (PAD), Atomic layer deposition (ALD) and synthesis of nanoparticles from solvothermal synthesis using thermal, microwave and autoclave synthesis. We are guided by the fundamental knowledge on materials and science and we are presently investigating the physical phenomena of novel vortex pinning and defect engineering in superconducting films, Resistive Switching in oxide perovskite Mott insulators, ferromagnetic tunnel barriers and ferroelectric perovskite oxides for photovoltaics. Our strong expertise in growth methods, advanced physical properties, Electron Transmission Microscopy, XPS, SPM and advanced XRD have been fundamental for getting consolidated internationally. We visualize our activity with a knowledge transfer approach, therefore we are prompt to utilize low cost screening techniques also for deposition (ink jet printing with combinatorial chemistry). In 2010, the group created a spin-off company, OXOLUTIA S.L., now participated by La Farga and Victoria Venture Capital, with the mission to develop scalable continuous processes for the deposition and growth of superconducting tapes and printable oxides. At present, Dr. Albert Calleja (a previous RyC member of our group) is the CEO and two former Doctorates from the group are leading the technological actions. Finally, we close the cycle with an important activity in materials integration into devices in collaboration with external engineering groups and industries.The prime research line of the group, and the one with most funding, is still that on high temperature superconductors, addressed towards the scientific challenge SC1: Nanocomposite HTS Coated Conductors for Energy Efficiency, where we are international leaders in the growth of superconducting nanocomposite films through chemical solution deposition methods, and vortex pinning understanding and correlation with (nano)microstructure. This activity has raised by its own, in the last 5, years 9 M€ (including a FP7 large integrating project EUROTAPES, H2020 ERC Adv Grant, H2020 collaborative project FASTGRID, CERN collaborative project, 2 MINECO RTC industrial projects). Nowadays this research is the core of one of the 5 research lines of the SEVERO OCHOA action of ICMAB and we are recognized worldwide leaders in the field. We have established several international collaborations, and we are common users at Synchrotron facilities and High magnetic field installations. We have collaborated with Bruker GmbH, Nexans, Theva, D-Nano, Gamesa, Chimigraf, La Farga, Endesa, in the integration of high temperature superconducting materials into devices (high power cables, fault current limiter, wind generators, …). We also are presently active in a collaborative project with CERN together with ALBA, IFAE and UPC for the study of integrating HTS materials in future high energy circular accelerators, and we are involved in Fusion Reactors, through the EUROFUSION actions. In addition, we participate in European associations and forums as European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) and European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA). During the last 5 years, the group expanded to other oxide functional materials where chemical solution deposition methods could bring innovation. This is addressed in our second challenge SC2: Oxide perovskite films for Green Oxide electronics, where the full knowledge acquired by the group is directed to innovative approaches on RRAM, MRAM, fluxonics and photovoltaics using complex oxides with Mott insulator, ferromagnetic, superconducting, ferroelectric properties. This action was funded partially by 2 national projects from the Materials program (1M€) and was also included in the ICMAB strategic actions, SEVERO OCHOA- FUNMAT 2016-2019 coordinated by Prof. X. Obradors (member of this group) with an overall funding of 4 M€. We have been able to boost innovation and excellence in this new area due to our complementary expertise in Chemical solution deposition, PAD, ALD growth processes and fundamental knowledge on functional oxides, as exemplified with our publications in the field. In the more applied research we have a collaboration with ETSE-UAB, and the Optoelectronics group of ICMAB
Group Leader

Prof. Teresa Puig

tel: +34 935 801 853 ext 308

Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona ICMAB CSIC


Campus de la UAB, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
+34 935 801 853 ext 371