Postdoctorate (2006-2010, MEC and CSIC contracts) Instituto de Química Avanzada de Cataluña (IQAC), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Barcelona, SPAIN
Postdoctorate: (2004-2006, European Project contract) Institut Charles Sadron (ICS), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Strasbourg, FRANCE
Ph.D. THESIS: (2000 - 2004) Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, ENGLAND
BACHELORS: (1993-1997) Bachelors in Industrial Chemistry, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), Monterrey, MEXICO.
Microemulsions (o/w, w/o and bicontinuous) as confined reaction media for the synthesis of various metallic and metal oxide nanoparticles.
Surfactant systems phase behaviour and other colloidal systems: catanionic surfactant mixtures, vesicles, nano-emulsions, micelles, liquid crystals, Langmuir monolayers, fluorinated systems, emulsions.
To understand the interfacial and colloidal properties of surfactant systems with the aim of using them for applications related with materials science, with a particular focus on their use as confined reaction media for the synthesis of advanced nanomaterials.
MAIN RESEARCH WORK
We are using microemulsions for the synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials. In the traditional method, water-in-oil (w/o) microemulsions are used, which is accompanied by the use of high amounts of organic solvents. In collaboration with IQAC (CSIC Barcelona) and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Stockholm), a novel approach based in oil-in-water (o/w) microemulsions was developed, which consists in the use of organometallic precursors, dissolved in nanometric scale oil droplets, stabilized by surfactant and dispersed in a continuous aqueous phase (Figure 1). The use of a predominantly aqueous media influences in a positive way in the environmental, economic, and scale-up aspects in general. Using this method a variety of inorganic nanoparticles have been synthesized successfully (Pt, Pd, Rh, Co, Cu, Ni, CeO2, ZrO2, TiO2, CuO, ZnO, Fe2Mn0.5Zn0.5O2, Eu-doped ceria and zirconia, NixCo(1-x)Fe2O4, ZnO, etc) . Such materials presented a small and uniform size, nanocrystalline structure, high specific surface area, mesoporosity, controlled shape, and various properties (superparamagnetism, fluorescence, photo-luminescence, high catalytic activity, electrical properties, etc). The possibility to control these properties offers great perspectives for using these materials in various applications such as energy scavenging (photovoltaic cells, RF and thermal rectifiers, thermoelectric cells), fuel cells, nanomedicine, biosensors, NMR imaging, hyperthermia, water treatment, protein purification, smart coatings, batteries, etc. We collaborate with colleagues from CIMAV, as well as researchers from abroad, mainly: Prof. C. Solans (IQAC-CSIC, Spain); Prof. M. Boutonnet (KTH, Sweden) and Dr. C. Tiseanu (INFLPR, ROMANIA).
Group members: Ma. Antonia Cardona Castro (2nd year Masters), German Vidal-Lopez and Maira B. Moreno-Trejo (1st year Masters, co-directed by Dr. A. Morales (CIMAV) and Dr. A. Suarez (CIATEJ)), and Andrea V. Vela-Gonzalez (B.Sc. thesis codirected by Dr. A. Garcia-Garcia, FCQ-UANL). Also: Kelly Pemartin, (3rd year Ph.D. Student from IQAC-CSIC, co-directed by Prof. C. Solans). Former members (in IQAC-CSIC): Carolina Aubery (Masters and Ph.D. thesis, graduated in Nov. 2011) and Houria Koleilat (internship). Finally, M. Aguilera (1st year Masters) is working with smart coatings, directed by Dr. A. Arizmendi (CIMAV), and co-directed by Dr. M. Sanchez-Dominguez.
Figure 1: The novel O/W microemulsion reaction method for nanoparticle preparation