Nanomaterials comes in a large variety of shapes and flavors with unique and interesting properties, but their size makes them highly vulnerable to structural alterations that can drastically changes their properties. This fact has always intrigued me, so my research field revolves around this idea; tune the electronic properties of nanomaterials by the generation of defects and introduction of dopants.
Since I finished my doctoral studies, I had worked with a wide range of nanomaterials such as metal nanoparticles, carbon nanostructures, transition metal oxides, and transition metal dichalcogenides. Nowadays, I still work with most of these materials in applications as electrocatalysts, photocatalysts, sensing elements, or as protective coatings barriers. I often use a combinatory approach of theory and experiment when working on a particular project. The experimental work involves the development of synthesis routes to produce heterogeneous and highly defective nanomaterials as powders, films, or composites, by using non-equilibrium synthesis techniques such as chemical vapor deposition, solid-state microwave-assisted synthesis, and solution precursor plasma spray pyrolysis. The theoretical approach mainly involves investigating the electronic structure, electron transport characteristics, and catalytic activity of materials using density functional theory. I mainly use SIESTA and Quantum Espresso, although LAMMPS (not DFT) pop out from time to time. The use of all these tools and techniques allows me to understand materials at different length scales, from the atomic level up to the macroscopic world.
I did my doctoral studies (2008-2011) under the supervision of Prof. Mauricio Terrones at IPICyT, Mexico. During that time, I worked in the production of heterogeneous systems comprising carbon nanotubes and metal oxides nanoparticles. I studied how the nanoparticles interact with the nanotubes, the possible anchoring points, and properties of the final composite. It was at this part of my studies that I was introduced to the world of computer simulations, in particular to density functional theory, a tool that I still use nowadays.
In 2012 I moved to Sweden to work as a postdoctoral fellow at the Chemistry Department at Umeå University under the guidance of Prof. Thomas Wågberg. Later in 2014 I joined the Department of Physics as a researcher, in 2017 I became assistant professor, and recently in 2021 I became an associate professor.