New Year Message from B-MRS.

With this New Year Message, I greet the entire B-MRS community in Brazil and abroad.

There is great expectation that in 2019 Brazil will resume its investments in science, technology and innovation, which we believe to be minimally necessary for the continuation of our system, developed with tremendous effort over the last decades. For the meeting that the academic community had with the future minister of science and technology in early December 2018, the main suggestion B-MRS sent was about reinstating the budget in the area. It is known that Brazil needs to invest much more in the generation of knowledge to solve its serious economic and social problems. Reinstating the budget is merely the first and most urgent step given the situation of universities and research centers in the country. Also important and part of B-MRS ‘s suggestions is the emphasis on partnerships between ministries to address the problems of society at large, which always entail knowledge, technology and innovation, and the search for synergy with the private sector to transform knowledge into wealth and social well-being.

The materials area in particular has proved to be essential for any and all development. From fundamental discoveries of basic science for the understanding of nature and the conquest of space, to applications in medicine and agriculture, areas that today advance significantly from new materials and methodologies created to study them. In Brazil, for example, the inauguration of the first phase of Sirius, a new source of synchrotron light, at the National Center for Research in Energy and Materials, revealed a masterpiece of materials science and engineering. Even more relevant is that much of this technology is Brazilian.

B-MRS has continuously strived to provide space for researchers from Brazil and abroad to communicate and discuss their scientific and technological contributions and to seek partnerships for new challenges in a highly multidisciplinary field. Our last meeting in Natal (RN), in September 2018, repeated the success of previous editions with this perspective. Some of the many advances in materials science and technology have been highlighted in the B-MRS Newsletters, as a sample of the quality work being done in Brazil. B-MRS also considers scientific dissemination as strategic. In 2018 it created a new section of the Newsletter, entitled “From idea to innovation,” with special reports on the effect of technologies that reached society.

I end by thanking the B-MRS community, wishing all much health and success in 2019, and hoping to meet many of you in our next Meeting at Balneário Camboriú (SC), September 22-26.

Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior

President of B-MRS

ano novo sbpmat

People from the community: interview with the re-elected president of B-MRS, Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior.

Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr
Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr

Reelected in January of this year, Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior (IFSC-USP) began his second consecutive mandate as president of the Brazilian Materials Research Society (B-MRS) this February, together with a partially renewed board of directors, composed of Professor Rubem Luis Sommer (CBPF) in the administration, finance and equity sector, and  as scientific directors, Professors Antonio Eduardo Martinelli (UFRN), Daniel Eduardo Weibel (UFRGS), Glaura Goulart Silva (UFMG), Iêda Maria Garcia dos Santos (UFPB) and Mônica Alonso Cotta (Unicamp). This board will manage the society for two years until the end of 2019.

Currently, Professor Novais de Oliveira Junior (or “Chu”, as he is known) is a full professor at the São Carlos Institute of Physics – University of São Paulo (IFSC-USP) and associate editor of the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. With an H index of 58, his name is among the 100 scientists in Brazil of all areas with higher H index. He is author of about 500 articles and his works include nearly 15,500 citations (Google Scholar data).

In this interview, the re-elected president speaks a little about his first term in B-MRS, the management he will initiate in this new mandate and his current scientific activities.

B-MRS Newsletter: You have just completed your first term as president of B-MRS. Share with our readers your thoughts about the results achieved by the board you presided over.

Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior:  In the last mandate the board’s priority was to keep the Annual Meetings at a high level, despite the financial crisis Brazil’s science, technology and innovation system is undergoing. In addition to this priority, we continued the endeavors of previous boards in the internationalization of SBPMat, which include partnerships with scientific societies from other countries.

B-MRS Newsletter: – You have just accepted a new two-year term as president of SBPMat. Comment on your plans and expectations.

Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior: The expectations of the Board of Directors are to be able to continue the activities that made SBPMat one of the most active and prestigious scientific societies in Brazil. The main plans I want to highlight concern working toward a greater insertion in the society, with the task of disseminating the contributions of science and technology to the country, and to increase the number of B-MRS members.

B-MRS Newsletter:  About your scientific research work, share with us what you are doing.

Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior: My group`s research work, in partnership with other groups in Brazil and abroad, focuses on two areas: i) the study and use of materials for biology and medicine, for example using biosensors for early diagnosis of cancer and determination of mechanisms at the molecular level of drugs to combat super-resistant bacteria. ii) the use of statistical physics methodologies and complex networks for text analysis, such as authorship identification of books and verification of multidisciplinarity in the scientific literature.

B-MRS Newsletter: If you wish, use this space to leave a message for the B-MRS members and the community that follows the news of this newsletter.

Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior: I and the new board hope to have the enthusiastic support of the community, as in recent years.


Learn more about the trajectory of our president (interview of January 2016).

See the mini-CVs of the board members.

B-MRS members named editors of international scientific journals.

Prof. Novais de Oliveira Jr (left), associate editor of ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces with editor-in -chief Prof. Schanze at XVI B-MRS Meeting.
Prof. Novais de Oliveira Jr (left), associate editor of ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces with editor-in -chief Prof. Schanze at XVI B-MRS Meeting.

B-MRS President Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior is the newest associate editor of ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, an ACS Publications journal with an impact factor of 7,504. The full professor of IFSC – USP (Institute of Physics of São Carlos of the University of São Paulo) assumed this post in early September. At B-MRS, Oliveira Junior has been administrative director and counselor, and has been chairing the society since early 2016.

The Solar Energy journal (impact factor 4,018) also recently incorporated a member of B-MRS among its editors, Carlos Frederico de Oliveira Graeff, full professor and pro-rector of research at Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho). Graeff was named associate editor in the area of Photovoltaics in this periodical of the publisher Elsevier. A member of B-MRS since its beginning, Graeff was scientific director of the society and served on the scientific committee of the B-MRS Newsletter.

Finally, Carlos José Leopoldo Constantino, also a professor at Unesp and a member of the B-MRS community, took over as Associate Editor in the Nanomaterials area of the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (Impact Factor 1,483) from American Scientific Publishers.

Prof. Graeff (left) and Constantino, associate editors of international journals.
Prof. Graeff (left) and Constantino, associate editors of international journals.

SBPMat newsletter. English edition. Year 3, issue 1.


Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat) newsletter
News update from Brazil for the Materials community

English edition. Year 3, issue 1. 

SBPMat news: XV Meeting - Campinas (SP), Sept 25-29, 2016 

Simposia: Symposia proposals on subjects of Materials Science and Technology can be submitted up to February 11 (extended deadline).  The submission is open to the international scientific community. Read more.

Venue: Visit the site of event and watch the video about the city of Campinas and the folder on the Expo D. Pedro convention center. 

Organization: This edition of the event is chaired by UNICAMP Professors Ana Flávia Nogueira (Institute of Chemistry) and Mônica Alonso Cotta (Institute of Physics “Gleb Wataghin”). Find the members of the local committee here.

Featured paper 

The performance of organic solar cells, devices that are able to produce electricity from sunlight, can now be assessed more accurately thanks to research entirely conducted at the São Carlos Institute of Physics of the University of São Paulo (IFSC-USP). The study included a series of experiments and the development of an analytical model, and led to the publication of a paper on the journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. Read our story about the study. 


People in the Materials community 

We interviewed Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior, Professor at the São Carlos Institute of Physics (USP), who took office as SBPMat’s president on last Friday. We discussed his life history, career and plans for SBPMat. Osvaldo Novais does not belong to the group of people who discover early a professional vocation, but this has not impede the developing a scientific career with great results, such as an H index of 53. Passionate about knowledge, he made important contributions to the field of Materials, particularly for the study and application of Langmuir films and the development of electronic tongues, in addition to participating in the creation of the first software for grammar revision in Portuguese, as well as studying and promoting how to write good papers in English. In his message to the youth, the scientist stressed the importance of language proficiency (Portuguese, English, Mathematics) as base for lifelong learning. Read our interview. 

Edgar D. Zanotto and Victor C. Pandolfelli, both Full Professors of the Materials Engineering Department at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), received special honors from the Rector, Professor Targino de Araújo Filho, at the closing ceremony of UFSCar’s 45th anniversary celebrations. 


Reading tips

  • Borophene, a two-dimensional metallic, conductive material made of boron atoms (based on Science paper). Here.

  • Strange, but real: structures that expand volumetrically, both when streched and compressed (based on paper on Nature Materials, section “News and Views”). Here.
  • Healthcare materials: responding to UV light stimulus, hydrogel capsules can release RNA “on demand” (based on Advance Healthcare Materials paper). Here.

  • Postdoctoral fellowship in confocal microscopy and cell membrane models. Here.


  • 5th International Conference on Surface Metrology. Póznan (Poland). April, 4 to 7, 2016.  Site.
  • 43rd International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films (ICMCTF). San Diego (USA). April, 25 to 29, 2016. Site.
  • 9th Brazilian-German Workshop on Applied Surface Science. Maresias, SP (Brazil). April, 10 to 15, 2016. Site.
  • 40th WOCSDICE ‐ Workshop on Compound Semiconductor Devices and Integrated Circuits held in Europe & 13th EXMATEC ‐ Expert Evaluation and Control of Compound Semiconductor Materials and Technologies. Aveiro (Portugal). June, 6 to 10, 2016. Site.
  • Photonic Colloidal Nanostructures: Synthesis, Properties, and Applications (PCNSPA Conference 2016). Saint Petersburg (Russia). June, 27 to July, 1, 2016.  Site.
  • XXV International Conference on Raman Spectroscopy (ICORS2016). Fortaleza, CE (Brazil). August, 14 to 19, 2016.  Site.
  • XV Encontro da SBPMat. Campinas, SP (Brazil). September, 25 to 29, 2016. Site.
  • Aerospace Technology 2016. Stockholm (Sweden). October, 11 to 12, 2016. Site.

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SBPMat´s community people: interview with Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior.

On January 29, 2016, in the city of Campinas (São Paulo State, Brazil), Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior took office in the new executive board of the Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat), acting as president. Novais is a professor of the São Carlos Institute of Physics (IFSC) at the University of São Paulo (USP). He has been a researcher in the field of Materials for 35 years, during which time he has published over 460 articles in indexed journals, 7 patents and 16 book chapters, among other publications. In total, the scientific production of professor Osvaldo has received, so far, over 8,500 citations according to Web of Science (index h=46) and 12,100 (h = 53) according to Google Scholar.

Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr. was born on August 13, 1960 in Barretos, a city of the northern part of the State of São Paulo that, at that time, had approximately 60,000 inhabitants. When he was a teenager, he received the nickname of Chu, which accompanies him to this day, being also part of his professional electronic address.

He began his university studies in the Educational Foundation of Barretos. In 1980, while he was attending courses to obtain a teaching degree in Physics, he transferred to IFSC/USP to pursue a Bachelor degree in Physics, and started to work in research projects in the Electrets Group, nowadays referred to as Polymers Group “Bernhard Gross”. Within such group he began his master’s degree in 1983, supervised by professor Guilherme Fontes Leal Ferreira, obtaining in 1984 the title of Master in Applied Physics. In the following year he began to teach courses in the Bachelor Degree in Physics at USP São Carlos and continued developing research activities in the Polymers Group.

In 1986, he moved from São Carlos to the Welsh city of Bangor, United Kingdom, for doctoral degree studies in the University of Wales – nowadays Bangor University. In 1990, he obtained the title of Doctor in Electronic Engineering by defending his doctoral dissertation concerning electrical properties of Langmuir films, supervised by professor David Martin Taylor.

Back to Brazil in 1991, he added to his teaching activities at USP São Carlos, some classes in the graduation courses in Applied Physics. In 1993, he was named associate professor in that university.

In the same year, he conducted his first academic research works in natural language processing, an area that basically deals with problems related to automatic generation and understanding of texts by means of computers. Professor Osvaldo Novais was part of the team that founded the Interinstitutional Center for Computational Linguistics (NILC) and participated in the development of the first software for grammar revision of Brazilian Portuguese, which was named “ReGra”. The grammar checker was part of several versions of Microsoft Word processor as from 1999. From the work in NILC and scientific writing courses, he produced a book, together with more 7 authors, on scientific writing in English (“Writing Scientific Papers in English Successfully: Your Complete Roadmap”).

Osvaldo Novais was a visiting researcher in the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell), in the United States, between 2000 and 2001, and a visiting professor of University of Aveiro (Portugal) in 2006. Also in such year, he received Scopus Award, granted by Elsevier do Brasil and Capes (the Brazilian agency in charge of post-graduate programs), as one of the 16 Brazilian researchers with greatest scientific production, based on the number of publications, citations and supervisions (nowadays, there are 40 completed master theses and doctoral dissertations).

In 2008, he became a full professor of USP.

Nowadays, in addition to his activities as professor and researcher in IFSC-USP, Prof. Osvaldo Novais is a member of the coordination in Physics at FAPESP (the São Paulo research foundation), regional editor for South America of “Display and Imaging” scientific journal and associate editor of “Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology”.

Here you find an interview with the researcher.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Tell us what made you become a researcher and work in the field of Materials.

Osvaldo Novais: – My professional choices almost always occurred without planning or specific motivation. I began the course for obtaining a teaching degree in Sciences in the Educational Foundation of Barretos, since I did not pass the entrance examination for being admitted in the Electronic Engineering graduation course, which I thought was the career I would like to have. After having decided to change area at the end of the first year and to do the entrance examinations for Philosophy and Psychology courses, for financial and personal reasons, I ended up continuing in the Sciences course and chose a teaching degree in Physics in the third year. There was a major transformation when I transferred to the Bachelor degree in Physics in USP São Carlos, and started participating in research projects. There I decided to become a teacher and researcher. My choice for the area of polymers was the result of a suggestion from a friend, who had great admiration for the faculty members of the Electrets Group at that time. Thus, I began doing research activities in such group, nowadays called Polymers Group “Bernhard Gross”, where I have been for 35 years.

Although I have not chosen a career or a research area due to a vocation or conviction, I was very fortunate because I consider the study of materials both fascinating and essential for society. Researchers in materials may amuse themselves with challenges and contribute to make this world a better place. Research training also allowed me to act in different areas, which is an important factor for those passionate for knowledge, as it is my case.

SBPMat Newsletter: – What are, in your own assessment, your main contributions to the field of Materials?

Osvaldo Novais: – I believe my greatest contribution was to have participated in the construction of a network of research in materials, mainly in nanostructured organic films. Such network nowadays comprehends researchers in many regions of Brazil,  and also includes international connections. Concerning specific scientific contributions, I could possibly point out the study of electrical properties of Langmuir films, as well as the use of such films as cell membrane models. It could also be worth to point out sensors (such as electronic languages) and biosensors produced with nanostructured films, noting that the main actors of such contributions have been students and doctoral candidates of my research group.

SBPMat Newsletter: – In parallel to your performance in Materials research, you develop studies concerning natural language processing within NILC, center of which you are founding member. Tell us a little bit about this activity.

Osvaldo Novais: – Out of need, I ended up becoming interested in scientific writing in English, in a work that was, at first, informal and that resulted in projects of software tools for writing aid. Being invited to participate in the team that developed the first grammar checker for Portuguese in the 1990s, NILC was created, which to this date is a reference worldwide for Portuguese language automatic processing. I say that without any embarrassment whatsoever, since all merits for this achievement go to a team of computer scientists and linguists, of several universities of Brazil, who have been conducting research and development of the highest level for years. My participation was merely important in the beginning.

For two decades, my research in natural language processing with NILC was fully disconnected from Physics, but in the last years we have used statistical physics methodologies for text treatment. With the new research paradigm based on intensive use of data (called “Big Data”), now there is the possibility of combining nanotechnology – an area that is predominantly of materials – with natural language processing and artificial intelligence, for example, in the diagnosis systems supported by computer. This is a fascinating topic that allows exercising technological convergence, which will boost research and development in the 21st century.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Briefly tell us what are your plans for SBPMat while president of the society within 2016-2018.

Osvaldo Novais: – I believe that the most relevant plan is to continue the excellent work that the previous executive boards have carried out, which made SBPMat be one of the most powerful scientific societies in Brazil. That includes keeping the excellent level of our annual meetings and strengthening the international insertion that it has achieved. Other goals of the new executive board are: to increase the interaction of materials researchers with the industries installed in Brazil, to encourage the participation of young researchers in the society and to promote scientific and technological popularization programs, emphasizing the key role of research in materials for technological and social development.

SBPMat Newsletter: – We always invite the interviewees of this newsletter section to leave a message for the readers who are beginning their scientific careers. Would you like to say something in particular for the future/ junior scientists?

Osvaldo Novais: – My message is: apply yourself and strive towards obtaining strong scientific training, focusing on languages of knowledge, whatever the natural languages (in our case, Portuguese and English) and languages of mathematical formalisms. Such strong training will allow you to continuously learn, which is essential in an ever-changing society. May you follow your dreams by solving scientific and technological problems, which is one of the most amusing and refreshing activities.

20th anniversary of the establishment of the São Carlos Institute of Physics, and six decades participating in the history of Materials research in Brazil.

2014 is a celebration year for one of the protagonist institutions of the history of Materials research in Brazil. The São Carlos Institute of Physics (IFSC), from University of São Paulo (USP), celebrates its 20th anniversary.

However, the origins of IFSC and its contributions to Brazilian Materials Science and Engineering date back to 60 years ago. “From its origins, IFSC had a central role in the development of Materials Science and Engineering, since Materials research was present with the pioneers of IFSC,” says Professor Antonio Carlos Hernandes, IFSC dean from 2010 to 2014 and researcher in the field of Materials.

The beginning of the history can be set in 1953, when USP, which had been founded in 1934, opened a teaching and research facility in the then small city of São Carlos, in the heart of the state of São Paulo. It was the School of Engineering of São Carlos (EESC), which exists to the present. At the time, the dean of the school, Theodoreto Souto, mandated to form a team of lecturers and researchers, recruited professors to São Carlos, mainly in São Paulo (USP), in Rio de Janeiro and abroad, but failed for them to settle in town for long.

Sergio Mascarenhas in 2012. Image: SBPMat.

From Rio de Janeiro, the first to integrate the EESC professors’ team was physicist Armando Dias Tavares, assistant of Joaquim da Costa Ribeiro in the Physics laboratories of the National School of Philosophy of the University of Rio de Janeiro (now Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ). Then, collaborators and students of Dias Tavares, who had learned to do science in the “school”  of Costa Ribeiro and Bernhard Gross (main pioneers of Materials research in Brazil) left the “marvelous city” to the inland of São Paulo, invited by Souto. Among them, the newly graduated in Physics and Chemistry and honeymooners Sergio Mascarenhas Oliveira and Yvonne Primerano Mascarenhas – a couple who leaved an important legacy in the history of Materials Science and Engineering in the region and in the country – arrived in São Carlos in 1956.

At a time when most of the human and material resources for research in Physics, in the world and in Brazil, were intended for Nuclear and High Energy Physics, the Mascarenhas couple chose to start studies in Condensed Matter Physics, field they had worked with Costa Ribeiro in Rio de Janeiro. Documents prepared by IFSC state that Sergio and Yvonne saw two possibilities in that area for the group of São Carlos: to internationally stand out in a field where there was less competition, and to generate applications that had a positive impact on the region’s economy and quality of life of its population.

Thus, in the 1960s, Sergio Mascarenhas created the Condensed Matter Physics Group. “Thanks to a very strong exchange between USP in Sao Carlos, and the universities of Princeton and Carnegie Mellon in the United States, and also groups from England and Germany, mainly in Stuttgart, we managed to establish a very intense research training program, which continues to this day”, Mascarenhas commented in an interview granted in 2013 to the SBPMat Newsletter. Among the works with the greatest impact conducted at the time by the São Carlos group, it is possible to mention research related to defects in crystals, such as ionic crystals with a color core, which were later used for optical memories.

In the late 1960s, a new teaching and research institution, the Federal University of São Carlos (USFCar), was created in town, with the effective participation of professors of the EESC group. In particular, Sergio Mascarenhas, who was the first dean (pro tempore) of the university, proposed the creation of the first graduate course in Materials Engineering in Latin America, seeking to build a bridge between Materials Science and the generation of products, processes and services. The course started its activities in 1970.

In another pioneering initiative in the Materials field, the São Carlos group, with Sergio Mascarenhas as head of the organization, hosted the Brazilian community of solid state physicists (then consisting of about 50 researchers) in town to conduct the “First National Symposium on Solid State Physics and Materials Science “in a small shed.

Building of the São Carlos Institute of Physics and Chemistry  in 1970. Image: IFSC/USP.

As a result of the growth, institutionalization and gain of autonomy trodden by Mascarenhas and colleagues of the São Carlos group, in 1971 the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of São Carlos (IFQSC) was created, and the first dean was Mascarenhas himself. IFQSC had from its very beginning a Department of Physics and Materials Science, and a Department of Chemistry and Molecular Physics. Another step was taken in 1994 when IFSC was dismembered, giving rise to the Institute of Chemistry of São Carlos (IQSC) and IFSC, whose first dean was Yvonne Primerano Mascarenhas.

Another milestone in the part of IFSC in the history of Materials research in Brazil was the creation, in 1993, of the inter-unit program in Materials Science and Engineering at USP São Carlos. Managed by IFSC, the program brings together professors of this Institute, IQSC and EESC, as well as researchers from other institutions in the region.

Action with academic and social impact

Besides participating in the inter-unit program, IFSC has one of the most acknowledged and applied postgraduate programs in Physics in the country, which has obtained, since its creation, full marks in assessments from the Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES). Within its master’s and doctorate, it is possible to perform research in a wide range of topics, including several possibilities in the Materials field, from fundamental research in Condensed Matter Physics to studies on semiconductor materials, polymers, ceramics and glass. Also in the Materials field, IFSC currently has consolidated research groups, for example, the Polymer Group of “Professor Bernhard Gross,” and is home to large projects such as National Institutes of Science and Technology (INCTs) and Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers.

However, the impact of academic performance of the São Carlos group in the Materials field has exceeded the limits of the city of São Carlos. According to Professor Antonio Carlos Hernandes, the first consequence of this performance was the graduation of doctors (PhD) who began to operate in such field in other higher education institutions. “Thus, many university and research centers operating in Materials today have the IFSC training on their DNA”, says Hernandez.

“IFSC brings together what is essential to the quality of Materials research, with equipment and people with experience in various types of materials,” says Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior, deputy dean of IFSC for the period 2012- 2016. Relying on these features, Novais adds, hundreds of masters and doctors graduated in Materials, many of which have become leaders of research groups in all regions of Brazil. “These leaders of various institutions, as well as others who are part of IFSC, currently play an important role in organizing the Materials community in the country, acting in the Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat), coordinating events and national and international cooperation programs, and formulating public policies”, he adds.

But the impact of IFSC’s performance in the Materials field goes beyond the academic environment. Professor Hernandes highlights, among other examples, the creation of technology-based companies located in the city of São Carlos. “These high-tech companies originated from IFSC researchers work, often involving Materials research”, professor Novais states, which also brings up another type of social contribution made by professors and researchers of the institute, the “tireless work of popularization of science, with various programs for students of primary and secondary education, as well as for the general public. “