People from the community: interview with the Argentinean scientist Galo Soler Illia.

Galo Soler Illia.
Galo Soler Illia.

How many scientific vocations were aroused, and how many domestic accidents were caused, by experimental chemistry games for children (which until some time ago did not follow all the toy safety standards)? The Argentine scientist Galo Juan de Ávila Arturo Soler Illia belongs to this group. He remembers that his interest in science lit up (literally) with a small fire caused by a chemistry lab set in his parents’ home –  two lawyers, members of the Radical Civic Union, that was also the party of Galo Soler Illia’s grandfather, President Arturo Umberto Illia, who ruled Argentina from 1963 to 1966, until undergoing a coup.

Today, Galo Soler Illia can be considered one of the best known researchers in the Brazil´s neighboring country, both in the scientific community (he is among the 30 Argentine scientists best positioned in Google Scholar for the citations to his works, and has also received the top national science awards) and among the lay public (in the field of Nanotechnology, he is a very active and didactic presenter in all the media, and is usually an information source for Argentine journalists).

Galo Soler Illia was born in Buenos Aires on May 31, 1970. He completed his primary studies in a private constructivist school, Bayard College. In 1983, he enrolled in the National School of Buenos Aires, a public institution dependent on the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), which among other things was characterized by a high study demand, a wealth of extracurricular activities and better-quality infrastructure than other public schools. In 1988, he graduated from the college with a specialization in Sciences. Both in primary and secondary education he had the opportunity to carry out activities in science labs.

In 1989, Soler Illia began to study in a Chemistry Sciences course at UBA. During the undergraduate course, he began teaching in the Department of Physical, Analytical and Inorganic Chemistry of UBA and doing research in a group of Materials Chemistry and also in a laboratory set up in the house of a friend. In 1993, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, with a grade point average of 9.13 / 10.

From 1994 to 1998, Soler Illia completed his doctorate in Chemistry, also at UBA, under the guidance of Professor Miguel Angel Blesa. Through research on nanoparticles of mixed metal hydroxides, he generated knowledge about the complex mechanism of particle formation, which would be very useful in his research as a postdoc and as a professional researcher, focused on the synthesis of materials with high control of their characteristics. Concomitantly to the doctorate, he continued to teach, as an assistant, at UBA.

In 1999, he moved to France, together with his wife Astrid Grotewold, also a chemist, and remained there until 2002. Soler Illia did postdoctoral studies at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris), under the supervision of Dr. Clément Sanchez, with a 2-year scholarship from CONICET, the main Argentine entity in support of science and technology. In the post-doc, Soler Illia developed methods to produce highly controlled porosity materials. This period resulted in Soler Illia’s most cited articles so far, with more than 1,800 citations in one of the papers, according to Google Scholar. At the end of his stay in France, Soler Illia also worked on applications of mesoporous thin films for the research and development center of the company Saint Gobain.

Galo Soler Illia returned to Argentina in early 2003, at a time when the country was ending great political instability, which caused the Presidency of the Republic to appoint 5 different people in just 11 days. In addition, the country was still under the effects of the severe economic crisis that had reached its peak in 2001. However, Soler Illia was quickly able to enter the research career at CONICET, working at the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) and without wasting time, founded the Chemistry Group of Nanomaterials, which to date operates in the design and development of nanostructured materials. In 2004, the scientist became a professor of UBA in the department where he studied for his bachelor’s degree and doctorate.

In early 2015, Illia became director of the Institute of Nanosystems (INS) of the National University of San Martín, located in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires. The INS is defined as a space for nanoscience and nanotechnology research, development and creation, whose ultimate goal is to solve priority problems of industry and society in general. At the institute, Soler Illia has a multidisciplinary scientific team of 4 researchers (4 more in 2017), 6 graduate and post-doc students and 1 laboratory technician, and also a management team of 6 professionals.

Currently, in addition to being director of INS, Galo Soler Illia is principal researcher of CONICET and associate professor at UBA. He is a member of advisory boards at the Argentinean Nanotechnology Foundation (FAN) and at the Brazilian National Synchrotron Light Laboratory, and also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology (Springer). Moreover, Soler Illia has a scientific dissemination column on Nanotechnology  in a television broadcast program called “Scientists Made in Argentina”, which airs once a week on the Argentine public channel. Finally, Soler Illia has just been appointed (November of this year) as member of the Argentine Presidential Council 2030, composed of intellectuals from various fields to advise the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri.

Soler Illia, whose h-index is 44, has produced over 120 papers published in international scientific journals, with about 11,000 citations, according to Google Scholar. He has supervised 7 completed PhD theses and is the author of 2 dissemination books on nanotechnology. He is also the author of 4 patent applications.

His work was recognized with a series of awards for science, technology, innovation and scientific popularization, among them the main Argentinean awards, like Houssay Award (2006 and 2009), from the Secretary and later Ministry of Science and Technology; the KONEX Award (2013) from the eponymous foundation and the Innovar Award (2011 and 2016) from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation. He also received distinctions from the National Academy of Exact Sciences, FAN, Argentinean Association of Physicochemical Research, CONICET, BGH and Dupont companies, among others. In May of this year, Galo Soler Illia was appointed titular scholar of the Argentinean National Academy of Exact Sciences, Physics and Natural Sciences, a select group of only 36 scientists.

Here’s an interview with the Argentine scientist.

SBPMat newsletter: Tell us why you became a scientist and work in the field of materials.

Galo Soler Illia: I always liked Chemistry. This started when I received a chemistry game, I was five years old, and while experimenting with it I burned my parent`s dinner table. Later, during my high school studies I was a bit of a nerd, writing software code for physics classes at my school. Writing code aroused my curiosity to know how things worked and how problems could be solved. I learned a lot. Near the end of secondary education, I decided to study Chemistry because I believed it was a very versatile and wonderful course that had great possibilities in many fields. At that time, I was really interested in Biotechnology, which was a new area. At the time I started my undergraduate studies at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), the area of Materials Chemistry had began to emerge. Still a student, I began teaching as an assistant in the Department of Inorganic, Analytical Chemistry and Physical Chemistry of the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences, inspired by the example of young and enthusiastic teachers who were returning from abroad and who propagated an atmosphere of work and demand. Together with my best friends, we set up a laboratory on the terrace of one of my friend’s home. There we grew crystals and planned molecule synthesis. Since we spent all day at university and had some spare time, I found a place to work, without a salary or scholarship, in a Materials Chemistry group that had just begun. Everything was very fast, and before I noticed it I had finished my undergraduate studies and began my doctorate, manufacturing microparticles for catalysts. It was a beautiful time of my life, a time from which I still retain my innate curiosity, my willingness to explore and build materials and a wonderful group of friends, who have become outstanding colleagues now spread out throughout the world.

SBPMat newsletter: In your opinion, what are your main contributions to the Materials area, considering all aspects of your scientific activity?

Galo Soler Illia: I have always been interested in building materials, in the chemist’s task to join atom with atom, to manufacture new architectures. I focused on understanding the physicochemical phenomena that take place during the production of a material. When you know and understand these processes, you go from simply “preparing” a material to being able to design it and synthesize it, however complex it may be. And we can take advantage of the properties of the chemical elements to obtain the properties we desire. I’ll give three examples. In my thesis, I studied the precipitation and aggregation of nanoparticles of mixed metal hydroxides, precursors of catalysts. We discovered a very interesting world and were able to contribute to understanding the complexity behind a dynamic particle formation mechanism: the effects of particle shape and structure, the importance of metals coordination in the formation of a mixed phase, the evolution of surface charge and its effect on the stability of a colloid and much more, which helped me in the future as a solid basis for my research. I was fortunate to be able to work with Miguel Blesa, Alberto Regazzoni and Roberto Candal, three excellent Masters who guided me, stimulated and corrected me.

In my second phase, I worked in Paris in the laboratory of Clément Sanchez. I used what I had learned in order to develop methods to produce highly controlled porosity materials, known as organized mesoporous materials. Again, I became interested in the materials formation mechanisms, which are complex because they require controlling the growth of small inorganic species and their self-assembling with micelles. It is a small physical-chemical symphony, which one must learn to play. We had to use, develop and combine many characterization techniques to understand the phenomena taking place and how they controlled the formation and organization of pore systems, the stability and crystallinity of materials, which among others are important variables in the final performance of these solids.

In my third phase, back in Argentina, I set up a research group at the National Atomic Energy Commission in Buenos Aires, and devoted myself to building more complex architectures based on everything I had learned. My best contributions in this regard refer to the use of forces and interactions at the nanoscale to manufacture many different nanocomposites with designed and surprising optical and catalytic properties. All this required new laboratories, training human resources and the transfer of basic science to technologies. Particularly, over the last years we have worked with companies and aspire to generate nanotechnology in Argentina, extending the knowledge of our laboratory to society.

SBPMat newsletter: Briefly tell us about your interaction with Brazil. Do you come here often for collaborations, events, use of labs, seminars? Have you worked with Brazilian groups or in Brazilian laboratories?

Galo Soler Illia: I returned to Argentina in 2003 and I knew right away about what was being developed in Brazil. Since that time, I began developing projects at the National Laboratory of Synchrotron Light (LNLS), which is a beacon for all those who work in Materials in Latin America. The interaction with the synchrotron staff was very important for us to be able to characterize our materials, and we are amazed to see how the installations have improved over the years. A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit the Sirius building, which is simply stunning and which will be a world reference. I also had the opportunity to visit several universities, teaching courses and collaborating in the education of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Furthermore, we created the School of Materials Synthesis in Buenos Aires, which will have its eighth edition in 2017. This school was designed to generate a community of Latin American scientists qualified with skills in the rational synthesis of materials. We started with many Brazilian students, thanks to the support of the Argentinean-Brazilian Nanotechnology Society, which unfortunately has stopped working. It is truly beautiful to see how students from both countries work together in the laboratories and discuss and present their work in “portunhol” [hybrid mixture of Spanish-Portuguese]. From this school, and with the help of several colleagues, collaborative networks are emerging that will undoubtedly provide us with the technological base for larger joint ventures. I travel to Brazil several times a year and always admire the strength of the country to boost local technological development. I hope that after these difficult times, we may continue growing together.

SBPMat newsletter: We always ask the guest being interviewed in this section to leave a message for the readers who are beginning their scientific careers. What would you say to these junior scientists?

Galo Soler Illia: Looking back, I have three recommendations to young scientists. One is to never lose your imagination and your ability to ask questions; the second is to work hard to find the answers, and the third is to make use of the surprises. Sometimes, we train to develop a path and a strategy and we focus on the rigor to demonstrate and formalize what we find. However, it is crucial to know that this path is full of interesting nooks and turns, and sometimes an aspect we hadn’t taken into account opens up a new and unexplored landscape. Newton said that we, scientists, are sometimes like children on the beach, we find a shell that is prettier than the others and we are happy, but there lies before us the vast ocean of truth. My advice is to continually seek our shells, enjoy them and let us come within reach of understanding the wonders of our universe. And always keep in mind that developing science in our continent is a beautiful challenge that will add richness to our countries and well-being to our brothers.

B-MRS (SBPMat) – E-MRS Agreement: participation support for SBPMat members at E-MRS events.

dscn9405dscn9400A cooperation agreement signed by B-MRS (SBPMat) and the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) promotes scientific collaboration between researchers from Brazil and Europe and in particular encourages the participation of SBPMat members at E-MRS events and E-MRS members at SBPMat meetings.

“According to the agreement, SBPMat members can be organizers of symposiums at E-MRS Meeting, a prestigious responsibility for any researcher, and financial incentive will be granted,” explains Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior, president of SBPMat. “Furthermore, students and postdoctoral fellows, members of SBPMat, can compete every year for support to present their work at the E-MRS Meeting in Europe,” he adds.

The agreement was signed in Campinas (SP) on October 29, 2016, during the closing ceremony of the XV SBPMat Meeting, by the president of SBPMat and Professor Rodrigo Martins, who represented the European society as a former president.

History of materials research in Brazil: 40 years of the first glass research laboratory in Brazil.

boxlamav_enBrazil’s first laboratory dedicated to the study of vitreous materials completes 40 years in December 2016. This laboratory, which began its activities with only a small muffle furnace with temperature up to 1100 °C, today has 18 ovens, 4 which reach 1750 °C, and also thirty instruments to manufacture and characterize glasses distributed over 500 m2. The anniversary in question is LaMaV´s (Vitreous Materials Laboratory), of the Department of Materials Engineering (DEMa) at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar).

On the 40th anniversary of LaMaV, the team declares it is fully satisfied with its achievements [see box beside]. The pioneering work of the laboratory was essential in generating, disseminating and applying scientific knowledge on glass in the country, in academia and in industry. “We prepared about a hundred masters, doctors and post-docs, who now work as professors and researchers at major institutions such as USP, UFSCar, ITA, UEPG, UEMa, UFBa, PUC, IPT, CEFET, UFF, UNESP, UFLavras, UFABC, CTA, UNIOESTE and in other institutions in Brazil and abroad, and in numerous companies. This is a very important legacy! ” said Edgar Dutra Zanotto, one of the founders of SBPMat and the Materials Research journal, who founded LaMaV and heads it until today.

But the efforts and results of LaMaV go beyond national borders, since it always featured internationality. The laboratory has received students and visiting professors from dozens of countries. Its team has brought to Brazil the most important international conferences on glasses, it participates in the editorial boards of almost all major specialized journals on vitreous materials and has received seven of the most prestigious international awards and honors of the area – in addition to more than 20 national awards, including the Almirante Álvaro Alberto* award. The group research, especially that on nucleation and crystallization of glasses and glass ceramics, is recognized worldwide. “A significant part of active researchers in this area have heard, attended a lecture or read an article or patent resulting from our research. We have indeed put the city of São Carlos and Brazil on the world map of glass research!” adds Zanotto.

LaMaV is currently very active on glass crystallization issues, structural relaxation and residual stress processes, glass ceramics, biomaterials, and mechanical, rheological, electrical and biochemical properties of vitreous materials. “Today we have an impressive laboratory and excellent financing, mainly from FAPESP (the São Paulo State research foundation) but also from Capes, CNPq (federal funding agencies) and some companies. However, the endless bureaucracy of the funding agencies for purchasing materials and equipment, the accountability and also the uncertainties related to the future of universities (e.g., austerity measure PEC 55 and others), coupled with the shortage of secretaries, technicians and engineers (lab managers) to assist in the organization and maintenance of laboratories, have always been and continue to be formidable obstacles,” ponders Zanotto.

The making of…

It all began on December 15, 1976, when Zanotto was hired as assistant professor at DEMa-UFSCar. His main objective was to start glass research work in the department.  In 1970, the first undergraduate course in Latin America in Materials Engineering was created, and two years later DEMa was created. By 1976 the department already had research groups in metals, polymers and ceramics, but no one worked with glasses, Zanotto remembers. “The creation of LaMaV was a natural outcome of setting up the undergraduate course in Materials Engineering at UFSCar,” declares Professor Zanotto.

At the end of 1976, Edgar Zanotto was a newly graduated materials engineer (at UFSCar) who had just completed scientific initiation research work under the guidance of visiting Professor Osgood James Whittemore, researcher in the area of ceramic materials of the University of Washington (USA). “My undergraduate research carried out that year, focused on the chemical durability (leach) of candidate glasses for the encapsulation of radioactive waste,” recalls Zanotto. “And, amazingly, this subject is still hot! ”, he adds.

Soon after being hired, Zanotto created LaMaV. The first experiments – carried out by Zanotto himself – consisted of melting glass at low melting point, using a muffle furnace and a platinum crucible (recipient that can be used at high temperatures), borrowed from the chemical analysis laboratory of the university.

In 1977, the founder of LaMaV started the Master’s program in Physics at the Institute of Physics and Chemistry at São Carlos (IFQSC) of USP, under the guidance of Professor Aldo Craievich, who was probably the only scientist active in the glass area in Brazil before 1976. In fact, he is the author of the first two papers on glasses signed by researchers from Brazilian institutions, both published in 1975. During the Master, Zanotto produced and thermally treated glasses (to generate crystallization) at LaMaV, carried out microscopic investigation at the DEMa metallurgy laboratory, and characterized glasses by XRD and SAXS at IFQSC-USP. Zanotto finished his Master’s research work and defended the dissertation a year and a half later. That same year he began his doctorate, also in the area of glasses, at the University of Sheffield (UK), under the supervision of the famous Professor Peter James. In 1982, having defended his doctorate, Zanotto returned to LaMaV.

“In the first 10 to 15 years, isolated work, inexperience and the uncertainties and difficulties associated with the mercurial research funding, in addition to the reduced physical space and little laboratory infrastructure disrupted our activities”, recalls Zanotto. Nearly a decade after the laboratory was created, the second Professor of the group was hired, Oscar Peitl Filho, Zanotto’s former master’s and doctoral student. A few years later, Ana Candida Martins Rodrigues became the third professor of the LaMaV team. Then in 2013, Marcello Andreeta was hired. “Today we are 4 teachers, 1 technician, 1 administrative assistant and about 30 research students and post-docs, 7 from other countries,” says Zanotto.

The year of 2013 was a milestone in the history of LaMaV due to the approval by FAPESP and the beginning of activities of CeRTEV (Center for Research, Technology and Education in Vitreous Materials). Directed by Zanotto, CeRTEV brings together LaMaV (headquarters of the center) and other laboratories from UFSCar, USP and UNESP, to conduct research, development and education activities in the field of vitreous materials, with funding from FAPESP until 2024. “With CeRTEV, we have established one of the largest academic research groups on glass on this planet, with world-class infrastructure, 14 professors and about 60 research students!”, acclaims Zanotto.

“Looking back, if I could return to December 1976, with the experience accumulated over these 40 years, I believe I’d do it all over again, but more efficiently!”, expresses the founder of LaMaV.

Doctoral students from 28 countries attending the "Glass and glass-ceramics school" at LaMaV, August, 2015.
Doctoral students from 28 countries attending the “Glass and glass-ceramics school” at LaMaV, August, 2015.

Featured paper. A lot of science and some serendipity to discover the recipe for a multifunctional nanocomposite.

[Paper: One material, multiple functions: graphene/Ni(OH)2 thin films applied in batteries, electrochromism and sensors. Eduardo G. C. Neiva, Marcela M. Oliveira, Márcio F. Bergamini, Luiz H. Marcolino Jr & Aldo J. G. Zarbin. Scientific Reports 6, 33806 (2016). doi:10.1038/srep33806. Link para o artigo:]

A lot of science and some serendipity to discover the recipe for a multifunctional nanocomposite.

boxnickel_enA recently published paper in the journal Scientific Reports, from the Nature group, reports a study carried out in universities of the state of Paraná (Brazil) on a material based on nickel hydroxide Ni(OH)2 – a composite of great technological interest [See box]. The group of authors developed an innovative method to fabricate a material based on nickel hydroxide graphene and nanoparticles, prepared thin films with this material and demonstrated the efficiency of these films when used as rechargeable battery electrodes, glycerol sensors and electrochromic materials.

The work was carried out within the doctoral research of Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva, under the guidance of Professor Aldo José Gorgatti Zarbin, in the Chemistry Post-Graduation Program of the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). Neiva began his research on nickel nanoparticles during his undergraduate years, guided by Professor Zarbin. In the master’s program, still with Zarbin, he developed a preparation route of nickel metal nanoparticles for electrochemical applications. After completing the master’s program, Neiva and Zarbin set out to continue the research in Neiva’s doctorate, including graphene in the preparation of nickel metal based nanoparticles to obtain nickel and graphene nanocomposites with different properties. “Most of my scientific interests focus on the preparation of materials with carbon nanostructures, such as nanotubes and graphene,” states Professor Zarbin, who is the corresponding author of the article in Scientific Reports.

They were surprised by the first laboratory results. In the presence of graphene oxide (as a precursor of graphene in the preparation of the material), the process took a different course. At that time, Neiva and Zarbin saw the potential of these particularities: if well understood, they could be controlled and used to prepare nanocomposites, not only of nickel metal, but also of nickel hydroxide, which would open up new application possibilities. “There is a phrase by Louis Pasteur I like very much, which applies perfectly in this case: “Chance favors the prepared mind,” declares Zarbin.

Based on this, student and advisor created a simple and direct process for the fabrication of graphene and nickel hydroxide nanocomposites. In this innovative process, both components are synthesized together in a one-step reaction. Using this technique, Neiva manufactured the nanocomposites. Pure nickel hydroxide samples were also produced in order to compare them with the nanocomposites.

The samples were studied through a series of techniques: X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), thermogravimetry, field emission scanning electron microscope (FEG-MEV), and also by means of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images carried out by Professor Marcela Mohallem Oliveira, from the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR). The comparison between the two materials was favorable to the nanocomposite. “Graphene played a key role in the stabilization of particles at the nanometer scale, increasing the chemical and electrochemical stability of the nanoparticles, and increasing the conductivity of the material, which is fundamental for an improvement in the desired applications,” acknowledges Aldo Zarbin.

Aldo José Gorgatti Zarbin (on the left side) and Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva, the main authors of the paper, standing at the FEG-MEV equipment of the Materials Chemistry Group of UFPR.

The next stage consisted of

processing the nanocomposites and the nanoparticles of pure nickel hydroxide to obtain thin films, a format that allows using them in the desired applications. “The deposition of materials in the form of films, covering different surfaces, is a great technological challenge, even greater when dealing with multicomponent materials and insoluble, infusible and intractable materials (all characteristics of the material reported in this article)”, explains Zarbin.

To overcome this challenge, Neiva used a processing route, known as liquid/liquid interfacial method, developed in 2010 by the research group led by Zarbin, the Materials Chemistry Group of UFPR. This route, besides simple and cheap, explains Professor Zarbin, allows depositing complex materials in the form of homogeneous and transparent films on various types of materials, including plastics. “The route is based on the high energy at the interface of two immiscible liquids (e.g., water and oil), where the material is initially stabilized to minimize this energy, allowing its subsequent transfer to substrates of interest,” he explained.

With the nanocomposites, Neiva obtained thin transparent films of about 100 to 500 nm in thickness, with nanoparticles of about 5 nm in diameter, distributed homogeneously on the graphene sheets. The pure nickel hydroxide, however, generated films formed by porous spherical nanoparticles of 30 to 80 nm in diameter, distributed heterogeneously, forming agglomerates in some regions.

In the final phase of the work, the films deposited on glass and indium tin oxide were tested in three applications, in which the nanocomposite performed better than pure nickel hydroxide.  As a material for rechargeable alkaline battery electrodes, the nanocomposite exhibited high energy and high power – two positive points that are not easily found in the same material. The nanocomposite also showed good performance as an electrochemical sensor. In fact, experiments designed by Professors Márcio Bergamini and Luiz Marcolino Jr, also from UFPR, showed that the nanocomposite is a sensitive sensor of glycerol (a compound known commercially as glycerin and used in several industries). Finally, the nanocomposite acted as an efficient electrochromic material. With these characteristics, the films of the UFPR group have a chance to leave the laboratory and be part of innovative products. “This depends on partners who are interested in scaling the method and testing it on real devices,” says Zarbin.

For now, in addition to scientific articles such as the one published in the journal Scientific Reports, the work generated several patents, both on the deposition method of thin films and on their applications in gas sensors, transparent electrodes, photovoltaic devices and catalysts. “And we have now developed a flexible battery, which was only possible thanks to the film deposition technique we developed,”, adds Professor Zarbin.

The work, which was developed within the macro projects “INCT of carbon nanomaterials” and “Nucleus of Excellence in Nanochemistry and Nanomaterials”, received funding from the federal agencies Capes and CNPq, and the Araucária Foundation, an agency for scientific and technological development of the state of Paraná.

This figure, sent by the authors of the paper, summarizes the main contributions of the paper. In the center, a flask with two liquids and the film at the interface represents the processing method of thin films. A diagram of the film is on the left, with the nickel hydroxide nanoparticles on the graphene sheet. To the right, a photograph of the film deposited on a quartz substrate shows the homogeneity and transparency of the film (it is possible to read text below it). And to the right, from top to bottom, the three applications are shown by a discharge curve (battery), of a transmittance variation curve by the applied potential (electrochromism) and an analytical curve showing the linear variation of the intensity of the current as a function of glycerol concentration in the medium (sensor).
This figure, sent by the authors of the paper, summarizes the main contributions of the paper. In the center, a flask with two liquids and the film at the interface represents the method for thin films processing. A diagram of the film is on the left, with the nickel hydroxide nanoparticles on the graphene sheet. To the right, a photograph of the film deposited on a quartz substrate shows the homogeneity and transparency of the film (it is possible to read text below it). And to the right, from top to bottom, the three applications are shown by a discharge curve (battery), of a transmittance variation curve by the applied potential (electrochromism) and an analytical curve showing the linear variation of the intensity of the current as a function of glycerol concentration in the medium (sensor).


B-MRS newsletter. Special issue: XV B-MRS Meeting (coverage).


B-MRS/SBPMat newsletter
special issue
XV B-MRS Meeting/ XV Encontro da SBPMat
Campinas (SP), Brazil, September, 25 – 29, 2016

In numbers

– Almost 1,800 registrations.

    – 95% from Brazil (from all regions and 23 states of the country, with São Paulo in front, with 30% of the total registered).

    – 23 countries represented.

    – 62% students: 42% post-graduates and 20% undergraduates.

More than 2,000 papers presented (80% posters) in the 20 symposia and 2 workshops.

9 countries represented in the organization of the symposia and workshops.

8 plenary lectures, 3 discussion panels, 2 tutorials and 12 technical presentations of companies.

12 lecture rooms for simultaneous oral presentations.

43 exhibitors.

– 18 awards given to students.

Messages from the organization

Publication of manuscripts. The articles based on contributions presented at the conference and submitted to certain IOP journals (see list in the link), provided they approved after conventional peer review, will be highlighted in an online collection dedicated to B-MRS. Submission will remain open for a few months (approximately 6). Instructions and additional information:

Certificates. Certificates are available in the registration and submission system of the event:

Proceedings. The annals of the XV B-MRS Meeting (ISBN:978-85-63273-29-1) with the abstracts of all papers presented are available online:

Multimedia coverage

Multimedia report. Learn about or look back on the various sessions on our new site through an account of the event, with photos, videos and archives of the presentations. Here.

Photos. See the full album of photos of the event in Google Photos and download your favorites. Here.

Files of the presentations. In Slideshare, access all files of the plenary talks, panel discussions and closing event that were provided by the authors. Here.

Videos. Watch all the brief speeches of the organizers and participants of the event. Here.
  • Inscripciones para el 26º Programa Becas de Verano CNPEM. Aqui.
  • Post-doc at IPEN (Brazil) on electroceramics with FAPESP scholarship. Here.


XV B-MRS Meeting/ XV Encontro da SBPMat: multimedia report.

The comprehensive and diverse range of activities of the program was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the fifteenth edition of the annual event of the Brazilian Materials Research Society, the XV B-MRS Meeting. The organizing committee of the event, led by Professors Ana Flávia Nogueira (IQ-Unicamp, Brazil) and Mônica Alonso Cotta (IFGW-Unicamp, Brazil), envisaged and made possible a technical program consisting of tutorials, laboratory visits, plenary lectures, panel discussions, oral presentations, poster sessions, technical lectures of companies and exhibition stands.

Chairlady of the event Mônica Cotta: diverse themes and formats over 11 hours of sessions. 

The proposal was overwhelmingly and enthusiastically accepted by the participants of the event, who packed auditoriums, halls and exhibitors area of the convention center Expo D. Pedro, in Campinas (state of São Paulo), to get to know, present and discuss recent advances and perspectives of Materials Science and Engineering. The number of participants registered (about 1,800) exceeded the expectations of the organizing team, given Brazil`s current resource scarcity.

Chairlady Ana Flávia Nogueira: grateful and satisfied with the results achieved in a difficult environment.

The various presentations and interactions during the event were mainly in English, but many different accents could be heard.  In fact, the event was attended by participants from 23 countries from North and South America, Europe and Asia. Internationalization was also present in the organization of the meeting, through the symposium coordinators from Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and USA, and obviously from Brazil.

Alguns dos coordenadores dos simpósios posam com as chairladies e o presidente da SBPMat no hall de entrada do centro de convenções.
Some of the coordinators of the symposia alongside the chairladies and B-MRS president at the entrance hall of the convention center.


In the numerous sessions, advances and perspectives were discussed regarding the various types of materials (nanomaterials, biomaterials, two-dimensional, surface and interface materials, electronic organic materials, electroceramics, advanced metals, nanocellulose, semiconductors and superconductors, among other). Not only research but also technology and innovation in materials were included in the presentations and discussions, which covered methods for the discovery of new materials, manufacturing processes, studies on structure and properties of materials, and experimental and theoretical techniques to perform them. There were also countless references to material applications in segments such as energy, health, transportation, packaging, electronics and photonics, and others, including the presentation of cases in which research and development have generated innovation. These moments showed the strong relationship of materials research with the economic growth of countries, with improved quality of life and with the preservation of our planet’s natural resources.

B-MRS president Osvaldo N. de Oliveira Jr: Relationship of materials research with society is stronger than ever.

In fact, it was sustainability that guided the organizers of the event to not print the program books at this year’s meeting. Instead, the participants had a good internet connection and an app that could be downloaded to their mobile devices using a QR code provided at the entrance of the convention center or available in the virtual stores of Google and Apple. The app also included a QR code reader through which participants could obtain the abstracts of the papers presented in the poster sessions.

The XV B-MRS Meeting received support from the Brazilian funding agencies Capes, CNPq and FAPESP, as well as other entities, and sponsorship of the exhibiting companies.


Pesquisa de impacto na tarde de domingo.

The intensive schedule began on Sunday afternoon, before the opening of the event, with two tutorials. For nearly 3 hours, more than 200 participants learned about high-impact research, in particular concerning the publication of scientific articles with helpful pointers from Professor Valtencir Zucolotto (IFSC-USP, Brazil). The author of over 140 papers published in international journals, with more than 4,000 citations according to Google Scholar, Zucolotto developed and teaches courses on this subject in Brazil and abroad.

In parallel, in another room of the convention center, about 30 participants hunched over their laptops received theoretical and practical training in computer simulations by professors Pedro Autreto (UFABC, Brazil) and Ricardo Paupitz (UNESP, Brazil).

O grupo que visitou o CNPEM nas obras do Sirius, posando no gigantesco anel que armazenará elétrons acelerados.
The group that visited the CNPEM, standing at the giant ring that will hold accelerated electrons at Sirius.

While the tutorials took place at Expo D. Pedro, about 10 kilometers away, a third group of participants of the XV B-MRS Meeting, composed of senior researchers from Brazil and abroad, visited the synchrotron light, nanotechnology and biosciences national laboratories, open to the international scientific community, which comprise the National Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM). The group also toured the under-construction facilities of Sirius, which will be the second fourth-generation synchrotron light source of the world when it opens before the end of this decade.



In the evening, at 7:30, almost 700 people occupied the largest room in the convention center to attend the official opening session of the event. “Meetings like this are celebrations of what scientists and technologists can do for the world, for humanity”, said the president of SBPMat, formally opening the XV B-MRS Meeting. On the stage, in addition to Professor Novais de Oliveira (IFSC-USP, Brazil), the table included the chairladies of the event and Professor Roberto Mendonça Faria (IFSC-USP, Brazil) representing the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS). They thanked the organizers and supporters, whished the participants a good event and announced some information about the event.

A partir da esquerda, Ana Flávia Nogueira, Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr, Roberto Faria e Mônica Cotta.
From the right, Ana Flávia Nogueira, Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr, Roberto Faria e Mônica Cotta.

Next, tributes were paid to two scientists, who besides having actively participated in the history of B-MRS, developed international impact studies in the materials field. The first tribute was to Professor José Arana Varela, who passed away last May at age 72. Varela, who made important contributions in the field of ceramics (electroceramics, thin films, nanostructured ceramics, applications in sensors and varistors, among others), was one of the founders and presidents of B-MRS. A former student and friend of Varela, Professor Edson Roberto Leite (UFSCar, Brazil), gave a presentation on the scientific career of his former mentor, highlighting his pioneering work, his international recognition and his success in collaborating with companies. Leite used photographic slides to highlight Varela’s greatest legacy: friends and former students who continue his work. In fact, the next day many of these former students and friends also made a tribute to the master in one of the event symposia (“X Brazilian Electroceramics Symposium – In Honor of Prof. Dr. Jose Arana Varela”).

José Arana Varela presente na homanegem póstuma.
José Arana Varela was present through the In Memoriam tribute.

Before announcing the other tribute at the event opening, Professor Novais de Oliveira Junior took the floor to announce that SBPMat would soon launch its new site and showed a demo version. One of the objectives of the site, explained the president, is to highlight scientific images produced by the materials community, placing them as a background image on all pages, and he then invited those present to send their images.

Distinção para Aldo Craievich.
Distinction to Aldo Craievich.

The second tribute of the night was a distinction that B-MRS awards annually to scientists with outstanding carreer, asking them to present a lecture (Memorial Lecture “Joaquim da Costa Ribeiro”). The scientist elected was Professor Aldo Craievich (IF-USP, Brazil). Argentine, Craievich developed his research career mainly in Brazil and France. In addition to having made outstanding contributions to the study of structures and structural transformations in solids, the scientist was one of the protagonists in the design, construction and operation of the National Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS), located in CNPEM, whose research resources have impacted the international Materials community – mainly the Latin American community. Craievich also participated in the creation process of B-MRS from the very beginning.

In his memorial lecture on advanced materials characterization, Professor Craievich drew attention to a limitation of one of the most widely used techniques to determine the structure of materials, X-ray diffraction. In a historical perspective, he commented on the important discoveries achieved over more than 100 years of using X-ray diffraction. However, the results obtained by this technique, explained Craievich, only show the average of the numerous data captured at the various locations of the sample and in consecutive sampling moments. Therefore, the X-ray diffraction cannot describe situations that are outside the average, but have great influence on the material properties: the material defects and the configurations formed by atoms in motion for very short time scales. These limitations, Craievich commented, began to be overcome with the use of fourth-generation (e.g., synchrotron light sources such as Sirius) and fifth-generation (e.g., the free electron laser) X-ray sources. At the end of a presentation abundant in scientific references, he presented a comic-strip of the famous Argentine cartoonist Quino to prompt future users of advanced X-ray sources to innovate in their experiments, and using photographs he shared some personal memories. See the file of Aldo Craievich´s presentation.

Instrumentos feitos com sucata nas mãos dos Bate-Lata... e do prof. Lei Jiang.
Scrap-materials instruments in the hands of Bate-Lata… and in plenary speaker Lei Jiang hands.

At around 8:45 pm, after the tributes and presentations, music, food and drink awaited the audience at the other side of the doors. Music was provided by the Bate Lata group, made up of children and adolescents associated to a program of sociocultural inclusion through music. The young musicians sang and played well-known popular Brazilian music, using traditional instruments and other instruments manufactured by them from scrap materials (clothesline, oil cans). The cocktail menu (bean broth, drumsticks, croquettes, cold beer and soft drinks) provided the mood of a São Paulo state bar. The confraternization resulted in many encounters and renewed encounters, anticipating the interactions and camaraderie that would reign until the end of the event.


Between Monday and Thursday, more than 2,000 contributions were presented by their authors (undergraduate students to senior researchers) in the 20 thematic symposiums, in the form of posters, oral presentations and invited talks.

sala-simposio    poster1    poster2

The event program also included two workshops, composed mainly of invited presentations. One was completely organized by students of the University Chapters of SBPMat. Another discussed sustainable development of materials with applications in social impact areas.

At the exhibition, the number of exhibitors set a record in the history of meetings of the society: there were 43 institutions and companies displaying their products and services (mostly scientific instruments) in the stands and in the 12 technical presentations.

Coffee breaks de manhã e de tarde: participantes repõem energias com café, suco e doces quitutes, enquanto interagem entre si e com os expositores.
Morning and afternoon coffee breaks: participants replenish their energy with coffee, juice and sweets, while interacting with each other and with the exhibitors.


At the time usually designated for lunch, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm, in this edition of the event it was possible to nourish the body while nourishing the intellect with the discussions that took place in the panel discussions.

Almoço e oportunidade na Alemanha.
Almoço + oportunidades na Alemanha.

On Monday, the session organized by the campaign “Research in Germany” of the German government, which also sponsored the snacks, presented research opportunities in Germany. About 80 participants, sitting at round tables, attended presentations of the German Academic Exchange Agency (DAAD), of “Research in Germany” campaign and of researchers who work or have worked in German institutions. First, a panorama of the robust education and research German was presented (thousands of various research institutions, about 2.5 to 2.8% of their GDP invested in R&D, 600 thousand people working in this segment). In the last decade, as it was said, the system has increased the number of foreign researchers – a number that already exceeds fifty thousand. Also shown were several grant opportunities and other resources that can be used by Brazilian academics of all levels of educational training to develop research projects in Germany, as well as the links to find more information. Finally, German researchers spoke briefly about their institutions and research groups on advanced materials, materials for electronics and optoelectronics, and medicine/biomaterials. The “Science Lunch”, as this session was called, ended in a very participatory format: public and speakers seated at the round tables while interacting, possibly about potential collaborations. Six archives of the presentations in this session are available at  B-MRS Slideshare.

Panel of editors. From the lefts: Sinnott, Smith, Novais de Oliveira (moderator), Samuel e Weiss.

The issue of scientific writing and publication, which had already been discussed Sunday afternoon, resumed on Tuesday at lunchtime. The session, called “Meet the editors” consisted of a discussion panel that brought together a director and the editors-in-chief of scientific journals of the area to talk about the publication of scientific articles. The panelists were: Ifor Samuel (editor-in-chief of Synthetic Metals, from Elsevier, the first journal devoted to organic electronics), Paul Weiss (editor-in-chief of ACS Nano, of the American Chemical Society, impact factor 13,334), Susan Sinnott (chief editor of Computational Materials Science, Elsevier) and Tim Smith (director at the publishing house of the Institute of Physics, IOP). While the audience of about 80 people, savored snacks, sweets, juices and fruits offered by IOP, the editors briefly presented their journals and Tim Smith talked about the set of publications of IOP Publishing in the Materials area. Smith explained that this group of journals recorded a 560% increase in articles downloaded from Brazil in the last 10 years. He also announced that IOP Publishing will conduct a pilot project (experimental) of double-blind peer reviews from January to December 2017, as an option for authors of the journal Materials Research Express. In this mode, the names and affiliations of the authors are removed from the articles before they are sent to the reviewers. The project, Smith said, will be done in response to the demands from sectors of the Materials and Life Sciences communities. A central theme of the speeches of the panelists regarded suggestion to authors who want their articles published (see box). At the end of the session, the panelists answered several questions from the audience.



box2enIn the discussion on Wednesday, the theme was the contribution of materials research concerning the generation of technological innovation and competitiveness in companies. The theme was addressed with the presentation of Brazilian cases where innovations are generated from research and development projects carried out jointly by university and industrial enterprises. The panel was coordinated by a scholar of technological innovation, Professor Ruy Quadros (Geosciences Institute, Department of Science and Technology Policy, UNICAMP, Brazil). Quadros opened the session by explaining that in the last 15 years, in a slow and continuous process, companies in Brazil have become more innovative. However, he pointed out that resources for innovation (including cultural) in companies are still incipient, hence the important role of public research in the process. Next, the leader of innovation management of Mahle, André Ferrarese, Master in Mechanical Engineering from USP, presented the company: a multinational supplier of systems of the automotive industry, which has 11 technology centers in the world (with 1,950 employees), with one center in Brazil, in the city of Jundiaí (São Paulo state). To launch an average of 4 new products per year, the company begins the process of innovation with about 130 new ideas, which turn into 23 projects. Throughout the process, Mahle collaborates with various international actors: research institutes, universities, suppliers… Ferrarese presented, in particular, the Brazilian case of a consortium in which Mahle participates, which is dedicated to pre-competitive research (knowledge generation and technology development phase, prior to product development). Tribo-Flex (name of the consortium that refers to their study subject, the Tribology of flex engines) brings together automotive companies, including direct competitors like Fiat, Renault and Volkswagen, as well as research institutions and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). The goal is to generate and disseminate scientific knowledge on topics of interest to companies. In the context of the consortium, experimental and theoretical studies, tests, courses, presentations at scientific events, and publication of articles were carried out. The origins of the consortium, Ferrarese explained, go back to 2009 when during an international crisis, some Mahle employees took advantage of their reduced work hours to attend university once a week. The relationship between industry and academia was transformed into the exchange of challenges, later into proposals and finally into projects that already have significant results in reducing the problems of engine components, in addition to preparing masters and doctors who can efficiently bridge the gap between industry and academia. See the file of the presentation.

Discussion on RD&I in Brazil.

The second company represented in the panel was Braskem, also a multinational company, but born in Brazil in 2002. A major petrochemical in the Americas and world leader in the production of biopolymers, the company has over 300 professionals working in the area of innovation, guided by an international scientific board of experts in areas relevant to the company. The company has already generated over 900 patents. Vinícius Galhard Grassi, leader of Polymer Science in the company, who has a Master`s degree in Materials Engineering and PhD in Chemistry from UFRGS, defended in the panel that both the university and companies are necessary for innovation. “Everyone does their part”, he said, showing in a slide the participation of each actor in the various stages of the innovation process (discovery, basic and applied research, product development and production). Companies need to aim at profit and cannot only promote science, said Grassi. Therefore, skills and resources that would be very costly to maintain internally, such as advanced characterization and frontier knowledge, are acquired at the university, where they already exist. Grassi also presented a series of Braskem’s innovation projects at various stages of development: self-healing plastics, smart polymeric packaging and a new polypropylene resin for producing foams, which after 10 years of project has just been released.

The third and final presentation of the discussion panel was given by Professor Milton Mori, executive director of Inova UNICAMP Innovation agency. Mori told briefly about the agency’s history and results. Inova UNICAMP is dedicated to identifying and promoting opportunities to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship. The agency provides assistance to researchers in the partnerships with companies, support in the patenting process of inventions and their dissemination and licensing, courses, awards and competitions. It also manages the Science and Technology Park of UNICAMP. Founded in 2003, Inova offers a portfolio of over a thousand patents (of which 13% of the technologies are co-authored by UNICAMP and companies). Mori also highlighted the daughter-companies of UNICAMP (as another way to transform the knowledge generated at the university into innovation), which currently generate nearly 22 thousand jobs, according to the calculations of Inova.


The meeting party.

On Wednesday night, about 200 participants of the meeting gathered under a different context: the party of the event. The venue chosen was Rudá, a bar and dance hall often frequented by students – an abounding group in Campinas, and particularly in Barão Geraldo, which has several higher education institutions. 

Participants of the event began arriving shortly after 9:00 pm, but the party really started only after the arrival of the B-MRS president, a little before 11:00 pm. In fact, Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior showed that his expertise is not only in science but also at parties. After he talked to the DJ, the party perked up and several people started dancing forró.

The party was attended mainly by the students, but some professors, including some of the plenary speakers were also there.



Hundreds of people attended the inspiring plenary lectures of the event.

One of the event highlights were the seven plenary lectures, in which scientists who are international protagonists in their research topics presented themes that are at the frontier of knowledge, ranging from basic research to products already on the market. To the satisfaction of the plenarists and organizers of the event, all plenary sessions were assisted by full auditoriums, with nearly 600 participants.

Elvira Fortunato

The first plenary of the event was delivered on Monday at 8:30 am by Professor Elvira Fortunato, director of the Materials Research Center (CENIMAT) of the University of New Lisbon (Portugal). Among the many important awards, this year she received the Blaise Pascal Medal for Materials Science from the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC). The speech of the Portuguese researcher focused on two materials for transistors, alternatives to silicon (usually used as semiconductor as well as insulator), that are more environmentally friendly and with some additional advantages. Firstly, Fortunato referred to the metal oxides, such as IGZO and ZTO. Besides displaying excellent performance as semiconductors, she explained, these materials offer high transparency – greatly desirable in displays – among other advantages. Metal oxides are already part of prototype screens that are on the market and which also continue being studied to reduce their manufacturing cost. The second alternative material presented by the speaker was no less than the role of paper, which she used to develop the award-winning paper-based transistor, where cellulose not only functions as a support but also as insulator. Flexible, lightweight, recyclable and cheap, Paper-e® opens up numerous application possibilities, from biosensors made in a common printer to intelligent electronic packaging, which when connected to the so-called “internet of things”, automatically updates the information it displays. To make the paper manufacturing process greener and faster, the CENIMAT group uses bacteria. Within two or three days in vinegar, they produce a nanocellulose which may have distinct properties with respect to plant cellulose, such as the desired transparency. See presentation of Elvira Fortunato.

Lei Jiang
Lei Jiang

The afternoon plenary on Monday, delivered by Professor Lei Jiang (of the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry – Chinese Academy of Sciences), primarily explained the extreme states of wettability, such as superhydrophobic surfaces, an area where the number of publications has increased dramatically in the last decade. Jiang began his presentation with an introduction about his way of doing research, which can be summarized as learning from nature, by observing it and drawing simple principles (discovery), to then imitate it (invention) and finally transfer this knowledge to industrial applications. Using microscopes and other relatively simple equipment, Jiang and his collaborators have analyzed the structure, in various micro and nanoscale resolutions, of surfaces of natural plants and animals in contact with water or oil, which have properties that are of interest to humans. Examples: the antifogging properties of mosquito eyes, the leaves of rice and lotus that do not get wet or dirty, butterfly wings in which water flows only in certain directions, the cobwebs and cacti that collect and store water efficiently, the underwater superoleophobicity behavior of fish scales. Inspired by these structures, Jiang designs and develops materials (polymers, ceramic thin films, hydrogels, photonic crystals, and others) and very useful devices (for water collecting systems, for water purification or for generating electricity, among many others). These discoveries and inventions have yielded Jiang and his team a collection of patents and publications in high impact journals, such as Nature, Nature Materials, Angewandte Chemie, Advanced Materials, Accounts of Chemical Research, Small and Journal of the American Chemical Society, among others. Moreover, several of the inventions are already circulating in society, outside the laboratory, such as hydro and oleophobic ties and scarves, which always remain clean; tempered-glass installed in public buildings in Beijing that clean themselves thanks to their superhydrophobic surface;  water-oil separation systems that traverse the world’s seas in more than 700 ships, and even an innovative printing system, already used to print newspapers, based on materials with special wettability. In developing countries, research, including basic research, must play a role in economic growth, Jiang said in the lecture, referencing an article of the Brazilian physicist José Goldemberg, published in Science in 1998. During the lecture, the Chinese scientist also referred to a principle observed in nature in various Eastern and Western philosophical works throughout the history of mankind (dialectics, ying yang, i ching), the binary systems whose elements cooperate with each other. For this interaction to occur, giving rise to a new phenomenon, said Jiang, the elements must be at a certain distance, the distance of cooperation, which should be considered in the design of smart materials.

Susan Sinnott

On Tuesday, the event program began with a plenary lecture on computer modeling in nano and atomic scales by Professor Susan Sinnot, director of the department  of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University (USA) and editor-in-chief of the journal Computational Materials Science (Elsevier). Throughout the presentation, Sinnott related the methods available and shared examples of their use in research on MAX phases, nickel-based superalloys, silicon copper-oxide interfaces and deformation of metals. The lecture showed that computational methods help explain the experimental behavior of materials, they are able to make predictions about their properties, help in the discovery of new materials, are critical to design “tailored” materials for certain applications, and also indicate the best routes to manufacture them. At the end of the lecture, professor Sinnott listed some of the limitations to be overcome in order to improve the computational materials science and expand its use, not only in academia but also in industry. For example, make error bars more accurate and more standard, and achieve greater integration in processing, characterization and simulation of materials. See presentation of Susan Sinnott.

Ado Jorio
Ado Jorio

A Brazilian scientist, professor at UFMG and with one of the highest H indexes in Brazil (75) was the plenary speaker on Tuesday. Ado Jorio talked about one of his specialities, the characterization of carbon nanostructures by optical techniques (particularly Raman spectroscopy), which, in few words, shed light on matter and measure what happens in the interaction, said Jorio. In these techniques, light is the probe in contact with matter, which he investigates. However, the wavelength of light is at least hundreds of nanometers greater than the study object. This characteristic limits the research… or presents opportunities to go further. Throughout the presentation professor Jorio showed a series of results, from the beginning of this century, in the study of carbon nanostructures, many of these achieved by improving the instrumentation. After sharing tips to enable looking into the tiny intimacy of the carbon structures by optical techniques, Jorio pointed to an interesting branch of his research work. He has participated in studies of the “Indian black earth” found in the Brazilian Amazon, which generally has very poor soil. This soil, however, displays high fertility because of the presence of carbon materials, which remained stable for hundreds of years. Using nanoscience characterization techniques, Jorio and colleagues found particular characteristics on the grain size of these carbon materials. These results can help develop in the laboratory a new black earth that can be used not only in agriculture but also as a way to store carbon sequestered from the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming. See presentation of Ado Jorio.

Ifor Samuel

On Wednesday morning, the plenary room received the audience with a beautiful photograph of northern lights over the sky of St. Andrews (Scotland) projected onto the video screens. This image anticipated that the speaker, Ifor Samuel, was a professor of the ancient University of St. Andrews (founded in 1413) and that the talk would have much to do with light, specifically with how humans make use of it by means of optoelectronic devices. Optoelectronics, said Samuel, is an area that makes use of the ability of some materials to convert electrons into light and light into electricity, to create devices. In Organic Optoelectronics, the basis of these devices is conjugated polymers, organic materials that can conduct electricity. The discovery and development of these polymers, explained Samuel, was the subject of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000. Organic semiconductors have interesting features when compared to the conventional ones. They are flexible and light, and are manufactured by means of simple and inexpensive processes, its properties can be adjusted by changing its structure, and they also emit light. With these characteristics, they have numerous applications, some of which are already on the market. One of the best known is the flexible OLED screen, but there are many others and more are yet to come. In his plenary lecture, Samuel presented some new applications of these materials, developed in the Organic Semiconductor Centre at the University of St. Andrews, under his direction. In the area of Biology and Medicine, Professor Samuel showed, for example, a small light emitting device, thin, wearable and disposable, which allows ambulatory treatment of skin cancer by photodynamic therapy. The device has been tested in patients with excellent results both in terms of healing lesions as well as the comfort of treatment. In the communications area, Samuel listed a number of devices for data transmission via LiFi (a type of WiFi which uses a part of visible light of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit information at high speed). In the field of sensors, he showed polymer lasers that can efficiently detect explosives. Many of the developments achieved by Samuel and his collaborators have generated patents, which are mostly licensed to companies. See presentation of Ifor Samuel.

Paul Weiss

The speaker on Wednesday afternoon was Paul Weiss, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of materials science and engineering at UCLA (USA) and founding editor-in-chief of ACS Nano. During the lecture, the audience could know about the skills developed by Weiss, his research group and collaborators for conducting experimental research with molecules, not only to understand their structure and function but also to control them. Paul Weiss shared with the public a series of experiments in which molecules were individually isolated, displaced, placed in controlled environments, stimulated with light, modified, measured and encouraged to form self-assembled structures with specific functions. These scientific achievements have occurred thanks to the knowledge and expertise developed over years of work, and hundreds or thousands of measurements performed on instruments refined by the group. Knowledge and expertise which also helps Paul Weiss to carry out a study project concerning the features and disorders of the brain together with a number of collaborators – including his wife Anne Andrews, responsible for convincing him to devote efforts to a nano and chemical approach of neuroscience.

Anders Hagfeldt
Anders Hagfeldt

As with all the other lectures, the last plenary lecture of the event clearly exposed the connection of materials research with the needs of society. In this case, the theme was solar cells, devices that produce electricity from sunlight, which is a source of renewable, clean, safe and practically inexhaustible energy. The speaker was Professor Anders Hagfeldt (EPFL, Switzerland), one of the most cited scientists in the world. There are several technologies at different stages of development in the area of solar cells, and they differ mainly by the material responsible for releasing electrons in response to the absorption of photons. In his plenary lecture, Hagfeldt referred to two technologies that are still in the research phase: perovskite solar cells (PSCs) and the dye-sensitized ones (DSSCs). The scientist spoke briefly about the history of the development of both technologies. In the case of DSSCs, the first solar cell with good efficiency in converting light to electricity was done in 1991 and reached the 7.1% mark.  Today, 15 years later, the dye used is still the same (it could not be replaced) and its efficiency reached 14.3%. This value is similar to the starting point, 4 years ago, of PSCs, which now reach 22.1% efficiency, but it still does not exhibit stability. If, on the one hand DSSCs cannot replace competing technologies because of their low efficiency, on the other hand, Hagfeldt suggested, they can take ownership of some niches where they make a difference because of their color, low cost and because they are easy to manufacture. In fact, this was the technology chosen to compose kits for homemade solar cells, distributed in secondary schools in Sweden, Hagfeldt’s country of origin. The speaker also showed a number of attempts, some of them very successful, to increase efficiency and stability of solar cells from innovations in manufacture processes and composition of materials, in device structure and in by combinating various materials. See presentation of Anders Hagfeldt.


The closing session of the fifteenth edition of the annual SBPMat meeting began around noon with a few words and slides by Professor Mônica Cotta. The chairlady highlighted the public rooms full with participants, the packed program, the high participation and interaction of the public and the large number of participants – in spite of the fact that Campinas is not a tourist attraction, she joked. After thanking everyone who collaborated in the organization (SBPMat team, student volunteers) and to all who attended the event, she reminded everyone that the next SBPMat meeting will be in Gramado (RS) and announced that the chairman will be Professor Daniel Weibel (UFRGS).

Then, Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior, representing SBPMat, and Professor Rodrigo Martins, representing the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) as a former president, signed a cooperation agreement between the two societies to promote scientific collaboration between researchers from Brazil and Europe and in particular to encourage the participation of SBPMat members in the events of E-MRS and members of the E-MRS in the SBPMat meetings, both as participants as well as symposium coordinators.

The event ended in a mood of celebration, with the presentation of awards to student authors for the best work presentations of the event. Professor Ana Flavia Nogueira gave thirteen Bernhard Gross awards, granted by SBPMat to the best contribution of each symposium. Then, Professor Cátia Ornelas (UNICAMP), chair of the Brazilian chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS), gave the ACS awards to the best five works among the winners of the Bernhard Gross award. These students received a cash prize, sponsored by ACS, in addition to the certificate. Then, Professor Elvira Fortunato, representing the E-MRS, announced the winners of the prize offered by the european society to the best works of symposium B (nanocellulose materials). Finally, Professors Roberto Faria and Rodrigo Martins, representing the IUMRS as second vice president and committee coordinator, respectively, handed out the awards granted by that entity to the authors of the best posters of the event related to the sustainable use of raw materials from Brazil. In addition to receiving a trophy and certificate, the three winners were awarded free registration at the next IUMRS event, and the first place will also receive assistance to finance his/her stay. See here the full list of award winners.

Vencedores dos prêmios para estudantes.
Students awards winners.



(Português) Edgar Zanotto (UFSCar), cofundador da SBPMat, ministra palestra memorial no centenário da Society of Glass Technology.

Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese.

SBPMat e-newsletter – Special issue: XV B-MRS Meeting.


Sociedade Brasileira de Pesquisa em Materiais (SBPMat)

Brazil – Materials Research Society (B-MRS) 

Getting prepared for the XV B-MRS Meeting!

Meeting overview

International and interdisciplinary, the annual meeting of the B-MRS (SBPMat) is dedicated to the presentation and discussion of scientific and technological advances in the field of materials.

The 15th edition of the meeting will be held in September, 25 to 29, in the city of Campinas (State of São Paulo), at the Expo D. Pedro convention center. 

  • Technical presentations: about 2,000 abstracts have been accepted.
  • Participants: more than 1,500 registrations, from 20 different countries (up to the moment).
  • Exhibition: 43 stands.
  • Technical program: 8 plenary lectures (including memorial lecture) + 20 thematic symposia with oral and poster sessions and invited lectures + 2 workshops + 2 tutorials + 3 discussion panels.
  • Scope: nanomaterials, biomaterials, surfaces, organic electronic materials, electroceramics, advanced metals, nanocellulose, experimental and computational techniques for materials study, materials performance under extreme conditions. Materials applications in the segments of energy, healthcare, transportation, neurosciences, electronics and photonics, among others. Also, RD&I, startup ventures, scientific writing and publishing, international collaboration, ethical issues.

We are looking forward to see you in Campinas! See message from the conference chairladies, Prof. Ana Flávia Nogueira (Unicamp, Institute of Chemistry) and Prof. Mônica Alonso Cotta (Unicamp, “Gleb Wataghin” Institute of Physics), here.

Useful information

Accommodation and tickets. See the list of the travel agency Follow Up with hotels, hostels, guesthouses, flights and travel information. Here.  

Poster printing service. See options to print your poster at the convention center. Here. 

Venue. See video of the city of Campinas and folder about the Expo D. Pedro convention center.  

How to get there. See map. Transfer to the venue will be available for Vitória hotels guests. For public transportation to venue, search bus options, or download the app with real-time info about buses.

Food, parking and services. Expo D. Pedro convention center is adjacent to one of the largest shopping centers in Latin America, which has big range of food, services, shopping and leisure options. The convention center holds some cafés that will be open during the event. Parking at the convention center is available at R$ 8 (12 hours). 

Program. Short program and full program (symposium by symposium) are available on the website. Here.

Vacation packages. The Follow Up website also suggests tour packages for before and after the event. Here.

Publication of contributions: The papers presented at the XV B-MRS Meeting may be submitted by their authors to peer review for publication in IOP scientific journals. More info.

Registration. Registration for the event is still open. Here. 

Special activities: free registration is required

Tutorial “Hands-on tutorial on simulations using Reactive ForceFields: overview and applications”. Sunday (25/09) from 14h00 to 17h00. Free registration in the registration form of the meeting, where activities can be selected. If you have already filled out the meeting registration form, but you have not selected the activity, log in again and modify your registration. Know more about this tutorial.

Tutorial “School of Scientists: Scientific Writing Tutorial”. Sunday (25/09) from 14h00 to 17h00. Free registration in the registration form of the meeting, where activities can be selected. If you have already filled out the meeting registration form, but you have not selected the activity, log in again and modify your registration. Know more about this tutorial.

Discussion panel “Science Lunch: Research in Germany”. Monday (26/09) from 12h00  to 14h00. This session will bring together scientists and funding agencies from Germany to discuss research opportunities in that country. Limited availability. An informal lunch will be offered to participants. Learn more and complete your registration free of charge. Here.

Discussion panel “Meet the Editors”. Tuesday (27/09) from 12h00 to 14h00. This round table will host Ifor Samuel (editor-in-chief of Synthetic Metals), Paul Weiss (editor-in-chief of ACS Nano), Susan Sinnott (editor-in-chief of Computational Materials Science), and Tim Smith (IOP Publishing director) who will discuss scientific publication. Limited availability. Lunch boxes sponsored by IOP will be offered to participants. Free registration in the registration form of the meeting, where activities can be selected. If you have already filled out the meeting registration form, but you have not selected the activity, log in again and modify your registration. 

Discussion panel “Materials Research and Innovation”. Wednesday (28/09) from 12h00 to 14h00. This panel will bring together representatives of companies Mahle and Braskem and innovation agency Inova-Unicamp, who will present cases of university-industry collaboration for R&D in Brazil and discuss the role of materials research in innovation. Limited availability. Lunch boxes sponsored by IOP will be offered to participants. Free registration in the registration form of the meeting, where activities can be selected. If you have already filled out the meeting registration form, but you have not selected the activity, log in again and modify your registration. 

Social Program Highlights

During the Opening Ceremony, starting on Sunday (25/09) at 19h00, B-MRS will homage Prof. José Arana Varela, past president of the society and one its founders. Prof. Varela passed away on May, this year. 

After the Opening Ceremony, by 19h30, B-MRS will bestowed the Memorial Lecture “Joaquim da Costa Ribeiro” on Prof. Aldo Craievich. This recognition is annually granted to researchers with outstanding work in materials science and technology, and it pays homage to Prof. Joaquim da Costa Ribeiro, a pioneer in experimental research in materials in Brazil. Prof. Aldo Craievich will deliver a lecture about advanced characterization of materials.

After the Memorial Lecture, by 20h30, don´t miss the Welcome Cocktail that will feature a very special and sustainable percussion performance.

The Students Awards Ceremony will be held during the Closing Session, on Thursday (29/09) from 12h00 to 14h00. B-MRS will bestow the tradicional “Bernhard Gross Award”, which highlights the best works in each symposium, and honors Bernhard Gross, a pioneer of materials science in Brazil. The American Chemical Society (ACS) and the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS ) will also confer awards. The winners have to be present at the Closing Ceremony in order to receive the prizes.

Plenary Lectures

Paper and metal oxides are some of the materials that Professor Elvira Fortunato (New University of Lisbon, Portugal) uses to develop electronic devices, which, besides producing low environmental impact, promise to make our many everyday objects become electronic, revolutionizing our lives. Learn more about these innovations and the trajectory of its inventor, who will deliver a plenary lecture on green electronics, on Monday (26/09) at 8h30. See interview.


Plants and animals are important sources of knowledge and inspiration for Professor Lei Jiang and his group. In their laboratories at the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry in Beijing (China), they develop smart materials, e.g., interfaces that switch between superhydrophilicity and superhydrophobicity. The findings of professor Lei Jiang, in addition to generating publications that received tens of thousands of citations, yielded products which are already widely used. Learn more about this scientist, his way of doing science, his discoveries and his scientific and also philosophical concept of binary cooperative complementary materials, which he will discuss in a plenary lecture on Monday (26/09) at 16h45. See interview.


Imagine yourself inserting in a computer the material properties you desire for a specific application and obtaining the project of the most appropriate material. This is a promise of computational materials science, an issue whose recent advances will be discussed by Professor Susan Sinnott on Tuesday (27/09) at 8h30. Sinnott heads the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Pennsylvania State University (USA). She is editor-in-chief of the journal Computational Materials Science. Her scientific production includes important contributions to the development of simulation tools for heterogeneous material systems at the atomic scale. See interview. 


On Tuesday (27/09) at 16h45, physicist Ado Jorio de Vasconcelos (Professor at the Brazilian Federal University of Minas Gerais, UFMG) will deliver a plenary lecture on the use of Raman spectroscopy for the study of carbon nanostructures. Jorio is an expert in the application of optics in nanostructure studies. In 2001, he became the first researcher to use an optical technique to study carbon nanotubes individually. He holds an H index of 74, one of the highest in Brazil, and is the author of approximately 200 publications with over 30,000 citations. See interview.


Organic semiconductors do not mystify Professor Ifor Samuel, leader and founder of a research group and a R&D center on this subject at the University of St Andrews (Scotland). In his daily routine, Prof. Samuel not only strives to thoroughly understand these materials, but also to find new applications for them in different fields, from dermatologic medicine to the detection of explosives. In addition to hundreds of articles, he has several patents which have been licensed to companies. On Wednesday (28/09) at 8h30, he will deliver a plenary lecture on optoelectronics based on organic semiconductors. See interview.


By exploring the limits of miniaturization, the nanoscientist Paul Weiss (UCLA , USA) and his team developed innovative instruments and techniques, as well as the ability to manipulate molecules. In this way, they have already set up and operated the smallest motors and switches in the world. On Wednesday (28/09) at 16h45, Professor Weiss, who is founder and editor-in-chief of ACS Nano, will talk about function at the nanoscale. Learn more about some of the major contributions of Paul Weiss to nanoscience and about the secrets of the impact of the journal he leads. See interview.


60 years ago, solar cells were only found in artificial satellites. Today, they are part of the energy matrix of many countries and, in the near future, maybe they will provide electricity to consumer electronics, among other applications. On Thursday (29/09) at 10h45, Professor Anders Hagfeldt (EPFL , Switzerland) will discuss recent scientific advances in two technologies, very promising for solar cells: those based on perovskite and dyes. Know more about solar cells and about Prof. Hagfeldt, who appears in several rankings due to his 47,000 citations and H index of 103. See interview. 


To unsubscribe, click here


Public Note of the Brazilian Materials Research Society.

Scientists warn about the need to value investments in science, technology and innovation to resume economic growth.

The board and committee of the Brazilian Research Materials Society (SBPMat) hereby urges the Brazilian Congress to maintain, in the 2017 budget, the investments in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) at the levels of recent years, before the drastic cuts which took place in 2015 and 2016. We are aware of the joint effort of society to balance the public accounts, but it is unacceptable that the CTI cuts are far heftier than the drop in tax collection and the decline in domestic gross product.

Equally worrying are the cuts in higher education and in the National Post-Graduate System, evidenced by the interruption or reduction of CAPES programs. These are programs that ensure the continuous process of qualified training, leveraging the critical mass of human capital so that the scientific and technological development achieved can effectively influence industrial innovation, increase the added value of national production, and ensure the social and economic well-being of future generations.

In a country like Brazil, which has not yet reached its scientific and technological maturity to be among the developed nations, the contribution of CTI is sometimes overlooked. The extensive production gains in areas such as agriculture and livestock, extraction and mineral processing, which guarantee balancing our trade surpluses, often go unnoticed. Also unnoticed is the excellence of medicine and digital technology, which directly benefits the daily life of society.

Our specific area, research and new materials solutions, is essential for the future of Brazil as a sovereign nation and less susceptible to the interest of other countries. We are the largest producer of quartz and niobium in the world and we are among the largest in rare earths and other strategic minerals of immense commercial value. Our biodiversity offers a countless number of new organic materials that can be applied in health and in industry segments such as energy and electronics.

We know that the consequences of CTI cuts will be devastating. Besides holding back the continuous advances of recent decades, which threaten to scrap laboratories and squander the value already invested, the cuts realized render infeasible the national technology and the formation of human resources, which is vital to promote sustainable development.

Those who believe that cuts in CTI and in higher education have little impact on the lives of ordinary citizens are mistaken. In the short term, these cuts initially have a more apparent effect on the academic communities in the large centers in Brazil. However, the most affected will be the lowest socioeconomic strata in the medium and long term. These strata have no access to imported material, medical treatment and education abroad, which is only available to the privileged class. The underprivileged are the ones who will suffer if Brazil continues with a tenuous and not uneven government policy, which can cripple the structure of science, technology and innovation, arduously built over recent decades.

B-MRS (SBPMat) newsletter. English edition. Year 3, issue 8.


Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat) newsletter

News update from Brazil for the Materials community

English edition. Year 3, issue 8. 
XV Brazil-MRS (SBPMat) Meeting - Campinas (SP), Sept 25-29, 2016 

1,909 abstracts have been accepted to be presented at the XV SBPMat/ Brazil-MRS Meeting. 

Registration: Registration for the event is open. Here.

Awards. In addition to the Bernhard Gross Award, this year there will also be an ACS award (American Chemical Society). The winners have to be present at the closing ceremony in order to receive the prizes (Sept 29, from 11h45 to 14h00).

Program. The short and full (symposium by symposium) versions are available on the website. Here.

Special Sessions – Science Lunch “Research in Germany”, Sept 26, from 12h00 to 14h00. This session will bring together scientists and funding agencies from Germany to discuss research opportunities in that country. Limited availability. Learn more and complete your registration free of charge, here.

Special Sessions – Meet the Editors, Sept 27, from 12h00 to 14h00. The round table “Meet the editors” will host Paul Weiss (editor-in-chief of ACS Nano), Susan Sinnott (editor-in-chief of Computational Materials Science), Ifor Samuel (editor-in-chief of Synthetic Metals) and Tim Smith (IOP Publishing director) who will discuss scientific publication. Limited availability. Free registration in the registration form of the meeting, where activities can be selected. 

Special Sessions – Materials Research and Innovation, Sept 28, from 12h00 to 14h00. This panel will bring together representatives of Mahle, Braskem and Inova-Unicamp, who will present cases of university-industry collaboration for R&D in Brazil and discuss the role of materials research in innovation. Limited availability. Free registration in the registration form of the meeting, where activities can be selected. 

Tutorials: Two tutorials will be offered on Sept 25 from 14h00 to 17h00 to those registered at the event, at no extra cost. One tutorial is on computer simulations of atomic systems using Reactive Force Fields (theory and practice). The second, organized by Professor Valtencir Zucolotto, will address the capabilities required to make high-impact science, including scientific writing. Free registration in the registration form of the meeting, where activities can be selected. 

Publication of contributions: The papers presented at the XV Brazil-MRS Meeting may be submitted by their authors for peer review for publication in IOP scientific journals. More info.

Plenary sessions:  View the abstracts of the plenary lectures and the memorial lecture of our event and bios of the scientists presenting them. Here.

Exhibition: It will comprise 43 stands.

Accommodation and tickets: See the list of the travel agency “Follow Up” with hotels, hostels, guesthouses and the forms to book flights. Here. 

Vacation packages: The Follow Up website also suggests tour packages for before and after the event. Here.

Venue: See video of the city of Campinas and folder about the Expo Dom Pedro convention center. 

Organizers: This edition of the event is coordinated by Prof. Ana Flávia Nogueira (Unicamp, Institute of Chemistry) and Prof. Mônica Alonso Cotta (Unicamp, “Gleb Wataghin” Institute of Physics). See who are the members of the local committee and view the photos of the organizers. Here.

SBPMat news
SBPMat is pleased to announce that the XVI SBPMat/ Brazil-MRS Meeting will be held in Gramado (RS) from 24 to 28 10 to 14 September 2017.
Featured paper 

A study developed in Brazil by means of computer simulations showed that a defect in two-dimensional bismuth nanoribbon atom network generates conductive states in regions of the nanoribbons that should be in an insulating state. This work contributes to the study of a class of recently discovered materials, the topological insulators, and it was published in the scientific journal Nano Letters. See our story about the paper. 

People in the Materials Community
Professor Victor Carlos Pandolfelli (DEMa-UFSCar) was chosen to serve as one of the editors-in-chief of the journal Ceramics International (Elsevier). More.
Interviews with plenary speakers of the XV Brazil-MRS Meeting
Imagine yourself inserting in a computer the material properties you desire for a specific application and obtaining the project of the most appropriate material. This is a promise of Computational Materials Science, and it will be addressed by Prof. Susan Sinnott in a plenary lecture of the XV Brazil-MRS Meeting. Sinnott is Professor and Director of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Pennsylvania State University (USA) and editor-in-chief of the journal Computational Materials Science. Her scientific production, with more than 10,000 citations, includes important contributions to the development of simulation tools for heterogeneous material systems at the atomic scale. See our interview with the scientist. 


Reading tips

Research carried out with the participation of Brazilian scientists advances in the understanding of magnetic noise, which generates imperfections in magnetic materials applications (based on paper of Physical Review Letters). Here.

  • XV Brazil-MRS Meeting (XV Encontro da SBPMat). Campinas, SP (Brazil). September, 25 to 29, 2016. Site. 
  • Aerospace Technology 2016. Stockholm (Sweden). October, 11 to 12, 2016. Site.
  • AutoOrg 2016. 5th Meeting on self-assembly structures in solutions and at interfaces. Florianópolis, SC (Brazil). November, 2 to 4, 2016. Site. 
  • I Simpósio Nacional de Nanobiotecnologia; II Workshop de Nanobiotecnologia da UFMG – Avanços & Aplicações. Belo Horizonte, MG (Brazil). December, 1 to 2, 2016. Site.

To unsubscribe, click here