Report of the XIV SBPMat Meeting: plenary lectures with their files, memorial lecture, symposia, awards…


Sunday, September 27. By 6:45 pm. Hundreds of people enter the plenary room of the Convention Center “SulAmérica”, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) for the opening ceremony of the 14th annual meeting of the Brazil Materials Research Society, whose acronym in Portuguese is SBPMat. The opening table is composed by the chairmen of the event, Prof. Marco Cremona (Brazil) and Prof. Fernando Lázaro Freire Junior (Brazil), as well as the present SBPMat president, Prof. Roberto Mendonça Faria (Brazil), the immediate past president of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS), Prof. Rodrigo Martins (Portugal), and the general secretary of the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS), Prof. Robert Chang (USA). Behind them, a big banner shows the logos of dozens of institutions and companies that gave financial support to the event.

At the opening table, from the readers´ left: Prof. Rodrigo Martins (Portugal, E-MRS immediate past president and IUMRS officer), Prof. Fernando Lázaro Freire Junior (Brazil, chair of the event), Prof. Marco Cremona (Brazil, chair of the event), Prof. Roberto Mendonça Faria (Brazil, SBPMat president), and Prof. Robert Chang (USA, IUMRS general secretary).

Near 1,000 attendants are present at the ceremony, which starts with the Brazilian national anthem. The chair Prof. Cremona welcomes the participants to the meeting. Prof. Robert Chang, who was president of MRS (Materials Research Society) in 1989 and founded IUMRS in 1991, convokes the participants of all countries to try to solve together the most important global challenges for materials research, related to health, food, environment, transport etc. Representing E-MRS, Prof. Martins, who presently takes care of Global Leadership and Service Award at IUMRS, emphasizes his desire of promoting international connections. Prof. Faria talks a little bit about Brazil, which, as well as other developing countries, is very rich in raw materials but needs to add value to its products by means of science and technology.

After the opening, Prof. Eloisa Biasotto Mano (Brazil) goes to the stage for the Memorial Lecture “Joaquim da Costa Ribeiro“, which is a distinction bestowed annually by SBPMat on a Brazilian researcher with outstanding career in the field of Materials. This 91-year-old scientist pursued international scientific education at a time when most women were illiterate in Brazil, and founded in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) the first research group in polymers in the country. This group later became the Institute of Macromolecules (IMA), which was directed by Eloisa until she retired. In the memorial lecture, she talks about macromolecular materials and, using a representation of a polyethylene molecule made by herself with wire, she shows how these kind of molecules behave in response to their big size. A group of Prof. Eloisa´s disciples (among them, the present director of IMA) assists her with the presentation, showing affection, gratitude and admiration for her . After the talk, many attendants of diverse ages make a queue to take a picture with this protagonist of the dawn of polymer science in Brazil. Eloisa, who is professor emeritus of UFRJ, poses for all the pictures she is ask to. At the end of the photo session, she accepts our microphone and leaves a message for the young people starting a carreer in science:

Right after the memorial lecture, in the same venue, the participants enjoy the welcome cocktail while meeting friends and collaborators. The cocktail is animated by live “chorinho” music, an instrumental Brazilian popular genre original from Rio de Janeiro.



Nader Engheta

Nader Engheta.

Monday, September 28. At 8:30 in the morning, the plenary room is full of attendants waiting to learn about metamaterials and the extreme behavior of waves interacting with them in the first plenary lecture of the event. The speaker is Nader Engheta, the H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania (United States). This Iranian-born scientist is a recognized world leader in research on metamaterials, and holds an H number of 69. Through experimental and theoretical research, Engheta and his collaborators have created such unconventional things as nanocircuits made of metamaterials that function as optical filters. Since the beginning of the talk, Engheta captivates the audience with some history of science and with a world of structures created by using particular composite metamaterials with particular sizes and geometries and arranged in particular ways with the aim of obtaining unconventional interaction with light and other waves.


Edgar Zanotto.

Edgar Zanotto.

In the afternoon, at 3:30, more than 400 people attend the second plenary lecture, which is about glass-ceramics (materials formed through controlled crystallization of certain glasses). The speaker is the Brazilian researcher Edgar Zanotto, Professor at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), in Brazil, where he founded and heads the Vitreous Materials Laboratory (LaMaV) that assembles a big international team. Zanotto, who is a world-renowned expert on glass-ceramics, presents in his lecture many useful applications of these materials, such as cooking hobs or artificial bones and teeth. He also mentions the scientists who, along 60 years of glass-ceramics history, contributed to the advancement of research on that topic. In spite of those contributions, the comprehension of some aspects of the formation of glass-ceramics is not complete, he says, but that is not a problem for glass-ceramics fabrication and applications. It´s just an opportunity for fundamental scientists.


Paul Ducheyne. Biomaterials. Merging Materials Science with Biology.

Paul Ducheyne.

Tuesday, September 29. 8:30 am, time for the third plenary lecture of the event. The lecturer, Prof. Paul Ducheyne, also comes from University of Pennsylvania (USA), where he directs a multidisciplinary center for bioactive materials and tissue engineering research. An authority on biomaterials field, Ducheyne is the editor in chief of a six-volume book on biomaterials published in 2011. In the talk, he shows a series of biomaterial-made devices, grafts, scaffolds etc., most of them already being commercialized, that actively interact with the body, either by promoting tissue formation (for example, bone) or by releasing drugs for diverse treatments. Ducheyne presents their effects on solving health problems, numbers about their markets, and scientific recent advances that can make them even more effective.

Ulrike Diebold. Surfaces of Metal Oxides.
Ulrike Diebold.

Some hours later, at 3:30 pm, hundreds of participants cluster again, this time around Prof. Ulrike Diebold, whose research group at UT Wien (Austria) is devoted to the understanding of fundamental mechanisms and processes occurring in surfaces at the atomic scale. Prof. Diebold catches the audience attention from the beginning to the end by showing, through scanning tunneling microscopy images, how she spies the behavior of atoms on the surface of metal oxides – topic in which she is a worldwide leader researcher. In particular, she reveals two secrets of metal oxide surfaces: the first one about how oxygen adsorbs on titanium dioxide and the second one about how active single metal atoms are in oxidation process in magnetite.

George Malliaras.
George Malliaras.

Wednesday, September 30. In the plenary lecture of the morning, the audience is transported again to the social-impacting world of biomaterials by Prof. George Malliaras, Greek-born, working at École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne (France), where he heads the Department of Bioelectronics. Malliaras has an H index of 64. After many years working on organic electronics, he entered the new field of organic bioelectronics and obtained impacting results. His research is about electronic devices made of conducting polymers that match properties of living tissues. These devices are used for interfacing with human brain – a “natural electronic device”. The final purpose is to study brain activity or diagnose and even treat neurological diseases such as epilepsy. An example of device is a transistor that enables boosted in vivo recording of brain activity with low invasion. As suggestions for the materials community, Malliaras highlights the importance of collaboration with neuroscientists and physicians and the challenge of improving the understanding of electronic transport and structure.


Ichiro Takeuchi. Combinatorial Approach to Materials Discovery.

Ichiro Takeuchi.

In the talk of the afternoon, the speed of science progress accelerates following the beat of the combinatorial approach. Prof. Ichiro Takeuchi, from University of Maryland (USA), explains how his group manages to optimize materials and properties discovery. As well as in lottery one can buy a big number of tickets to have more chances to win a prize, in materials discovery scientists can produce a huge number of combinations of elements to obtain a compound with desirable properties. For example, for quaternary compounds, millions of combinations are possible, from which only 0,01 % are known. In Prof. Takeuchi´s lab, machines for thin film deposition used with masks work night and day to create patchwork-like samples containing libraries of similar compounds. Then, the libraries are characterized by rapid tools, giving information about the properties of several compounds at the same time. Coupled with appropriate theory and computational simulations, these high-throughput experiments become real materials discovery engines.

Claudia Draxl. On the Search of Novel Materials: Insight and Discovery though sharing of big data.
Claudia Draxl.

Thursday, October 1st, 8:30 am. In the last plenary lecture of the event, Prof. Claudia Draxl (Humboldt University, Germany) publicly wonders how to make available the huge amount of data resulting from experiments around the world, high-throughput screening, computer clusters etc. Why to do that with scientific data? For confirmation, broad dissemination in society, sharing with distant collaborators and reuse with new purposes. With that aim, Prof. Draxl and collaborators from European countries are facing the development of a repository of materials raw data, called Novel Materials Discovery (NoMaD), which hosts, organizes and shares materials data on the web.



Some of the symposia coordinators with the meeting chairs and the SBPMat president.

The symposia at SBPMat annual meetings are selected from proposals that can be submitted to the event committee by any scientist from anywhere in the world. This edition of the event encompassed 26 symposia (including the satellite event “8th International Summit on Organic and Hybrid Solar Cells Stability”) and 2 workshops, and it registered symposia coordinators from Argentina, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Swiss, USA, and, of course, Brazil. Within the symposia, near 190 invited speeches and more than 2,000 technical works are presented and discussed in oral and posters sessions, on a wide range of subjects going from carbon nanostructures to biomaterials, from characterization techniques to computer simulation, from materials for sustainable development to safe use of nanomaterials.

While some symposia have been held year after year in the SBPMat meeting, the University Chapters symposium was a novelty of this year meeting. It was completely organized by students from diverse points of Brazil who are coordinators of the SBPMat University Chapters. The chapters are organized teams, affiliated with the society, composed of graduate and undergraduate students working in materials field. The members of these groups carry out diverse activities that complement their academic education. The students from the existing chapters, which were eight in number up to the moment of the meeting, faced the challenge of organizing a symposium – a task that is usually done by senior researchers.

In fact, students have not only active but also massive participation in the XIV SBPMat meeting. Almost half of the attendants (950 people) were master, doctoral and even undergraduate students doing research on materials field. In Brazil, the federal agency for research support, CNPq, has a program called “scientific initiation” that grants scholarships to undergraduate students to conduct research under the supervision of a Professor.

For the oral sessions of the symposia, all along the meeting, after the morning plenary session, and before and after the afternoon plenary talks, the attendants distributed themselves among 17 rooms. The poster sessions took place at the end of the afternoon from Monday to Wednesday and in the morning on Thursday. Walking through the long corridors of the poster sessions, one could see active scientific discussion, many times between a young author and a renowned researcher. One could also hear very positive comments about the original arrangement of the poster panels. The size of the poster session was impressive. In total, near 1,800 research works were presented in the posters.

View of the first poster session.



Twice a day from Monday to Wednesday, the attendants could take a break and have a coffee with cookies while visiting the exhibition of the event, which encompassed 32 stands showing a variety of scientific instruments, services, scientific journals, books and opportunities for the materials community. In addition, on Wednesday, the participants had the opportunity to attend four hours of technical talks given by some expositors about fabrication and characterization techniques.

Coffee break and exhibition.



On Thursday by 12:30 the closing ceremony started. In the closing panel, Prof. Soo Wohn Lee, from MRS Korea and conference chair of the IUMRS-ICAM 2015, joined the representatives of SBPMat, E-MRS and IUMRS.

In his final remarks, the meeting chair Prof. Cremona presented some photos of the past days and hours that made the public remember so nice and fruitful moments. He also presented the numbers of the event: 2,000 registered people from 985 institutions, among which 300 were foreign researchers from 40 countries. Finally, he announced that the next SBPMat annual meeting will be held in Campinas city (São Paulo state).

After the closing words, more than 20 prizes were given to young researchers within four different awards: the Bernhard Gross Award, a traditional SBPMat recognition for the best works of students, and the awards bestowed by IUMRS, E-MRS and Horiba.

Announcement of the students who won the Bernhard Gross Award.

See list of the awards winners.

SBPMat newsletter. English edition. Year 2, issue 5.


Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat) newsletter

News update from Brazil for the Materials community

English edition. Year 2, issue 5. 

SBPMat news: XIV Meeting – Rio de Janeiro, Sept 27 to Oct 1, 2015

Program: 7 plenary lectures with worldwide renowned scientists are already confirmed. Know more about the plenary speakers and their lectures.

Abstract submission: Abstract submission deadline extended until June 15th. Here see instructions for authors and submit your abstract.

Bernhard Gross award: Authors who are students can submit extended abstracts to compete for the award for best works (one oral and one poster) of each simposium. More info.

Registrations: The early registration is open until July 31. The value of the registrations includes participation in the event, program book, welcoming reception, and daily coffee breaks. Learn more.

Proceedings: authors of works presented in the meeting will have the possibility to submit papers to peer review for publication in IOP Materials journalsKnow more.

Fapesp financial aid: PhDs in the State of São Paulo can apply from 16th to 24th June to request resources to attend the XIV SBPMat Meeting. Know more.

Hosting: A list of hotels is available, with special conditions for participants of the XIV SBPMat Meeting. Here.

Sponsors and exhibitors: 25 companies have already booked their place in the XIV SBPMat Meeting. Contact for exhibitors and other sponsors:

Go to the event website.

SBPMat XIV Meeting: interviews with plenary speakers

Professor Ulrike Diebold (UT Wien, Austria) will speak in the XIV SBPMat Meeting about the surfaces of metal oxides. These materials are used for gas monitoring, catalysis, anti-corrosion, energy conversion, pigmentation and many other applications. Using her scanning tunneling microscopes (STM), Diebold investigates, for example, atomic-scale defects in the network of metal oxides. In our interview, she talked about his major contributions in the field of metal oxides and about the power of STM technique for the study of surfaces. She also left a tempting invitation to go to her lecture and shared with us nice STM images. See the interview.

We also interviewed professor Edgar Zanotto (UFSCar, Brazil), whose plenary talk will be about glass-ceramics – materials formed from the crystallization of certain glasses. Since the beginning of his scientific career, Zanotto has been studying the mechanisms of formation of glass-ceramics and developing applications for them. In the XIV SBPMat Meeting, the scientist will talk about past and future, including the development of new glass-ceramics and their use in new products. See the interview.

Featured paper

In a study about magnetic properties of nanocrystalline thin films, held at the Brazilian Center for Research in Physics (CBPF), in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), a team of scientists used, intensely, broadband electromagnetic resonance, and combined it with other analytical techniques. The conclusions of the study may contribute to the production of magnetic materials for miniaturized devices. The work was reported recently in the Journal of Applied Physics. See our story about the paper.

SBPMat´s community people

We interviewed Israel Baumvol, Emeritus Professor of UFRGS (Porto Alegre, Brazil) and creator of the graduate program in materials science and engineering at UCS (Caxias do Sul, Brazil). Baumvol became enchanted with the possible applications of physics at the time of graduation. Throughout his career, he has made significant contributions to the field of materials on various topics. In the interview, when talking about his career, the researcher reported, among other stories, how he began working on materials for microelectronics from an invitation from IBM to apply his knowledge on ion implantation. To our younger readers, Baumvol suggested: follow your hearts, seek changes and get rid of the prejudices about the types of research. “The only distinction is between good or bad quality research”. See our interview with the scientist.

Reading tips
  • Alternatives to silicon for miniaturized devices: graphene nanowires synthesized by new route (based on paper from Nature Nanotechnology). Here.
  • At MIT, viruses are used to create materials with relevant applications (TED talk video and other multimedia content). Here.
  • Team of scientists that includes a Brazilian “trains” nanotube composite to perform computational operations (based on paper from Journal of Applied Physics). Here.
  • VII Método Rietveld. Fortaleza, CE (Brazil). July, 6 to 10, 2015. Site.
  • Escola de Técnicas de Espalhamento de Raio-X (SAXS) e Neutrons (SANS) para Investigação Estrutural de Materiais e Sistemas Biológicos. Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). July, 6 to 10, 2015. Site.
  • XXVI Escola de Inverno de Física da UFMG. Belo Horizonte, MG (Brazil). July, 13 to 17, 2015. Site.
  • São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences (ESPCA) on Recent Developments in Synchrotron Radiation. Campinas, SP (Brazil). July, 13 to 24, 2015. Site.
  • Advanced School on Glasses and Glass-Ceramics (G&GC São Carlos). São Carlos, SP (Brazil). August, 1 to 9, 2015. Site.
  • Primeira Conferência de Materiais Celulares (MATCEL 2015). Aveiro (Portugal). September, 7 to 8, 2015. Site.
  • XIV SBPMat Meeting. Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). September 27 to October 1, 2015. Site.
  • 8th International Summit on Organic and Hybrid Solar Cells Stability (ISOS-8). Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). September 29 to October 1, 2015. Site.
  • 13th International Conference on Plasma Based Ion Implantation & Deposition (PBII&D 2015). Buenos Aires (Argentina). October, 5 to 9, 2015. Site.
  • 4th EPNOE International Polysaccharide Conference. Warsaw (Poland). October, 18 to 22, 2015. Site.
  • 10th Ibero-American Workshop on Complex Fluids 2015. Florianópolis, SC (Brazil). October, 25 to 29, 2015. Site.
  • 14th International Union of Materials Research Societies – International Conference on Advanced Materials (IUMRS-ICAM 2015). Jeju (Korea). October, 25 to 29, 2015. Site.
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Interviews with plenary speakers of the XIV SBPMat Meeting: Ulrike Diebold.

Metal oxides display a wide range of properties. Accordingly, they become useful in numerous applications, such as gas sensing, catalysis, protection against corrosion, pigmentation, energy conversion, to name a few. An important detail: in order to comprehend and use these materials, the study of their surface is crucial.

Prof. Ulrike Diebold.

Metal oxides surfaces will be the theme of a plenary talk of the XIV SBPMat Meeting. The speech will be given by Ulrike Diebold, a scientist among the leading experts on the subject in the world. Diebold is engaged in surface science since the time of her doctoral degree, defended in 1990 at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), in Austria. A few years later, during her postdoctoral studies in a surface group at Rutgers University, in New Jersey (USA), she started her researches on titanium dioxide. In 1993, she became a Professor of Tulane University, in the city of New Orleans (USA) and she founded and coordinated a group on surface science.  When the group labs were hit by hurricane Katrina in 2005, Diebold was welcomed by several institutions and settled, jointly with some members of the Tulane group, in Rutgers. Finally, she went back to the place where her scientific career had started, TU Wien, as a Professor and coordinator of the surface physics group. With her research groups, Diebold continues to advance in her basic and applied science studies on metal oxides, based, among other techniques, on scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), through which the scientist can investigate these materials at atomic scale.

Ulrike Diebold is the author of more than 180 peer-reviewed articles, which have over 12,000 citations. Her h-index, according to Web of Science, is 52. The scientist has already delivered more than 250 invited talks. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards and distinctions from several entities such as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, American Chemical Society, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austrian Ministry for Science, Catalysis Society of South Africa, Czech Republic Academy of Sciences, European Academy of Sciences, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, National Science Foundation, among others. She is an associate editor for the Materials Physics Division of the journal Physical Review Letters.

What follows is a mini-interview with this plenary speaker of the XIV SBPMat Meeting

STM image of single Au atoms on an Fe3O4 surface.  This system acts as a model catalyst to study simple reactions with atomic-scale detail. The related experiment is described in: Novotný, Z. et al. Ordered Array of Single Adatoms with Remarkable Thermal Stability: Au/Fe_{3}O_{4}(001). Phys Rev Lett 108, (2012).

SBPMat newsletter: – In your opinion, what are your most significant contributions in the field of metal oxides surfaces? Please explain them, very briefly, and share references from the resulting articles or books, or comment if these studies have produced patents or products.

Ulrike Diebold: – The field started with the book “The Surface Science of Metal Oxides” by Vic Henrich and P.A. Cox, which was published in 1993 (Cambridge University Press).  The book has motivated many people to develop an interest in metal oxide surfaces, and research has progressed tremendously since that time.  Some is still valid to this day, e.g., the importance of defects for understanding the properties of oxide surfaces, and how critical it is to master surface preparation.  Meaningful investigations can only be conducted on ‘well-characterized’ systems with a known and controlled surface structure.  About ten years later, in 2003, I wrote a review that focused only on titanium dioxide, which is a widely-used material both in applications and in fundamental research (Surface Science Reports 48 (2003) 53).  This review has received quite a bit of attention.   Another decade later a whole issue of Chemical Reviews (vol. 113, 2013) was focused on metal oxide surfaces, which pretty much summarizes the state-of-the art in metal oxide surface research.

SBPMat newsletter: – Comment on the possibilities offered by tunneling microscopy to the study of surfaces, especially metal oxides surfaces.

Ulrike Diebold: – Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, which was invented by Heinrich Rohrer and Gerd Binnig in the early 1980s, has revolutionized our understanding of the nanoworld.  One can use this technique for imaging the geometric and electronic structure of a surface at the local scale, atom-by-atom.  This is particularly important for oxides, where it is often the irregularities in the lattice that are the most interesting entities, i.e., defects such as missing atoms, interstitials, or impurities.  Scanning Tunneling Microscopy is the ideal tool to investigate such defects at the atomic level and to literally ‘watch’ defect-mediated chemical reactions.

 STM image of defects on a TiO2 surface. The related experiment is described in Dulub, O. et al. Electron-induced oxygen desorption from the TiO2(011)-2×1 surface leads to self-organized vacancies. Science 317, 1052–1056 (2007).

SBPMat newsletter: – If you wish, leave a message or an invitation to your plenary talk to the readers who will attend the XIV SBPMat Meeting.

Ulrike Diebold: – I think it is simply exciting to observe phenomena such as defects disappearing from a surface and coming back, or single molecules dissociating or diffusing across a surface.  If you want to see beautiful pictures and movies of processes that could potentially be relevant to your own research, please come to my talk.