Interviews with plenary speakers of the XV Brazil-MRS Meeting: Elvira Fortunato (New University of Lisbon, Portugal).

Elvira Fortunato

July 2008 was perhaps one of the most rewarding months in the professional career of the Portuguese scientist Elvira Fortunato, and also one of the busiest in media interviews. In fact, it was in July she learned she had won the competition of the European Research Council (ERC), winning EUR 2.25 million, the “Advanced Grant”, to conduct a project on transparent electronics. Titled “Invisible”, the project proposed the development of transparent transistors manufactured using metal oxides as semiconductor components, instead of the traditional silicon semiconductors. In addition to being transparent, these materials have an economic and ecological advantage, and improve the transistors performance.

July 2008 was also the month of extensive divulgation on the internet of a worldwide innovation developed under Elvira Fortunato’s leadership in the laboratory of Materials Research Center (CENIMAT), at the New University of Lisbon, located on the Caparica campus: the paper transistor. Fortunato and her team inserted the conductor and semiconductor components of the transistor on both sides of plain paper sheets (vegetable cellulose), using simple environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and carried out at ambient temperature. In addition to using paper as support, the Portuguese team broke new ground by giving this material an active role: to act as insulating component of the transistor. Different from traditional silicon based transistors, the paper based transistor of the Portuguese team is flexible, recyclable, made from renewable material and much cheaper. These features open up numerous application possibilities of “paper electronics” (a concept coined by Fortunato and registered by Paper-e®), from biosensors to smart packaging.

Transparent electronics.

Elvira Fortunato’s attraction to science began in her childhood when she saw an onion cell under an optical microscope. Her passion for scientific research occurred in 1987 when Elvira, in her last year of the Engineering Physics and Materials course at the New University of Lisbon (UNL), had the opportunity to be part of the team at a microelectronic laboratory.  Continuing her scientific training at UNL, Fortunato carried out research on amorphous silicon and obtained her master’s degree in semiconductor materials (1991) and a PhD in Materials Science specializing in microelectronics and optoelectronics (1995). In 1991 she began her teaching career at UNL. In 1998 she took over the directory of CENIMAT, a position she holds to this day. In 2012, she became Full Professor of the Department of Materials Science, Faculty of Science and Technology of the University. Since the end of 2015, together with six other European scientists from different fields, she is part of the first group of scientific advisors dedicated to strengthening the EU policies for scientific issues, the High Level Group of Scientific Advice Mechanism.

In nearly three decades of research, the materials scientist, whose H index is 54 according to Google Scholar, has about 500 published articles and more than 50 patents filed. Her scientific production includes more than 14,000 citations.

Paper electronics.

Elvira Fortunato has received dozens of awards from various entities; among them the “Grand Officer” of the Order of Infante D. Henrique, awarded by the President of the Republic of Portugal (2010). As for this year, the scientist has been honored with two major awards. Together with her husband, the scientist Rodrigo Martins, they are among the finalists for the European Inventor Award 2016, the European Patent Office, for the invention of the paper transistor. Moreover, the researcher was awarded by the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC) with the Blaise Pascal Medal for Materials Science 2016, which also makes her a fellow of this academy.

At the end of September, Elvira Fortunato will be in Brazil, in the city of Campinas (SP), giving a plenary lecture at the XV Brazil-MRS Meeting. The theme will be “green electronics”, a concept that covers the development of components and devices via environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, using materials such as cellulose produced by bacteria in addition to metal oxides, plain paper and nanostructured paper. Through a process of ingenuity, the speaker will show some of the many potential applications of these green devices.

Here is a brief interview with the Portuguese scientist.

SBPMat Newsletter: – In your opinion, what are the main research results of the work undertaken by you and your group in the field of invisible electronics and paper electronics? Are there any products or prototypes in the market? Any patents licensed? Are there advances in the manufacturing techniques? Could you to share with our readers references of articles or patents?

Elvira Fortunato: – In the area of transparent electronics the most immediate applications are in the area of flat-panel displays. The new generation of displays will switch to OLED technology over LCD and thin film transistors made of metal oxides have better performance to those used, the reason why they will replace the current amorphous silicon-based ones. There are prototypes in the market now, especially in the leading companies in this area, such as Samsung and LG.

In the electronic paper area, a more disruptive area, there are no products on the market as of now, but we believe that within the short/medium term it will be quite visible in the area of smart packaging and the internet of things. In terms of packaging, there are some prototypes, especially in the Nordic countries, such as in packaging for medicines.

We have several patents, and others in partnership with companies, in the field of electronic paper and transparent electronics.

You can get more information on transparent electronics and electronic paper:

  • E. Fortunato, P. Barquinha, and R. Martins, “Oxide Semiconductor Thin-Film Transistors: A Review of Recent Advances,” Advanced Materials, vol. 24, pp. 2945-2986, Jun 2012.
  • R. F. P. Martins, A. Ahnood, N. Correia, L. Pereira, R. Barros, P. Barquinha, et al., “Recyclable, Flexible, Low-Power Oxide Electronics,” Advanced Functional Materials, vol. 23, pp. 2153-2161, May 2013.

SBPMat Newsletter: – In your opinion, what are the next steps or challenges to reach a widespread green electronics?

Elvira Fortunato: – Scientific research associated with recent technological developments are increasingly moving toward a strong awareness of the environment and of the adverse effects of which we are now the victims, and which concerns the scientific community. I also believe that in this area the recent cop21 conference in Paris made great strides, in particular the “Paris Agreement”, a historic commitment signed by 195 countries for the Sustainable Development in 2030.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Please leave an invitation or message about your plenary speech to the readers who will participate in the XV Brazil-MRS Meeting.

Elvira Fortunato: – If you are interested in seeing how you can make dreams come true, come see the lecture “Green electronics: a technology for a sustainable future”.


Link to the abstract of Elvira Fortunato´s plenary talk:

Interviews with plenary speakers of the XV B-MRS Meeting: Ado Jorio (UFMG, Brazil).

Sixteen years ago, working as a post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the group of professor Mildred Dresselhaus, the Brazilian physicist Ado Jorio de Vasconcelos headed a study that would produce the first successful result of the application of Optics, more precisely Raman spectroscopy, in the individual characterization of carbon nanotubes – keeping in mind that nanotube´s walls are just one atom thick, with diameters typically about one nanometer. In the MIT website, the page of Professor Mildred, who has been studying carbon nanostructures at MIT for more than 50 years, reinforces the importance of the work she has carried out with Jorio: 5 of the 6 publications selected by the emeritus professor are co-authored by Jorio.

When Ado Jorio began his postdoc he was 28 years old and had just finished his doctorate in Physics from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). His thesis was on phase transitions in incommensurate systems, conducted under the guidance of Professor Marcos Assunção Pimenta. Prior to that, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics, also from UFMG, after studying Electrical Engineering for three years.

After the postdoc at MIT, Jorio returned to UFMG and was later accepted as associate professor of the university in 2002 via a public selection procedure. From 2007 to 2009 he held a position at the Brazilian National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (Inmetro) to develop nanometrology-related activities. In 2010, he became full professor of UFMG and that same year took over the direction of the Coordination of Transfer and Innovation of the University until 2012. In 2013 he was at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) as a visiting professor, carrying out teaching and research activities. In August 2016 he became Dean for Research of UFMG.

Since 2002, Jorio has expanded the subject of his post-doctoral work. He has conducted research in optics and the development of scientific instrumentation, namely the study of carbon nanostructures with various applications. An example of this diversity is a study in which Jorio participates, in which nanotechnology field techniques are used to understand details of the composition of the “Indian black earth”, a highly fertile soil with carbon sequestration potential, which is found in places formerly inhabited by Indians in the Brazilian Amazon.

Jorio holds one of the highest H-index among scientists in Brazil: 74, according to Google Scholar. He is also one of the most cited researchers in the world, evidenced by the inclusion of his name in the latest Thomson Reuters international list, which tabulated 1% of the most frequently cited papers in each knowledge area among all the indexed scientific articles between 2003 and 2013. Jorio is the author of over 180 scientific articles and 20 books or book chapters, and 8 patent applications. According to Google Scholar, his publications combine more than 30,000 citations.

His contributions have received numerous acknowledgments from prestigious institutions, such as the Somiya Award from the International Union of Materials Research Societies in 2009; the ICTP Prize of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in 2011, and the Georg Forster Research Award by the Humboldt Foundation in 2015, among many other national and international awards.

In the XV Brazil-MRS (SBPMat) Meeting, Ado Jorio will deliver a plenary lecture on a topic in which he is one of the world’s leading experts, the use of Raman spectroscopy to study carbon nanostructures. The Brazilian scientist will talk about how the technique evolved until reaching the nanoscale. He also promises to reveal some tactics that allow using light, whose wavelength is at least hundreds of nanometers, as a probe to investigate structures of only few nanometers.

See our interview with this member of the Brazilian research community in Materials and plenary speaker at our annual event.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Tell us what led you to become a scientist and work in the Materials area.

Ado Jorio: – It was a winding path! I entered university to study electrical engineering. Back then I played in a progressive rock band, so I looked for scientific research in the area of music. I was told to talk to a teacher at the physics department who enjoyed music, studied acoustics and materials. That’s how my career began and which ended up in materials science.

SBPMat Newsletter: – In your own words, what are your main contributions to the Materials area.

Ado Jorio: – I would say there are two main contributions. The first is in the area of carbon nanotubes, I have shown that optics could be brought to the level of individual nanotubes. This gave way to a very broad research field because there are various types of nanotubes, depending on their diameter and chirality. Before this work, people were studying nanotubes. After this work, people began to study specific types of nanotubes. It would be equivalent to saying that researchers studying the atom then realized that there are different types of atoms. The article that was the linchpin of this discovery was the [PRL86, 1118 (2001)]. The second contribution was the advancement of optics to study carbon nanostructures more broadly. I worked on several fronts, from scientific instrumentation for optical measurements below the diffraction limit, to the study and characterization of defects, approaching materials of interest in soil science, biotechnology and biomedicine. Some key references are the books “Raman Spectroscopy in Graphene Related Systems” and “Bioengineering Applications of Carbon Nanostructures”.

SBPMat Newsletter: – We always invite the interviewee to leave a message for the readers who are beginning their scientific careers. Many of these readers would like to one day achieve an H index like yours. What do you say to them?

Ado Jorio: – Make a big effort to attend conferences and make great presentations, always! Science is a debate and you have to be heard. Never repeat the same presentation. Each public requires a specific focus. Of course this advice depends on funding, but since the beginning of my career I have always spent my own money to fund my travels, and I still do this.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Leave a message or invitation to your plenary lecture for the readers who will participate in the XV Brazil-MRS (SBPMat) Meeting.

Ado Jorio: – After all of the above, and since the title and abstract are available, I can only offer my thanks to those who will honor me with their presence. It will be an honor to have these colleagues in the auditorium.


Link to the summary of the plenary lecture of Ado Jorio:

Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat) invites the scientific community to submit symposia proposals for the XV SBPMat Meeting.

The call for symposia proposals for the XV SBPMat Meeting is open until February 11th. The event will be held from September 25 to 29, 2016 in the city of Campinas (SP), in the convention center Expo D. Pedro.

Any researcher with doctoral degree, working in educational/research institution or company in Brazil or abroad, may submit a symposium proposal on any issues in the field of Materials Science and Technology.

Proposals must be filled online and must contain the title and scope of the symposium, the list of subjects covered, the contact data of the organizers and the preliminary list of invited speakers.

After submission, proposals will be evaluated by the commission of events at SBPMat and by the organizers of the meeting, and then they will be submitted to the SBPMat board.

The thematic symposia are the main axis in the program of SBPMat annual events. At the meeting held in Rio de Janeiro in 2015, more than 2,300 papers were presented in 26 symposia, covering a wide range of topics, such as carbon nanostructures, biomaterials, materials for sustainable development, materials for electronics and photonics, characterization techniques, computer simulation, safe use of nanomaterials, among others.

Event website:

Form for symposia proposals submission:

[Upon finalizing the submission, ‘Symposium proposal successfully sent!’ must show up in your browser]

XV SBPMat Meeting will be held in Campinas in September 2016.

Where: Campinas city, São Paulo state.

When: 25 to 29 of September, 2016.

Important dates:

  • Symposium proposal submission: January 2016
  • Abstract submission: until May 30th
  • Notification of the accepted abstracts: July 10th


  • Ana Flávia Nogueira (IQ/UNICAMP)
  • Mônica Alonso Cotta (IFGW/UNICAMP)

Local committee:

  • Antonio Riul Jr (IFGW/UNICAMP)
  • Carlos Cesar Bof Bufon (LNNano/CNPEM)
  • Christoph Deneke (LNNano/CNPEM)
  • Fernando Sigoli (IQ /UNICAMP)
  • Francisco das Chagas Marques (IFGW/UNICAMP)
  • Jillian Nei Freitas (CTI Renato Archer)
  • Luiz Fernando Zagonel (IFGW/UNICAMP)
  • Talita Mazon (CTI Renato Archer)