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Multifunctional Magnetic Materials and Nanostructures

In the 2002-2013 periods the group substantially increased its scientific output and impact in the international community. The group was able to consolidate access to international large scale facilities within international collaborations in the areas of magnetic and structural characterization (neutron and synchrotron radiation facilities, transmission microscopy), nuclear hyperfine techniques for local probe characterization, pulsed and stable extreme high-field infrastructures. The in-house experimental facilities were used thoroughly in order to produce the critical results to motivate proposals at European and USA facilities which were submitted and approved.


The main scientific achievements involve the highlight of the relative importance of spin-dependent tunneling transport in magnetic tunnel junctions, the discovery of a Griffhits-like phase in rare earth based magnetocaloric Tb5Si2Ge2 compounds and the discovery of multiferroic characteristics in charge-ordered compounds like Pr-Ca manganites. In addition the group was able to start a new local research field in the fabrication, functionalization and integration of custom-made nanoporous media for nanoscience applications. Almost perfect hexagonal lattice over large areas (~20 um2) were obtained. Membranes with pores diameter ranging from 15 nm to 100 nm and interpore distances from 50 nm to 200 nm are now routinely achieved (with thickness from ~500 nm upwards, controlled by the anodization time). The application of these templates in the fabrication of NiFe and Ni magnetic nanowires (NW) directly electrodeposited inside the pores was accomplished. Another application was on the fabrication of silica and manganite nanotubes inside the Al2Omembrane nanopores by a sol-gel method. Work regarding the bio-functionalization of both inside and outside surfaces of the nanotubes is underway. Moreover, the group is now involved in the development and study of metallic nanowire-based metamaterials, using the above bottom-up approach, and their integration in optical fibers for sensors applications. Recently, a new line on the study of magnetic nanoparticles for hyperthermia applications has emerged.