Cooking at Nanoscale with Colloidal Chemistry
Laia Castilla i Amorós
Lab of Nanochemistry of Energy
Please explain your research in simple words
My research is based on the synthesis development of multimetallic colloidal nanoparticles. While with colloidal chemistry there's been only possible to achieve up to trimetallic nanoparticles that usually contain at least one noble metal, I'm pushing to obtain copper-based and noble metal-free multimetallic nanoparticles for their use as catalysts for electrochemical CO2 reduction in which Cu is a very promising material.
I am planning to focus on colloidal chemistry as a platform for material tuning and properties research.
Monday - who am I and what I am going to talk about? What is colloidal chemistry and why you should care about it.
After that introduction I'd like then to show some of the many beautiful things you can do with colloidal chemistry, focusing more on the properties of this bottom up technique for nano materials that allows shape, size and composition control. Including metals, metal oxides, sulphides, perovskites...
And then I'd like to introduce some of the applications of colloidal nanoparticles like in solar cells, water splitting, CO2 reduction...
What can the followers expect in your curation week?
How did you end up in your current research field?
I was in my last year of my Bachelor and I wanted to go abroad for an Erasmus Exchange program. I had taken a couple of courses in nanomaterials that I really enjoyed and I was really attracted by the name of my current group which is Laboratory of Nanochemistry for Energy.
I work on the synthesis of nanoparticles trying to synthesise materials that haven't been synthesised at the nanoscale before.
How and where does your research fall in the domain of materials/nano science?
Which research project are you most proud of and could you explain it in simple words in the section we call #InOtherwords?
Well I guess my current and first project of my PhD, I don't have many other options to say right now but actually I'm really happy about it and I enjoy a lot working on it. Right now I'm working on the synthesis of CuGa nanodimers.
I actually teach Coordination Chemistry and I'm an assistant in a lab for first year Chemistry students, but I'd say that my favourite experience has been leading a Semester Project with a student.
If you teach, which are the courses would you like to mention?
If you had 3 wishes to improve your research experience, what would you ask for (not promising anything here!)?
Being able to attend more seminars so to hear about other people's work, more courses about what my field (usually they are too general), and having more collaborative projects with other people.
Start writing my first first author paper and seeing how all my work starts to take shape into something nice and useful for the community.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 3 months?
Which challenges/questions is the nano/materials science field facing at the moment?
I guess it depends on the field, in some cases might be the application of the nanomaterial at the industry level. I'd say that in my case is the unawareness of what is really going on during the synthesis. In colloidal synthesis we say that we can have full control on size, shape and composition but in most of the cases we don't really understand what is happening and intuition is not always right.