Smart thermochromic coatings for smart windows and environmental control


Financial source: Junta de Andalucía

Code: P18-RT-2641


Principal Investigator: Ángel Barranco Quero y Alberto Palmero Acebedo

01-01-2020 / 31-12-2022

Research team: Ana María Gómez Ramírez, Juan Ramón Sánchez Valencia, Víctor J. Rico Gavira, Rafael Álvarez Molina, Francisco Yubero Valencia, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Ana Isabel Borrás Martos, Agustín R. González-Elipe

The International Energy Agency considers that the systematic use of autonomous procedures for environmental control is one of the best technological approaches to minimize the energy employed to cool down buildings and other urban structures (it represents more than 40% of the global energy use in developed countries, much above the use in transportation, for instance), thus reducing the environmental impact and improving human comfort. TOLERANCE aims at introducing and developing a technology based on thermochromic materials in Andalusia as a smart and autonomous element to control the penetration of solar radiation in buildings. This project focusses on various applications such as smart windows in buildings and urban furniture, improvement of sanitary water systems or environmental control in greenhouses. While at low temperatures, a thermochromic coating transmits most solar spectrum, it selectively filters out the infrared region of this spectrum at high temperatures. In this research, TOLERANCE proposes several R+D actions to grow thin films with composition VO2, a thermochromic oxide with transition temperature near room temperature, on glass and plastic by means of industrial scalable techniques, as well as its nanostructuration, doping and integration in multilayer systems to improve its features and multifunctional properties.

Purely organic and hybrid organic-inorganic spin valves on supported nanowires produced by advanced vacuum and plasma-assisted deposition techniques

Financial source:

Agencia Andaluza del Conocimiento
Consejería de Economía, Innovación, Ciencia y Empleo
Junta de Andalucía

Andalucía Talent-Hub

Research Supervisor:
Ana Borrás

Principal Investigator:
Víctor López-Flores

01-10-2015 / 30-09-2017

Research group:
ICMS: Ángel Barranco, Francisco Aparicio, Juan Ramón Sánchez


The transition to organic electronics requires new devices on the nanometer scale composed only by organic materials, providing small, flexible, transparent and cheap devices. Among electronic devices, the spin valves have stood out for their rapid transfer from the experimental phase to the general public products, but a reliable organic spin valve nanometric device is yet to be developed.
The scientific objective of this project is to fill that gap. By using advanced, industrially scalable nanotechnology methods, we intend to produce a hybrid organic-inorganic and a fully organic spin valve in the form of a supported nanowire of ~200 nm width and several microns length, with a concentric spin valve stack. Three main fabrication techniques will be used: organic Physical Vapor Deposition (O-PVD), plasma-enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PE-CVD) and remote plasma assisted vacuum deposition (RPAVD). Magnetoresistance measurements will be performed on single nanowires by conducting-probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM), and will give the definite measurement of quality of the samples produced
This project will be developed within the Nanotechnology on Surfaces research group (NanoOnSurf), at the Institute of Materials Science of Seville (CSIC – University of Seville), located in the multidisciplinary CicCartuja research centre (Seville, Spain). State-of-the-art synthesis and characterisation techniques developed in the host research group will be the key for the success of this proposal.
This project is directly related with Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-2015, chapter 5.i, action ICT 3 – 2014: Advanced Thin, Organic and Large Area Electronics (TOLAE) technologies, and thus is expected to have a strong impact in the future European electronic industry.



Development of intermittent plasmas ignited by renewable electricity for the CO2 splitting and revalorization processes

Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. Agencia Estatal de Investigación. Proyectos de I+D+i Retos Investigación

Code: TED2021-130124A-I00

Acronym: RENOVACO2

Research Supervisor: Ana María Gómez Ramírez

Principal Investigator: Ana María Gómez Ramírez, Manuel Oliva  Ramírez

01-12-2022 / 30-11-2024

Research team: Alberto Palmero Acebedo, María del Carmen García Martínez, Agustín R. González-Elipe, José Cotrino Bautista, Rafael Álvarez Molina.

Work team: Guillermo Regodón Harkness, Antonio Márquez Alcaide, Servando Marín Meana

RENOVACO2 aims at developing atmospheric plasma technologies to induce chemical processes that are currently carried out through catalytic techniques (i.e., at high pressures and temperatures, using harmful and non-recyclable catalysts). Specifically, RENOVACO2 pursues the development of a Dielectric Barrier Discharge Reactor (DBD) to induce two processes of great environmental impact, such as the splitting of the CO2 molecule and its revalorization in high-valued products. RENOVACO2 proposes, in a first stage, to develop the DBD technology through the design, construction, modelling, and commissioning of a disruptive new plasma reactor. In a second stage, it is proposed to build a second prototype reactor powered with renewable energy sources through the connection to a solar panel.


Atmospheric Pressure Gliding-arc Plasmas for the Sustainable Production of Ammonia and Hydrogen

Financial source:  European Union

Code:  US‐1380977

Acronym: ARCPLAS

Principal Investigator:
Ana Mª Gómez Ramírez, José Cotrino Bautista

01-01-2020/ 31-05-2023

Research team: Ana Borrás, Victor Rico. 


Work team doctors: Agustín R. González-Elipe, Joël Francois Tsoplefack, Paula de Navascués Garvín

Research team: Javier Brey Sánchez, Juan Rodríguez Archilla, Jesús Cuevas Maraver, Alberto Palmero Acevedo, Rafael Álvarez Molina

This project aims at developing gas chemical transformation processes through atmospheric pressure plasma technologies that use electricity as a direct energy vector. Specifically, the objective is to fine-tune a Plasma Atmospheric Gliding Arc Reactor (PAAD) to induce two processes of great industrial and environmental impact, such as the synthesis of ammonia (NH3) and the production of hydrogen (H2) from hydrocarbons and alcohols. 


Three dimensional Nanoscale design for the all-in-one solution to environmental environmental multisource energy scavenging.


Financial source:  European Union

Code:  ERC-2019-STG- Starting Grant

Acronym:  3DScavengers


Principal Investigator:
Ana Borrás

01-03-2020 / 28-02-2025



 (Access to the official webpage)

Imagine a technology for powering your smart devices by recovering energy from lights in your office, the random movements of your body while reading these lines or from small changes in temperature when you breathe or go out for a walk. This very technology will provide energy for wireless sensor networks monitoring the air in your city or the structural stability of buildings and large constructions remotely and sustainably, avoiding battery recharging or even replacing them. These are the challenges in micro energy harvesting from (local) ambient sources.

Kinetic, thermal and solar energies are ubiquitous at our surroundings under diverse forms, but their relatively low intensity and intermittent availability limit their potential recovery by microscale devices. These restrictions call for multi-source energy harvesters working under two principles: 1) combining different single-source harvesters in one device, or 2) using multifunctional materials capable of simultaneously converting various energy sources into electricity. In 1), efficiency per unit volume can decrease compared to the individual counterparts; in 2), materials as semiconductors, polymeric and oxide ferroelectrics and hybrid perovskites may act as multisource harvesters but huge advances are required to optimize their functionalities and sustainable fabrication at large scale.

I propose to fill the gap between these approaches offering an all-in-one solution to multisource energy scavenging, based on the nanoscale design of multifunctional three-dimensional materials. The demonstration of an industrially scalable one-reactor plasma/vacuum method will be crucial to integrate hybrid-scavenging components and to provide 3DScavengers materials with tailored microstructure-enhanced performance.

My ultimate goal is to build nanoarchitectures for simultaneous and enhanced individual scavenging applying photovoltaic, piezo- and pyro-electric effects, minimizing the environmental cost of their synthesis.



Super-IcePhobic surfaces to prevent ice formation on aircraft

Financial source:  European Union

Code:  H2020-TRANSPORT/0149

Acronym:  PHOBIC2ICE

Principal Investigator:
Agustín R. González-Elipe

01-02-2016 / 31-01-2019

Research team: Ana Borrás, Victor Rico. 


Work team doctors: 

The accretion of ice represents a severe problem for aircraft, as the presence of even a scarcely visible layer can severely limit the function of wings, propellers, windshields, antennas, vents, intakes and cowlings. The PHOBIC2ICE Project aims at developing technologies and predictive simulation tools for avoiding or mitigating this phenomenon.

The PHOBIC2ICE project, by applying an innovative approach to simulation and modelling, will enable the design and fabrication of icephobic surfaces with improved functionalities. Several types of polymeric, metallic and hybrid coatings using different deposition methods will be developed. Laser treated and anodized surfaces will be prepared. Consequently, the Project focuses on collecting fundamental knowledge of phenomena associated with icephobicity issues. This knowledge will give better understanding of the ice accretion process on different coatings and modified surfaces. Certified research infrastructure (ice wind tunnel) and flight tests planned will aid in developing comprehensive solutions to address ice formation issue and will raise the Project’s innovation level.
The proposed solution will be environment-friendly, will contribute to the reduction of energy consumption, and will help eliminate the need for frequent on-ground de-icing procedures. This in turn will contribute to the reduction of cost, pollution and flight delay.



Atmospheric Pressure Glinding-Arc Plasmas for Sustainable Applications

Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. Agencia Estatal de Investigación. Proyectos de I+D+i Retos Investigación

Code: PID2020-114270RA-I00

Acronym: FIREBOW

Principal Investigator:
Ana María Gómez Ramírez

01-09-2021 / 31-08-2024

Research team: José Cotrino Bautista, Maria del Carmen García Martínez, Antonio Rodero Serrano, José Javier Brey Sánchez

Work team: Paula de Navascués, Manuel Oliva Ramírez

The need to promote an effective transition from an economy based on the intensive use of fossil fuels to another where the development criteria are based on sustainable processes that do not involve the generation of CO2 makes it necessary to develop new processes using the electricity generated from renewable sources as primary source of energy. This project, aims at developing atmospheric plasma technologies to induce chemical processes that are currently carried out through catalytic techniques. Specifically, FIREBOW pursues the development of a Gliding Arc Atmospheric Plasma reactor (GA) to induce three processes: (i) the synthesis of ammonia (NH3), (i) the production of hydrogen (H2) from NH3, and (iii) the decontamination of water. Both the experimental and theoretical characterization of the reactor, the latter carried out using computational methods, will be crucial for its correct operation and for the optimization of the proposed processes.


Plasma technology for efficient and DURAble waterproof perovskite SOLar cells

Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación

Code: PID2019-109603RA-I00

Acronym: DuraSol

Principal Investigator:
Juan Ramón Sánchez Valencia / Maria del Carmen López Santos

01-06-2020 / 31-05-2023

Research team: Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro

Work team: Xabier García Casas, Víctor López Flores, Javier Castillo Seoane

Solar cells – devices that transform sunlight into electricity – are of vital interest for the sustainable future of the planet. During the last years and aware of this fact, the scientific community has made a great effort to improve the efficiency of these devices. A particular example of a solar cell that contains an organometallic halide perovskite as light absorber has focused the attention of the scientific community during the last decade due, above all, to its high efficiency and low cost. This solar cell technology is a promising alternative to currently existing ones (based on Si and chalcogenides), although they face a scientific and technological challenge that has not been solved in 10 years since its discovery: for the commercial realization of the perovskite cells possible, they need to achieve higher stability, durability and reproducibility. The main problem lies in the high sensitivity of these perovskites to oxygen and environmental humidity, which produce a rapid degradation of the cell’s behaviour in an extremely short time, making commercialization unfeasible.

DuraSol seeks to address this great scientific and technological challenge by manufacturing cell components using vacuum and plasma technology. These methodologies are industrially scalable and present great advantages over solution methods (the most used), among which are: their high versatility, control of composition and microstructure, low cost, environmentally friendly since they do not require solvents, do not produce pollutant emissions and are compatible with current semiconductor technology.
The main objective of DuraSol is the fabrication of waterproof perovskite solar cells by integrating components manufactured by vacuum and plasma methodologies in the form of thin films and nanostructures, which act as hydrophobic sealants. The viability of DuraSol is based on recent results that demonstrate that plasma-assisted synthesis of different components of the solar cell can be one of the most promising ways to increase its stability and durability, which is today the bottleneck that prevents their commercialization. It is worth to highlight that there is no example in the literature about this synthetic approach, and this opportunity is expected to demonstrate the advantages and versatility of this innovative methodology in a field of very high impact. The research proposed in DuraSol falls within the priority areas of the European Union Horizon 2021-2027 program and responds to several of the challenges proposed in this call for “Energía segura, eficiente y limpia” (Challenge 3) and “Cambio climático y utilización de recursos y materias primas” (Challenge 5).



NanoDevices3D (NanoD3D): Nanowires and Nanotrees for a new generation of self-powered nanodevices.

Financial source: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad. Acciones de Dinamización «Europa Investigación 2017»

Code: EUIN2017-89059

Acronym: NanoD3D

Principal Investigator:
Ana Borrás

01-11-2017 / 31-12-2019

Research team: Juan R. Ramón Sánchez-Valencia, M.C. López-Santos.

Tecnología de plasma para el desarrollo de una nueva generación de conductores de huecos en celdas solares de perovskita.


Financial source:  Junta de Andalucía / Fondos FEDER

Code:  FEDER-US-1263142 

Acronym:  PlasmaCells


Principal Investigator:
Juan Ramón Sánchez Valencia

01-02-2020 / 31-01-2022

Research team: José Cotrino, Angel Barranco , Juan Pedro Espinós, T. Cristina Rojas.  

Las celdas solares (CSs) de tercera generación son dispositivos nanotecnológicos que convierten directamente la luz solar en electricidad y suponen el paradigma de la investigación en energías renovables de cuyo aprovechamiento dependerá el futuro energético del planeta. Recientemente, un ejemplo particular de CSs que contienen una perovskita de haluro organometálico como absorbedor de luz han centrado la atención de la comunidad científica debido, ante todo, a su alta eficiencia y bajo coste. Estas características las convierten en una alternativa prometedora a las celdas actuales (de Si y calcogenuros). Sin embargo, para que la realización final y comercial de las celdas de perovskita sea posible es necesario que alcancen una mayor estabilidad, durabilidad y reproducibilidad. Los avances más importantes alcanzados se han debido a la intensa investigación sobre los elementos que integran esta CS: conductor de electrones, perovskita y conductor de huecos. En concreto, este último elemento ha tenido una importancia crucial en su evolución tras la implementación de los conductores de huecos en estado sólido.

PlasmaCells persigue abordar por primera vez la síntesis de una nueva familia de conductores de huecos por técnicas de vacío y plasma. Estas metodologías son escalables industrialmente y presentan grandes ventajas con respecto a las metodologías en disolución (las más usadas), entre las que destacan: su alta versatilidad, control de composición y microestructura, bajo coste, que son respetuosas con el medio ambiente ya que no precisan disolventes, no producen emisiones contaminantes y son compatibles con la tecnología actual de semiconductores.

El objetivo principal de PlasmaCells es la integración de estos nuevos conductores de huecos procesados por plasma en CSs de perovskita. La importancia del proyecto se basa en resultados recientes obtenidos por el Investigador Principal (IP) que demuestran que la aproximación propuesta puede ser una de las vías más prometedoras para el aumento de la estabilidad, durabilidad y reproducibilidad de estas CSs, que actualmente suponen el cuello de botella que impide su industrialización. Cabe destacar que no existe en la bibliografía ningún ejemplo sobre esta aproximación sintética para el desarrollo de conductores de huecos. Se espera que esta oportunidad permita demostrar las ventajas y versatilidad de esta metodología innovadora en un campo de alto impacto, que se enmarca dentro de las áreas prioritarias RIS3 Andalucía y en el PAIDI 2020 de crecimiento sostenible, eficiencia energética y energías renovables.