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Artículos científicos destacados

Esta sección incluye una lista de los artículos científicos más destacados de IMB-CNM publicados en revistas incluidas en el Science Citation Index (SCI), por año de publicación.

Description of the monolithic ECL device and light emission schemes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023
All-Optical Electrochemiluminescence
Yiran Zhao, Julie Descamps, Nour al Hoda Al Bast, Marcos Duque, Jaume Esteve, Borja Sepulveda, Gabriel Loget, and Neso Sojic

Electrochemiluminescence (ECL) is widely employed for medical diagnosis and imaging. Despite its remarkable analytical performances, the technique remains intrinsically limited by the essential need for an external power supply and electrical wires for electrode connections. Here, we report an electrically autonomous solution leading to a paradigm change by designing a fully integrated all-optical wireless monolithic photoelectrochemical device based on a nanostructured Si photovoltaic junction modified with catalytic coatings. Under illumination with light ranging from visible to near-infrared, photogenerated holes induce the oxidation of the ECL reagents and thus the emission of visible ECL photons. The blue ECL emission is easily viewed with naked eyes and recorded with a smartphone. A new light emission scheme is thus introduced where the ECL emission energy (2.82 eV) is higher than the excitation energy (1.18 eV) via an intermediate electrochemical process. In addition, the mapping of the photoelectrochemical activity by optical microscopy reveals the minority carrier interfacial transfer mechanism at the nanoscale. This breakthrough provides an all-optical strategy for generalizing ECL without the need for electrochemical setups, electrodes, wiring constraints, and specific electrochemical knowledge. This simplest ECL configuration reported so far opens new opportunities to develop imaging and wireless bioanalytical systems such as portable point-of-care sensing devices.

Journal of the American Chemical Society 2023 145 (31), 17420-17426. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.3c05856

Montaje de la carcasa de metacrilato del dispositivo para la detección de enfermedades pulmonares con un chip integrado
Engineering a Point-of-Care Paper-Microfluidic Electrochemical Device Applied to the Multiplexed Quantitative Detection of Biomarkers in Sputum
Manuel Gutiérrez-Capitán, Ana Sanchís, Estela O. Carvalho, Antonio Baldi, Lluïsa Vilaplana, Álvaro Calleja, Mingxing Wei, Roberto de la Rica, Arnau Bassegoda, Tzanko Tzanov, María-Pilar Marco, Senentxu Lanceros-Méndez, César Fernández-Sánchez et. al.

Here, we show the particular combination of paper-microfluidic technology, electrochemical transduction, and magnetic nanoparticle-based immunoassay approaches to produce a unique, compact, and easily deployable multiplex device to simultaneously measure interleukin-8, tumor necrosis factor-α, and myeloperoxidase biomarkers in sputum, developed with the aim of facilitating the timely detection of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The device incorporates an on-chip electrochemical cell array and a multichannel paper component, engineered to be easily aligned into a polymeric cartridge and exchanged if necessary. Calibration curves at clinically relevant biomarker concentration ranges are produced in buffer and artificial sputum. The analysis of sputum samples of healthy individuals and acutely exacerbated patients produces statistically significant biomarker concentration differences between the two studied groups. The device can be mass-produced at a low cost, being an easily adaptable platform for measuring other disease-related target biomarkers.

ACS Sensors. DOI:

Representative images of the highly heterogeneous transformation of a stable TPD glass
Real-time microscopy of the relaxation of a glass
Marta Ruiz-Ruiz, Ana Vila-Costa, Tapas Bar, Cristian Rodríguez-Tinoco, Marta Gonzalez-Silveira, Jose Antonio Plaza, Jorge Alcalá, Jordi Fraxedas & Javier Rodriguez-Viejo

The understanding of the dynamics of a glass above its devitrification temperature remains incomplete. Here, we build a spatio-temporal map of the relaxation dynamics of a highly stable glass into its supercooled liquid using real-time atomic force microscopy imaging. This methodology enables direct visualization of the progression of the liquid phase and clarifies and quantifies the presence of localized fast mobility regions separated by giant length scales. Our data establish a clear correlation between dynamic length and time scales in glasses. This approach may also be applicable to unveil the microscopic structure and dynamics of other glass-forming systems with much shorter length and time scales, including liquid-cooled glasses.

Ruiz-Ruiz, M., Vila-Costa, A., Bar, T. et al. Nat. Phys. (2023). DOI:

FDTD simulations of the near-field interaction between two identical nearly touching plasmonic NPs. Adv. Fun. Mat.
Soft Optomechanical Systems for Sensing, Modulation, and Actuation
Ferran Pujol-Vila, Pau Güell-Grau, Josep Nogués, Mar Alvarez, Borja Sepúlveda

Soft optomechanical systems have the ability to reversibly respond to optical and mechanical external stimuli by changing their own properties (e.g., shape, size, viscosity, stiffness, color or transmittance). These systems typically combine the optical properties of plasmonic, dielectric or carbon-based nanomaterials with the high elasticity and deformability of soft polymers, thus opening the path for the development of new mechanically tunable optical systems, sensors, and actuators for a wide range of applications. This review focuses on the recent progresses in soft optomechanical systems, which are here classified according to their applications and mechanisms of optomechanical response. The first part summarizes the soft optomechanical systems for mechanical sensing and optical modulation based on the variation of their optical response under external mechanical stimuli, thereby inducing mechanochromic or intensity modulation effects. The second part describes the soft optomechanical systems for the development of light induced mechanical actuators based on different actuation mechanisms, such as photothermal effects and phase transitions, among others. The final section provides a critical analysis of the main limitations of current soft optomechanical systems and the progress that is required for future devices.

Adv. Funct. Mater. 2023, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202213109

Confocal microscopy image of the wrinkled PDMS surface. Adv. Mat.
Elastic Plasmonic-Enhanced Fabry–Pérot Cavities with Ultrasensitive Stretching Tunability
Pau Güell-Grau, Francesc Pi, Rosa Villa, Olof Eskilson, Daniel Aili, Josep Nogués, Borja Sepúlveda, Mar Alvarez

The emerging stretchable photonics field faces challenges, like the robust integration of optical elements into elastic matrices or the generation of large optomechanical effects. Here, the first stretchable plasmonic-enhanced and wrinkled Fabry–Pérot (FP) cavities are demonstrated, which are composed of self-embedded arrays of Au nanostructures at controlled depths into elastomer films. The novel self-embedding process is triggered by the Au nanostructures’ catalytic activity, which locally increases the polymer curing rate, thereby inducing a mechanical stress that simultaneously pulls the Au nanostructures into the polymer and forms a wrinkled skin layer. This geometry yields unprecedented optomechanical effects produced by the coupling of the broad plasmonic modes of the Au nanostructures and the FP modes, which are modulated by the wrinkled optical cavity. As a result, film stretching induces drastic changes in both the spectral position and intensity of the plasmonic-enhanced FP resonances due to the simultaneous cavity thickness reduction and cavity wrinkle flattening, thus increasing the cavity finesse. These optomechanical effects are exploited to demonstrate new strain-sensing approaches, achieving a strain detection limit of 0.006%, i.e., 16-fold lower than current optical strain-detection schemes.

Adv. Mater. 2022, 34, 2106731. DOI: 10.1002/adma.202106731

Cartoon of microrobots at cell scale for biomedical applications
Robotic probes at the cell scale
José A. Plaza

The miniaturization of robotic tools and probes enables the fundamental study of mechanical properties of cells and tissues.

Science Robotics, 25 Jan 2023, Vol 8, Issue 74, DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.adf9996

El tallo verde es una estructura compostable y en las hojas de la flor se produce la evaporación. Crédito: Carles Tortosa
A plant-like battery: a biodegradable power source ecodesigned for precision agriculture
Marina Navarro-Segarra, Carles Tortosa, Carlos Ruiz-Díez, Denis Desmaële, Teresa Gea, Raquel Barrena, Neus Sabaté and Juan Pablo Esquivel

The natural environment has always been a source of inspiration for the research community. Nature has evolved over thousands of years to create the most complex living systems, with the ability to leverage inner and outside energetic interactions in the most efficient way. This work presents a flow battery profoundly inspired by nature, which mimics the fluid transport in plants to generate electric power. The battery was ecodesigned to meet a life cycle for precision agriculture (PA) applications; from raw material selection to disposability considerations, the battery is conceived to minimize its environmental impact while meeting PA power requirements.

Energy & Environmental Science, 2022, Issue 7, DOI:10.1039/D2EE00597B

Ejercito de chips de silicio en forma de estrella sobre una población de células HeLa | CSIC.
Intracellular Mechanical Drugs Induce Cell-Cycle Altering and Cell Death
Arjona, M. I., Duch, M., Hernández-Pinto, A., Vázquez, P., Agusil, J. P., Gómez-Martínez, R., Redondo-Horcajo, M., Amirthalingam, E., Pérez-García, L., Suárez, T., Plaza, J. A.

Current advances in materials science have demonstrated that extracellular mechanical cues can define cell function and cell fate. However, a fundamental understanding of the manner in which intracellular mechanical cues affect cell mechanics remains elusive. How intracellular mechanical hindrance, reinforcement, and supports interfere with the cell cycle and promote cell death is described here. Reproducible devices with highly controlled size, shape, and with a broad range of stiffness are internalized in HeLa cells. Once inside, they induce characteristic cell-cycle deviations and promote cell death. Device shape and stiffness are the dominant determinants of mechanical impairment. Device structural support to the cell membrane and centering during mitosis maximize their effects, preventing spindle centering, and correct chromosome alignment. Nanodevices reveal that the spindle generates forces larger than 114 nN which overcomes intracellular confinement by relocating the device to a less damaging position. By using intracellular mechanical drugs, this work provides a foundation to defining the role of intracellular constraints on cell function and fate, with relevance to fundamental cell mechanics and nanomedicine.

Adv. Mater. 2022, 34, 2109581.

Graphene active sensor arrays for chronic, wireless monitoring of wide frequency band epicortical neural activity
Graphene active sensor arrays for long-term and wireless mapping of wide frequency band epicortical brain activity
Garcia-Cortadella, R., Schwesig, G., Jeschke, C., Illa, X., Gray, A.L., Savage, S., Stamatidou, E., Schiessl, I., Masvidal-Codina, E., Kostarelos, K., Guimerà-Brunet, A., Sirota, A., Garrido, J.A.

Graphene active sensors have demonstrated promising capabilities for the detection of electrophysiological signals in the brain. Their functional properties, together with their flexibility as well as their expected stability and biocompatibility have raised them as a promising building block for large-scale sensing neural interfaces. However, in order to provide reliable tools for neuroscience and biomedical engineering applications, the maturity of this technology must be thoroughly studied. Here, we evaluate the performance of 64-channel graphene sensor arrays in terms of homogeneity, sensitivity and stability using a wireless, quasi-commercial headstage and demonstrate the biocompatibility of epicortical graphene chronic implants. Furthermore, to illustrate the potential of the technology to detect cortical signals from infra-slow to high-gamma frequency bands, we perform proof-of-concept long-term wireless recording in a freely behaving rodent. Our work demonstrates the maturity of the graphene-based technology, which represents a promising candidate for chronic, wide frequency band neural sensing interfaces.

Nature Communications, (2021), 12, 1, (211), 10.1038/s41467-020-20546-w

Direct Visualization of Anti-Ferroelectric Switching Dynamics via Electrocaloric Imaging
Direct Visualization of Anti-Ferroelectric Switching Dynamics via Electrocaloric Imaging
Vales-Castro, P., Vellvehi, M., Perpiñà, X., Caicedo, J. M., Jordà, X., Faye, R., Roleder, K., Kajewski, D., Perez-Tomas, A., Defay, E., Catalan, G.

The large electrocaloric coupling in PbZrO3 allows using high-speed infrared imaging for visualizing anti-ferroelectric switching dynamics via the associated temperature change. It is found that in ceramic samples of homogeneous temperature and thickness, switching is fast due to the generation of multiple nucleation sites, with devices responding in the millisecond range. By introducing gradients of thickness, however, it is possible to change the dynamics to propagation limited, whereby a single-phase boundary sweeps across the sample like a cold front, at a speed of ≈20 cm s−1. Additionally, introducing thermostatic temperature differences between two sides of the sample enables the simultaneous generation of a negative electrocaloric effect on one side and a positive one on the other, yielding a Janus-like electrocaloric response.

Advanced Electronic Materials, 2021, 2100380, DOI: 10.1002/aelm.202100380