inorganic functional nanomaterials and organic-inorganic hybrids


group coordinator

Helena Isabel Seguro Nogueira


general aims


  • (Amorphous)Organic-Inorganic Hybrid (Ureasils…) - Target is green photonics, viz. solid-state lighting, photovoltaic conversion, optical communications and sensing. UV-direct laser writing will be used to produce externally (thermal and electrical)-actuated devices for polarization control in the NIR for high-bit rate coherent systems (advanced modulation formats). Production of cylindrical luminescent solar concentrators made of plastic-optical fibers coated with Ln3+-doped hybrids, and ratiometric thermometers based on Ln3+-doped thin films for sensing in microoptics and microelectronics.
  • Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) - Green synthesis (ohmic, microwave heating, mechanochemistry) will be explored. Synthesis of nanoparticles by Spray Drying will be extended to Ln3+-materials, allowing growing films/membrane, e.g., by ink-jet printing, polymer composites, etc. Porous nanofibers will be prepared by electrospinning LnMOF nanoparticles with carrier polymers. NanoMOF-polymer or organic-inorganic hybrids will be explored in green photonics. Assessment of nanoMOFs in small molecule (CO, CO2, NO…) and nanothermometry sensing devices, and in the separation of gas mixtures. Highly-stable MOFs based on high-valent cations (Fe3+, Bi3+, Co3+…) and suitable ligands (catecolate…, phosphonates, sulfonates) will be prepared.
  • Polyoxometalates and Microporous Ln Silicates - Unique luminescence properties of Ln silicates will be explored in IR emission, downshifting and upconversion, and thermometry. Ln-polyoxometalates will be used as building blocks for emitting materials.


  • Green Catalysis and Catalysts of Industrial Interest - Efficient and robust catalysts for asymmetric fine chemistry and oxidation reactions involving, e.g., demanding substrates such as bio-derived olefins; systems operative under mild conditions, permitting high substrate-to-catalyst ratios, and water-tolerant catalysts.
  • Materials Genome - Experimental and computational modeling of the relationship between the structure and mechanisms of adsorption, diffusion and chemical reaction, aimed at tuning the properties of materials for target applications.


  • Surface Modified Nanostructures and Polymer Nanocomposites - Nanoparticles as platforms or polymer matrices fillers in: i) optical detection of (bio)analytes in SERS and as plasmonic responsive systems; ii) multifunctional thermally-sensitive bionanocomposites with remotely controlled contactless capability for drug delivery, hyperthermia and tissue adhesives; iii) chemically modified CNTs and graphene for photodriven applications.
  • Environmental Remediation & Monitoring - Surface functionalized nanomaterials for removing and monitoring water/soil pollutants (metal species and organic contaminants) by magnetic separation (eco-nanomagnets). Amine-functionalized silicas for CO2 sequestration. TM silicates for remediating Hg, Cd, Pb contaminated waters.
  • Crystal Structure of Powders - The structure of fluorinated powdered pharmaceuticals, with low-symmetry unit cells, and small proteins will be studied by NMR, DFT calculations and synchrotron XRD.
  • Biolabeling, Multimodal Bioimaging and Therapy - Multimodal nanoparticles consisting of i) inorganic core (imaging reporter and/or carrier); ii) surrounding layer (for surface charge modification, solubility and biocompatibility, PEG for increasing in vivo circulation time, attaching Ln probes and therapeutic agents); iii) molecules with high target affinity.
  • Combination of MRI relaxivity and luminescence up-conversion. A third modality will be introduced, Ln-based nanothermometry. nanoMOFs will be assessed as dual bioimaging MR/luminescence contrast agents.
  • Heater-thermometer nanoplatforms will be used in hyperthermia. Microporous silicates will be explored for small biomolecules (NO, H2S, anti-inflamatory drugs…) delivery.
  • Ca-phosphonate MOFs will be explored for treating osteoporosis, calcification and Paget disease.