multifunctional ferroic ceramics and nanostructures


group coordinator

Vitor Brás Sequeira Amaral


general aims


  • Doping effect on structure and properties of multiferroic ceramics. Study of structural transitions, defect chemistry and ferroic domains.
  • Lead-free piezo and ferroelectrics. Electrophoretic deposition and constrained sintering of films for high frequency applications. Pressure/substrate effect on the microstructure. Grain boundary engineering.
  • Nanoporous and nanostructured ferroelectrics by solution-based techniques. Functionalization with magnetic nanoparticles.
  • Multiferroic particulate or laminar nanocomposites.
  • Development of ferroic Metal Organic Frameworks and modifications for properties tailoring.
  • CNTs/Ferroelectric composites.
  • Thin film preparation studies with RF sputtering for magnetoelectric devices. All-oxide structures. Magnetic shape-memory films and heterostructures. Buffer layers. Lithographic device manufacture for electronics. Research on new rare-earth free permanent magnet materials.
  • Bias-induced phase transitions. Local artificial multiferroic regions within a matrix or across interfaces. Role of oxygen migration/diffusion.
  • Magnetic foams and magnetoplasticity
  • Multiscale physical properties study of magneto-structural-electronic coupling in magnetic and multiferroic materials.
  • Multiple/coupled order parameters modeling studies of materials, heterogeneous/layered systems and interfaces.
  • Monte-Carlo techniques. Models for nanoparticles and ferrofluids.
  • Development of AFM-based scanning thermal probe/actuator techniques.
  • Radioactive isotope hyperfine studies at ISOLDE-CERN (local correlations of multiferroics, probing and doping on graphene/surfaces of ferroics in UHV). Atomic binding on graphene for integration and catalysis. Local structure-magnetoelectric couplings.
  • Nanoelectromechanical properties of graphene. Stress/strain distribution, flexoelectricity, thermomechanical deformation and defect formation.
  • Layered and nanostructured thermoelectrics. Texture and grain boundary effects.
  • Calculation of electronic structure using ab-initio DFT methods. Ferroelectric and multiferroic properties. Stability, interactions, hyperfine fields and EELS.


  • Li batteries: nanomechanical stresses induced into cathode active particles, their design for stable batteries. Lifetime dependent Li-diffusion studied by ESM.
  • Ferrocaloric functionalities (magneto-, electro- or elastocaloric) and application to cooling focused on strong structural coupling materials.
  • Thermoelectric functionalities and performance optimization.
  • Novel thermometry techniques.
  • Devices design, thermal properties and performance measurements, numerical simulation and modeling. Prototype construction.
  • Investigations of piezoelectric energy harvesting applications.


  • Low temperature, low cost fabrication of functional materials, structures and systems. Use of high-throughput combinatorial synthesis, assisted by computational modelling for accelerated materials production. Application in flexible polymeric substrates.
  • Economic and environmentally benign nanosynthesis methods of ferroics suitable for scale-up. Use of renewable synthesis routes, recycled waste materials or by-products for sustainability.
  • Nanoparticles and composites for bio-medical applications. Magnetically responsive capsules, multifunctional luminescent and magnetic materials. Instrumentation for sensing and heat release in magnetic hyperthermia.
  • Polarization phenomena in biomaterials: Amino acid crystals to write information. Peptide foams and nanotubes for bioMEMS and sensors. Biosensing capabilites of functionalized tubes.
  • Biocompatible and biodegradable polymers films as platforms for tissue growth. Evaluation of protein adsorption process and cell proliferation. Thin films deposited on bio metallic surfaces for in vivo studies.