Hydrophobicity on rare earth oxides: the bare truth

For some time, rare earth oxides have been thought to be water-repellent. This march, scientists from the University of Basel, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Paul Scherrer Institute, have found the real origin of this behaviour. They’ve shown that rare earth oxides do not present any significant hydrophobicity. Only when exposed to environmental conditions, they repel water. The explanation, it was only chemical reactions with gaseous hydrocarbons found in the ambient air that increased the surfaces’ roughness and reduced wetting by water.

Personally interested in the subject, we did this picture for them, advised by Dr. Laurent Marot.

2016 Scixel’s Overview

Finally we’ve found some time to produce our 2016 demoreel. It’s been a great year. We’ve worked with a lot of new people in Spain and abroad. Lots of amazing projects both artistically and scientifically. These are some of them:

This is a way of both showing off about the people we’ve worked with and expressing some gratitude. It is difficult not to feel lucky.

On charging your phone with your jumper

Imagine having your your battery charger printed on your clothes or on the screen of your cellphone… this is what Organic Nanostructured Photovoltaics group, at ICFO is proposing. The use of organic electronics allows the production of  flexible cells which happen to be highly inefficient. By layering nanoparticles in a clever way, they’ve been able to increase the performance of these devices, thus solving the problem.

With the help of Dr. Silvia Colodrero, we created this picture which made it to the cover of Advanced Functional Materials.

News from the other side

While preparing the 2016 demoreel, I’ve just found two covers I did during last year I was totally unaware of… This seems to be alive beyond my control.

Widefield Lensless Endoscopy via Speckle Correlations

If you want to know about cool stuff going on in the optics field, check out the Advanced Imaging Lab, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Now they’ve come up with a way to make Widefield Lensless Endoscopy via Speckle Correlations. In short, this means smaller devices and better quality images by using speckle correlations in multicore fibers.

To illustrate it, and requested by Dr. Ori Katz  we did this image for them. It made it to the inside cover of OPN.

Working with them gets you in a state of something in between astonishment and “… you sure this is really possible???”. Like that time in 2014, when they claimed they were able to recover images through scattering layers and around corners. Well, it happened to be so true, it was published in Nature Photonics.

Phonometa’s new website

We’ve just finished the new Phonometa’s website, a research group that explores a not so common area of condensed matter physics:  physical acoustics, elasticity, and vibrating engineered fluids or solids.

Phonometa’s head, Johan Christensen, has just arrived from Denmark to establish his group at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Interesting stuff is going to come out of this.

Quantized thermal transport: this is big

For the first time, a solid proof of the quantized nature of thermal transport in single atom junctions. That’s it.

While quantized electrical conductance was pretty well known and proof for quite a while, quantized thermal transport observation was still slipping away from researchers eyes. Until now.

A group of researchers from Michigan University, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and Universität Konstanz have managed to reach the amazing levels of accuracy and stability this measurement requires.

This changes the game. And we had the opportunity to make this explanatory video for them with the help of Prof. J. C. Cuevas (UAM) and Longji Cui (UMICH). One of those times when your job pays off.

Where to research?

Here we present the IFT (Instituto de física teórica). Filmociencia has directed this beautiful video to present this research institute and the amazing environment they offer to students and researchers.

We have collaborated with them performing a small presentation effect.

Light and Death

At Cristina Flors’s research group they have been able to study bacterial death in real time. Bacterial death is induced through the combination of light and photosensitizers. This way it is possible inspect the pathway of photodynamic damage at the single-cell level.

Their work has been awarded with the cover of February’s issue of the Journal of Biophotonics.