The Third Daughter

We’ve started a new project called The Saga of the Third Daughter, a series of videos telling the story of the Great Oxidation Event. Interestingly, or so we think, these videos are not designed to be part of an outreach project. We wanted to tell this story as if it was a classic creation myth.

Sadly, for the moment, the videos will be only in Spanish, although an English voice over would be an option in the future.

Here we present the first Book, hope you like it!

You can check the following releases here. Also, in the website we “translate” the poetry of the tale and explain the real story in which the saga is base.

Topographic reconstruction

With today’s free tools and open information (satellite images, topography, etc) it is pretty straightforward to reconstruct real places and to present geographical information. Just an example:

Vision evolution

This is an old side project we started three years ago and it is finally released… or recover… I’m not sure.

It is an explanation of how the eye evolved from very primitive and simple structures to the magnificent piece of machinery that it is today. And how it evolved independently in different species.

Finally, I have to thank Natalia Ruiz Zelmanovitch for the voice over, and Javier Trapiella and Montse Daura for their ideas and advices. Hope you like it!


Living electric wires

Materials scientists have for decades fantasized about using DNA as a structural element in electronic circuits. And for decades, the electrical properties of DNA have remain a mystery. Hundreds of different, controversial results have appeared in the literature… That ends today!

Researchers from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Michigan, Cyprus, Seville and Madrid, have reported the observation of “very high currents of tens of nanoamperes” through the backbone of DNA molecules. And what it is more interesting, this conduction occurs through great distances.

This observation has required the development of several techniques: a way to “grow” DNA attached to a gold nanoparticle and a way to trap this DNA using non uniform electric fields. In fact, these techniques are important on their own and whey could be the base for the development of a novel electronic bio sensor, highly sensitive to specific sequences of DNA of RNA.

We made this picture for Prof. Juan Carlos Cuevas (UAM) to illustrate these results published in Nature Nanotechnology.


Strong coupling over large distances

It seems that quantum technologies never sleep. Researchers are bringing new improvements and solving impossible challenges every day. In this case the good news came from our friends at Basel University. Together with the University of Hanover they’ve came up with a way to produce a strong coupling between two quantum systems over a distance.

Strong coupling between quantum systems is essential for quantum technologies to work, for instance to create quantum networks. Until now, for two systems to be strongly coupled, they both needed to be really close and in highly controlled environments where they could interact via electrostatic or magnetostatic forces.

For the first time, a team of physicist led by Prof. Philipp Treutlein, form the Department of Physics at Basel University, has succeeded in the creation of a strong coupling between two systems at large distances and at room temperature. In particular, they’ve used laser light to couple the motion of the spin of atoms over 1 meter [read more].

We made this picture for them to illustrate the process. This research has been published in Science.

Nuclear Physics and Quantum Information Science

At the end of 2018, the US Congress enacted the National Quantum Initiative (NQI), making quantum information science (QIS) a high-priority research area in the United States. They’ve just published the Nuclear Sciences Advisory Committee subcommittee report on Nuclear Physics and Quantum Information Science. And this year they’ve chosen one of our images to decorate the brochure and to illustrate the exploratory aspect of this initiative.

This picture was initially made for Prof. R. Hanson at request of Michel van Baal and has been kindly lent by TU Delft to appear in this brochure by request of Prof. Douglas H. Beck.

On communication in Braga

I was invited this October to give a talk about communicating Science at the Quantum Sciences & Technologies International Conference Mission 10.000 at the INL (Braga). I hadn’t been to a conference for a long time and things seem to have improved a lot! The organization was amazing and the level of the talks, outstanding.

And about me, well, I did my best. Maybe my highlight was that I put a picture of Schrodingër together with a Klingon.

Anyway, I am deeply grateful for the invitation and for the treatment they gave me.

Join the FTMC!

Condensed matter physics is a big unknown, even for 2nd year physics students, let alone theoretical condensed matter physics. And funny enough, this branch of physics covers a huge percentage of the reality around us. It covers quantum physics, biophysics, fluids, materials, optics and acoustics, or low temperatures, just to name a few of its interests. Yet, few people know about it.

At the Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics department, at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid are actively trying to fill this gap. They’ve made a video to inform and try to bring closer students and young people to this beautiful and amazing area of science. And Scixel happened to be around.


We’ve spend a great time working with them, discussing and creating this piece. Hope you like it and pay them a visit!

Do electric neurons dream of…

This is getting out of hand. At LanzaLab they try to emulate the behavior of neuron synapses using multilayered hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) . An interesting paradigm states that a biologically inspired computing architecture, will overcome the energy and efficiency limitations of classic computing architectures. To carry it out will require the design of electronic neurons and synapses. There are several features to be copied from mother’s nature design: it has to be fast, energetically efficient and it has to have a long term/short term plasticity. And at Lanzalab, they’ve achieved most of them. Their h-BN devices consume between 0.1 fW and 600 pW and they have a truly fast response: around 10ns.

We made this image supervised by Prof. Mario Lanza to illustrate their work published in Nature Electronics.

Dust: the origin

We already talked about the project NANOCOSMOS in this website. This is a huge ERC funded project directed by Prof. José Cernicharo which has put together research groups from Spain and France. The researchers working in this project are trying to “unveil the physical and chemical conditions in the dust formation zone of evolved stars.

A year ago, Natalia Ruiz Zelmanovitch (Public Information Officer of the project), approached me to create a short documentary explaining the aims of this research. Now, a year later, its been made public. Scixel worked both in the animations and the music. Hope you enjoy this piece as much as we enjoyed making it.

Apart from the pleasure that is to work with Natalia, the intrinsic beauty of this research, made this collaboration a big moment of Scixel’s short history.