José J. Baldoví is awarded an ERC Starting Grant

Former MPSD researcher plans to utilize grant for the development of smart molecular 2D-materials for information technologies.

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded an ERC Starting Grant of € 1.5 million to Dr. José J. Baldoví, a former member of the MPSD's Theory Department and now a distinguished researcher from the Gen-T Excellence Program of the Generalitat Valenciana in the Institute of Molecular Science (ICMol) of the University of València. The grant will fund his 2D-SMARTiES project which aims to chemically design smart devices formed by molecules and 2D materials in order to significantly advance information technologies. 

The highly competitive ERC Starting Grants are targeted at outstanding postdoctoral researchers to allow them to perform groundbreaking research. The funding will allow Baldoví to set up his own research group with six positions over the next five years in his quest to develop molecular magnonics and revolutionize information technologies using smart 2D materials. 

Most of the applications we use in daily life are based on electronics, which relies on the motion of electric charges through a conductive material. As the electrons move through the circuit, however, they experience scattering. This in turn leads to energy losses that we perceive as heating, increasing electrical resistance and affecting to the efficiency of such devices.

However, nature provides the possibility of communicating electrons at a distance using their magnetic interactions. This disruptive concept is the object of study of magnonics, a burgeoning research field related to nanomagnetism and nanoscience. Magnonics utilizes the so-called spin waves (magnons) that allow us to process, transmit and store information without charge transport, simply by using magnetic materials. The is akin to the flow of a Mexican wave in a stadium, where the spectators do not move but information is transferred from one point to another. 

Baldoví is enthusiastic about the prospects opened up by the ERC Starting Grant: “In our project we will design new architectures at the nanometric scale, formed by magnetic materials just a few atoms thick and smart molecules that can interact with external stimuli, such as light. This will let us generate controllable spin waves using light pulses, which promises unprecedented control of their transmission and takes advantage of the huge versatility that chemistry offers.’

The research will be split into three steps. Firstly, researchers will carry out computational simulations to select the most suitable smart molecules to interact with the spin waves of the 2D material. In the second step, the effect of so-called topological insulators will be studied, because these materials can be used as a substrate in order to amplify the signal and increase the lifetime of the spin waves.

Finally, the nanodevices will be fabricated in collaboration with experimental groups from ICMol and the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. “It is my dream to make the predictions that we will be performing at each step using the supercomputers become reality,” says Baldoví. “For that, we will have the support from renowned groups in molecular nanoscience.”

Biographical information

José J. Baldoví is a distinguished researcher with international experience at ICMol of the University of València (UV), where he currently leads the research line on chemical design and modelling of hybrid heterostructures based on magnetic molecules and 2D materials.

Baldoví studied Chemistry at UV, with extraordinary award, carrying out the final year research project at Cambridge University (UK) where he started his research activity. He then joined the group of Eugenio Coronado, Full Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and director of ICMol, where he completed his MSc and PhD in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, both with extraordinary award. His thesis explored the rational design of molecular nanomagnets with applications in nanoscience, molecular spintronics and quantum technologies and achieved the highest score of all the PhD theses in Chemistry at the UV in 2016.

In 2017, Baldoví moved to Ángel Rubio's research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg, Germany, after being awarded a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship of the European Commission.

This postdoctoral experience expanded his research interests to the theoretical simulation of 2D materials and van der Waals heterostructures, allowing him to design novel multifunctional materials. In January 2020 Baldoví moved back to ICMol after being awarded a CDEIGENT excellence contract thanks to the attraction of talent program (Plan Gen-T) of the Generalitat Valenciana.

Since 2012, José J. Baldoví has co-authored of more than 50 scientific articles in international scientific journals and a book chapter, being first author in more than half of them. His works have attracted more than 2250 citations so far. He has given 12 invited lectures at international conferences and currently supervises three PhD theses as well as a final-year MSc project. His works have attracted more than 2250 citations so far. Baldoví holds a Master in Science Communication that allows him to transfer the value of science to society through popular science articles and events.

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