Inorganic Nanoparticles Group

Group Leader: Víctor F. Puntes

Main Research Lines

  • Design and development of synthetic strategies for the production of complex nanoparticles
  • Functionalisation with specific relevant (bio)molecules
  • The study of their physicochemical and fundamental properties

In 2016 the Inorganic Nanoparticles Group continued worked on several of its ongoing projects on the design and synthesis of inorganic nanoparticles for interaction with biological systems and energy harvesting (see list of projects). Additionally, three new projects kicked-off this year: DANAE, a national project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO) for the design of advanced inorganic nanocrystal complexes for the transformation and storage of energy; HISENTS (High-level Integrated Sensor for NanoToxicity Screening), a European collaborative project funded under H2020; and PANDORA, a Marie Curie ITN project also funded under H2020, to promote the safety assessment of nano-objects by defining their impact on the immune and defensive response of organisms in the environment. Meanwhile, the MINE project to develop new strategies for the production of viable hybrid nanocrystals with applications in energy conversion and photocatalysis, funded by a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, came to an end this year.

Nanoparticles are engineered and designed in view of their applicability in materials science, catalysis, energy harvesting, environmental remediation, and nanobiomedicine and nanotoxicology, among others. This is achieved by controlling the size, shape and structure of their inorganic core, and selectively linking active molecules to the nanoparticle surface, which allows them to selectively interact with specific systems (materials, biological, environmental etc.).

In this regard, the main scientific objectives of the group include:

I. Design and development of synthetic strategies for the production of complex nanoparticles (focusing on complex multicomponent and hollow nanoparticles comprising different families of metal, metal oxides, semiconductor oxides and semiconductors).

II. Functionalisation with specific relevant (bio)molecules and materials (core-shell nanoparticles, heterodimers…) in order to interface the nanoparticle in the desired system and increase nanoparticle functionality. 

III. The study of their physicochemical and fundamental properties. This leads to the design of new drug-delivery platforms and advanced catalysts to improve energy-chemical processes, and the optimisation of the features of nanoparticles to enhance the production of hydrogen or boost biogas production. We also focus on the precise characterisation of the obtained nanoparticles in terms of their reactivity (aggregation, corrosion and dissolution) and physicochemical properties as prepared, during and after use.


Group Leader

Víctor F. Puntes


ICREA Research Prof Víctor F. Puntes’ work spans the full breadth of nanoparticle research: synthesis, conjugation and characterisation of inorganic nanoparticles; nanotoxicology and nanosafety; and myriad applications for sectors including medicine and the environment.

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