Main Research Lines
- Flexoelectricity and Piezoelectricity: fundamentals and devices
- Electronic and electromechanical properties of oxide thin films
- Domain wall nanoelectronics
- Ferroelectrics, multiferroics, metal-insulator transitions
This year has been a good one. We started the year reporting the highest piezoresistance ever measured at room temperature in an oxide (Domingo et al, Nanoscale 2015), a work that was picked up and highlighted by the national press (articles in La Vanguardia, 20 Minutos and El Mundo among others). Pressure-induced changes in resistance were also the subject of another important article (Lu et al, Nano Letters) in which we showed that the conductivity of the 2D electron gas at the interface between SrTiO3 and LaAlO3 can be switched on and off by applying external stress gradients using the tip of an atomic force microscope.
Other noteworthy works include the first indirect evidence for surface piezoelectricity in a non-piezoelectric material (Narváez et al, Physical Review Letters 2015), the demonstration that the skin layer of relaxor materials remains ferroelectric well above the Curie temperature of the bulk (Domingo et al, Physical Review B), and a News&Views article on the subject of ferroelectric negative capacitance and the difficulties that have to be overcome for its integration into transistors capable of overcoming the so-called “Boltzmann tyranny” (Catalan et al, Nature Materials 2015).
In our group, researchers have autonomy to pursue their own research interests besides the core group lines. Thus, Ignasi Fina and Xavier Martí have produced relevant works on antiferromagnetic spintronics, Amador Pérez has published about semiconductor devices, and Neus Domingo has written an article and a book chapter on the detection of surface adsorbates using scanning probe microscopy.
Prof Gustau Catalán earned his BSc in Physics at the Universitat de Barcelona (1997), and his PhD in Physics at Queen’s University of Belfast (2001). He then took research positions at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (2002-2004), the University of Groningen (2004-2005) and the University of Cambridge (2005-2009).
Enhanced flexoelectric-like response in oxide semiconductors
Narvaez J., Vasquez-Sancho F., Catalan G. Nature (2016)