Staff directory María Carolina Varela Andrés

María Carolina Varela Andrés

Visiting Master Student
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Supramolecular NanoChemistry and Materials



  • Probing the meta-stability of oxide core/shell nanoparticle systems at atomic resolution

    Roldan M.A., Mayence A., López-Ortega A., Ishikawa R., Salafranca J., Estrader M., Salazar-Alvarez G., Dolors Baró M., Nogués J., Pennycook S.J., Varela M. Chemical Engineering Journal; 405 (126820) 2021. 10.1016/j.cej.2020.126820. IF: 10.652

    Hybrid nanoparticles allow exploiting the interplay of confinement, proximity between different materials and interfacial effects. However, to harness their properties an in-depth understanding of their (meta)stability and interfacial characteristics is crucial. This is especially the case of nanosystems based on functional oxides working under reducing conditions, which may severely impact their properties. In this work, the in-situ electron-induced selective reduction of Mn3O4 to MnO is studied in magnetic Fe3O4/Mn3O4 and Mn3O4/Fe3O4 core/shell nanoparticles by means of high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy combined with electron energy-loss spectroscopy. Such in-situ transformation allows mimicking the actual processes in operando environments. A multi-stage image analysis using geometric phase analysis combined with particle image velocity enables direct monitoring of the relationship between structure, chemical composition and strain relaxation during the Mn3O4 reduction. In the case of Fe3O4/Mn3O4 core/shell the transformation occurs smoothly without the formation of defects. However, for the inverse Mn3O4/Fe3O4 core/shell configuration the electron beam-induced transformation occurs in different stages that include redox reactions and void formation followed by strain field relaxation via formation of defects. This study highlights the relevance of understanding the local dynamics responsible for changes in the particle composition in order to control stability and, ultimately, macroscopic functionality. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Epitaxial Growth of SrTiO3 Films on Cube-Textured Cu-Clad Substrates by PLD at Low Temperature Under Reducing Atmosphere

    Padilla J.A., Xuriguera E., Rodríguez L., Vannozzi A., Segarra M., Celentano G., Varela M. Nanoscale Research Letters; 12 (1, 226) 2017. 10.1186/s11671-017-1997-9. IF: 2.833

    The growth of epitaxial {001}<100> SrTiO3 (STO) on low-cost cube-textured Cu-based clad substrate at low temperature was carried out by means of pulsed laser deposition (PLD). STO film was deposited in one step under a reducing atmosphere (5% H2 and 95% Ar mixture) to prevent the oxidation of the metal surface. The optimization of PLD parameters leads to a sharpest biaxial texture at a temperature as low as 500 °C and a thickness of 500 nm with a (100) STO layer. The upper limit of highly textured STO thickness was also investigated. The maximum thickness which retains the best quality {001}<100> texture is 800 nm, since the texture is preserved not only through the layer but also on the surface. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) measurements showed that STO films are continuous, dense, and smooth with very low roughness (between 5 and 7 nm). This paper describes the development of STO layer by means of PLD in absence of oxygen throughout the process, suggesting an alternative and effective method for growing highly {001}<100> textured STO layer on low-cost metal substrates. © 2017, The Author(s).


  • Monolithic integration of room-temperature multifunctional BaTiO 3 -CoFe 2 O 4 epitaxial heterostructures on Si(001)

    Scigaj M., Dix N., Gázquez J., Varela M., Fina I., Domingo N., Herranz G., Skumryev V., Fontcuberta J., Sánchez F. Scientific Reports; 6 ( 31870) 2016. 10.1038/srep31870. IF: 5.228

    The multifunctional (ferromagnetic and ferroelectric) response at room temperature that is elusive in single phase multiferroic materials can be achieved in a proper combination of ferroelectric perovskites and ferrimagnetic spinel oxides in horizontal heterostructures. In this work, lead-free CoFe 2 O 4 /BaTiO 3 bilayers are integrated with Si(001) using LaNiO 3 /CeO 2 /YSZ as a tri-layer buffer. They present structural and functional properties close to those achieved on perovskite substrates: the bilayers are fully epitaxial with extremely flat surface, and exhibit robust ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity at room temperature. © The Author(s) 2016.


  • Oxide wizard: An EELS application to characterize the white lines of transition metal edges

    Yedra L.; Xuriguera E.; Estrader M.; Lopez-Ortega A.; Baro M.D.; Nogues J.; Roldan M.; Varela M.; Estrade S.; Peiro F. Microscopy and Microanalysis; 20 (3): 698 - 705. 2014. 10.1017/S1431927614000440. IF: 2.161