Staff directory Marc Vila Tusell

Publications

2021

  • Bioinspired theranostic coordination polymer nanoparticles for intranasal dopamine replacement in parkinson's disease

    García-Pardo J., Novio F., Nador F., Cavaliere I., Suárez-García S., Lope-Piedrafita S., Candiota A.P., Romero-Gimenez J., Rodríguez-Galván B., Bové J., Vila M., Lorenzo J., Ruiz-Molina D. ACS Nano; 15 (5): 8592 - 8609. 2021. 10.1021/acsnano.1c00453. IF: 15.881

    Dopamine (DA) is one of the main neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system and has a vital role in the function of dopaminergic (DArgic) neurons. A progressive loss of this specific subset of cells is one of the hallmarks of age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Symptomatic therapy for PD has been centered in the precursor l-DOPA administration, an amino acid precursor of DA that crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB) while DA does not, although this approach presents medium- to long-term side effects. To overcome this limitation, DA-nanoencapsulation therapies are actively being searched as an alternative for DA replacement. However, overcoming the low yield of encapsulation and/or poor biodistribution/bioavailability of DA is still a current challenge. Herein, we report the synthesis of a family of neuromelanin bioinspired polymeric nanoparticles. Our system is based on the encapsulation of DA within nanoparticles through its reversible coordination complexation to iron metal nodes polymerized with a bis-imidazol ligand. Our methodology, in addition to being simple and inexpensive, results in DA loading efficiencies of up to 60%. In vitro, DA nanoscale coordination polymers (DA-NCPs) exhibited lower toxicity, degradation kinetics, and enhanced uptake by BE(2)-M17 DArgic cells compared to free DA. Direct infusion of the particles in the ventricle of rats in vivo showed a rapid distribution within the brain of healthy rats, leading to an increase in striatal DA levels. More importantly, after 4 days of nasal administrations with DA-NCPs equivalent to 200 μg of the free drug per day, the number and duration of apomorphine-induced rotations was significantly lower from that in either vehicle or DA-treated rats performed for comparison purposes. Overall, this study demonstrates the advantages of using nanostructured DA for DA-replacement therapy. © 2021 American Chemical Society.


2020

  • Canted Persistent Spin Texture and Quantum Spin Hall Effect in WTe2

    Garcia J.H., Vila M., Hsu C.-H., Waintal X., Pereira V.M., Roche S. Physical Review Letters; 125 (25, 256603) 2020. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.256603. IF: 8.385

    We report an unconventional quantum spin Hall phase in the monolayer WTe2, which exhibits hitherto unknown features in other topological materials. The low symmetry of the structure induces a canted spin texture in the yz plane, which dictates the spin polarization of topologically protected boundary states. Additionally, the spin Hall conductivity gets quantized (2e2/h) with a spin quantization axis parallel to the canting direction. These findings are based on large-scale quantum simulations of the spin Hall conductivity tensor and nonlocal resistances in multiprobe geometries using a realistic tight-binding model elaborated from first-principle methods. The observation of this canted quantum spin Hall effect, related to the formation of topological edge states with nontrivial spin polarization, demands for specific experimental design and suggests interesting alternatives for manipulating spin information in topological materials. © 2020 American Physical Society.


  • Magnetic proximity in a van der Waals heterostructure of magnetic insulator and graphene

    Karpiak B., Cummings A.W., Zollner K., Vila M., Khokhriakov D., Hoque A.M., Dankert A., Svedlindh P., Fabian J., Roche S., Dash S.P. 2D Materials; 7 (1, 015026) 2020. 10.1088/2053-1583/ab5915. IF: 7.140

    Engineering 2D material heterostructures by combining the best of different materials in one ultimate unit can offer a plethora of opportunities in condensed matter physics. Here, in the van der Waals heterostructures of the ferromagnetic insulator Cr2Ge2Te6 and graphene, our observations indicate an out-of-plane proximity-induced ferromagnetic exchange interaction in graphene. The perpendicular magnetic anisotropy of Cr2Ge2Te6 results in significant modification of the spin transport and precession in graphene, which can be ascribed to the proximity-induced exchange interaction. Furthermore, the observation of a larger lifetime for perpendicular spins in comparison to the in-plane counterpart suggests the creation of a proximity-induced anisotropic spin texture in graphene. Our experimental results and density functional theory calculations open up opportunities for the realization of proximity-induced magnetic interactions and spin filters in 2D material heterostructures and can form the basic building blocks for future spintronic and topological quantum devices. © 2019 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • Nonlocal Spin Dynamics in the Crossover from Diffusive to Ballistic Transport

    Vila M., Garcia J.H., Cummings A.W., Power S.R., Groth C.W., Waintal X., Roche S. Physical Review Letters; 124 (19, 196602) 2020. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.196602. IF: 8.385

    Improved fabrication techniques have enabled the possibility of ballistic transport and unprecedented spin manipulation in ultraclean graphene devices. Spin transport in graphene is typically probed in a nonlocal spin valve and is analyzed using spin diffusion theory, but this theory is not necessarily applicable when charge transport becomes ballistic or when the spin diffusion length is exceptionally long. Here, we study these regimes by performing quantum simulations of graphene nonlocal spin valves. We find that conventional spin diffusion theory fails to capture the crossover to the ballistic regime as well as the limit of long spin diffusion length. We show that the latter can be described by an extension of the current theoretical framework. Finally, by covering the whole range of spin dynamics, our study opens a new perspective to predict and scrutinize spin transport in graphene and other two-dimensional material-based ultraclean devices. © 2020 American Physical Society.


2019

  • Room-Temperature Spin Hall Effect in Graphene/MoS 2 van der Waals Heterostructures

    Safeer C.K., Ingla-Aynés J., Herling F., Garcia J.H., Vila M., Ontoso N., Calvo M.R., Roche S., Hueso L.E., Casanova F. Nano Letters; 2019. 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04368. IF: 12.279

    Graphene is an excellent material for long-distance spin transport but allows little spin manipulation. Transition-metal dichalcogenides imprint their strong spin-orbit coupling into graphene via the proximity effect, and it has been predicted that efficient spin-to-charge conversion due to spin Hall and Rashba-Edelstein effects could be achieved. Here, by combining Hall probes with ferromagnetic electrodes, we unambiguously demonstrate experimentally the spin Hall effect in graphene induced by MoS 2 proximity and for varying temperatures up to room temperature. The fact that spin transport and the spin Hall effect occur in different parts of the same material gives rise to a hitherto unreported efficiency for the spin-to-charge voltage output. Additionally, for a single graphene/MoS 2 heterostructure-based device, we evidence a superimposed spin-to-charge current conversion that can be indistinguishably associated with either the proximity-induced Rashba-Edelstein effect in graphene or the spin Hall effect in MoS 2 . By a comparison of our results to theoretical calculations, the latter scenario is found to be the most plausible one. Our findings pave the way toward the combination of spin information transport and spin-to-charge conversion in two-dimensional materials, opening exciting opportunities in a variety of future spintronic applications. © 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • Tunable circular dichroism and valley polarization in the modified Haldane model

    Vila M., Hung N.T., Roche S., Saito R. Physical Review B; 99 (16, 161404) 2019. 10.1103/PhysRevB.99.161404. IF: 3.736

    We study the polarization dependence of optical absorption for a modified Haldane model, which exhibits antichiral edge modes in the presence of sample boundaries and has been argued to be realizable in transition metal dichalcogenides or Weyl semimetals. A rich optical phase diagram is unveiled, in which the correlations between perfect circular dichroism, pseudospin andvalley polarization can be tuned independently upon varying the Fermi energy. In particular, perfect circular dichroism and valley polarization are achieved simultaneously. This combination of optical properties suggests some interesting photonic device functionality (e.g., light polarizer) which could be combined with valleytronics applications (e.g., generation of valley currents). © 2019 American Physical Society.


2018

  • Spin transport in graphene/transition metal dichalcogenide heterostructures

    Garcia J.H., Vila M., Cummings A.W., Roche S. Chemical Society Reviews; 47 (9): 3359 - 3379. 2018. 10.1039/c7cs00864c. IF: 40.182

    Since its discovery, graphene has been a promising material for spintronics: its low spin-orbit coupling, negligible hyperfine interaction, and high electron mobility are obvious advantages for transporting spin information over long distances. However, such outstanding transport properties also limit the capability to engineer active spintronics, where strong spin-orbit coupling is crucial for creating and manipulating spin currents. To this end, transition metal dichalcogenides, which have larger spin-orbit coupling and good interface matching, appear to be highly complementary materials for enhancing the spin-dependent features of graphene while maintaining its superior charge transport properties. In this review, we present the theoretical framework and the experiments performed to detect and characterize the spin-orbit coupling and spin currents in graphene/transition metal dichalcogenide heterostructures. Specifically, we will concentrate on recent measurements of Hanle precession, weak antilocalization and the spin Hall effect, and provide a comprehensive theoretical description of the interconnection between these phenomena. © 2018 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


  • Tailoring emergent spin phenomena in Dirac material heterostructures

    Khokhriakov D., Cummings A.W., Song K., Vila M., Karpiak B., Dankert A., Roche S., Dash S.P. Science Advances; 4 (9, aat9349) 2018. 10.1126/sciadv.aat9349. IF: 11.511

    Dirac materials such as graphene and topological insulators (TIs) are known to have unique electronic and spintronic properties. We combine graphene with TIs in van der Waals heterostructures to demonstrate the emergence of a strong proximity-induced spin-orbit coupling in graphene. By performing spin transport and precession measurements supported by ab initio simulations, we discover a strong tunability and suppression of the spin signal and spin lifetime due to the hybridization of graphene and TI electronic bands. The enhanced spin-orbit coupling strength is estimated to be nearly an order of magnitude higher than in pristine graphene. These findings in graphene-TI heterostructures could open interesting opportunities for exploring exotic physical phenomena and new device functionalities governed by topological proximity effects. Copyright © 2018 The Authors.