Expression of Interest

Contact Person/Scientist in Charge

  • Name and surname: Juan José de Miguel
  • Email:

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Department / Institute / Centre

  • Name: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Address: Ciudad Universitaria de Cantoblanco, 28049 Madri
  • Province: Madrid

Research Area

  • Chemistry (CHE)
  • Physics (PHY)

Brief description of the institution:


Brief description of the Centre/Research Group (including URL if applicable):

The University Autónoma de Madrid is one of the leading higher education institutions in Spain, with a special emphasis on scientific research. Nowadays the UAM is one of the 2 Spanish universities ranked among the 25 best European institutions in the field of Physics (

The Surface Physics Group of the University Autónoma has kept a long-standing tradition of research in adsorption and growth initiated by Prof. N. Cabrera, extending its scope to cover different areas of Surface Science and Nanotechnology. The group's main scientific activity puts special emphasis on the careful characterisation of the growth processes and the systems characteristics (structure, composition, morphology) and its influence on the resulting electronic and magnetic properties.

Main researchers:

  • Juan J. de Miguel: Author of ~80 scientific publications with ~2000 citations, 12 invited talks and 100+ communications at international conferences. Responsible for 14 research projects, both national and European. Main research lines: atomic diffusion, epitaxial growth; low-dimensional magnetic structures; self-assembly and self-organization; molecular electronics and spintronics, chirality.
  • Jesús Álvarez: 68 publications, ca. 1300 citations. Main research lines: chemical and electronic properties of surfaces and interfaces; electronic spectroscopies; diffraction; atomic force microscopy. 
  • María J. Capitán: 83 publications, ca. 900 citations. 

Project description:

This project aims at investigating the possibility to obtain solid heterogeneous catalysts with enantioselectivity based on spin-polarized materials. Finding procedures that allow to selectively synthesize the desired enantiomer excluding the other one –what is known as asymmetric or enantioselective chemical synthesis– is one of the most pressing problems currently for the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.

Recent work by the proposing group and others have demonstrated that adsorbed films of chiral organic molecules act as spin filters for electrons transmitted through them. This finding opens the way for a manipulation of bonding, charge transfer and reactivity of chiral molecules through a control of the spin polarization of the substrate.

Based on this hypothesis, the project proposes to investigate the selectivity and catalytic activity of several types of substrates with controllable magnetic characteristics, such as magnetic multilayers, transition-metal silicides with a non-centrosymmetric crystal structure that also results in helical magnetism, or half-metals that show spontaneous spin polarization.

For these studies a combination of surface science techniques will be used to obtain a comprehensive characterization of the key processes involved. Most of the magnetic substrates will be fabricated in situ by molecular beam epitaxy. Heavy use will be made of different electronic spectroscopies, with a special emphasis on synchrotron radiation based techniques, since the binding of the molecules at the surface, the amount of charge transfer and the chemical reactions taking place in the presence of the catalyst are central issues of this research


CV and presentation letter. Deadline: September, 1, 2017

I want to contact the Institution

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