Carlos Costa

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD and Degree in Physics

MSc in Materials Engineering 

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 https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9266-3669

 

Current Project

Novel nanomaterials and concepts for advanced rechargeable lithium-ion batteries

The main objective of my work is developing solid state high energy density lithium-ion rechargeable batteries based on: conventional fabrication and printing technologies. The investigation will focus on the development of materials for anode, cathode and separators with superior electrochemical, thermal and mechanical properties and cyclability.

Thus, novel batteries will be produced with improved performance characteristics, higher energy density and security, longer cycle lives, lower environmental impacts and new battery designs.

 

 

 

 


Clarisse Ribeiro

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Physics

Integrated Master in Biomedical Engineering

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 http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9120-4847

 

Current project

Tailoring electro-mechanically active materials for tissue engineering applications

Proliferation, growth and differentiation of specific cells can be promoted and/or improved by the use of active materials. In particular, piezoelectric materials allow incorporating electrical and mechanical stimuli to the cells. This is a recent paradigm with large potential in tissue engineering applications. This work will evaluate the influence of surface electrical charge, dimensionality and surface properties of electroactive materials on biological response of specific cells such as osteoblast, myoblast and mesenchymal stem cells under static and dynamic conditions. Piezoelectric polymers will be prepared with novel architectures and tailored characteristics and the effect in cell response will be evaluated.

 

 

 


Daniela Correia

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Materials Engineering

MSc in Characterization Techniques and Chemical Analysis

Degree in Chemistry

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 http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3118-4717

 

Current project

Ionic electroactive polymers for high-performance sensor and actuator applications

The inclusion of molten salts consisting in liquids electrolytes (ionic liquids, ILs) into an electroactive polymer (EAP) matrix brings special attention for applications in smart materials such as sensors and actuators owing to their interesting physicochemical properties, including high thermal and chemical stability and high conductivity. The class of magnetic ionic liquids (MILs) gained special attention due to its availability to exhibit a permanent magnetic response to an external magnetic field. The main objective of this project is to study, tailor and optimize the properties of novel, high performance multifunctional ionic EAPs, based on ILs and polymers from the family of poly(vinylidene fluoride) (P(VDF)), targeting applications such as sensors and, particularly, actuators. Other applications such as batteries and tissue engineering will be addressed.

 

 

Esquema Daniela

 

 


João Nunes-Pereira

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Physics

MSc in Physics

Degree in Physics and Chemistry (teaching)

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 https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6024-8716

 

Current Project

Printable sensors and plasma actuators for flow control in aeronautics

In aerospace industry the fabrication of reliable systems to control the flow separation in boundary layer adjacent to the wings wall or over turbomachinery blades is a pressing need in order to improve the aircrafts performance, resulting in a high added value in terms of efficiency and security for passenger and crews with unquestionable economic value. This project is focused on the design, production and optimization of polymer-based printable pressure sensor and plasma actuator systems for monitoring and prediction of flow separation on propulsion systems and structures. The development of a network of coupled polymer-based pressure sensors with dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma actuators represents a suitable solution to solve this class of aerodynamic problems. The fundamental properties of the polymeric materials together with their processability by printing technologies represent a unique combination for the design and production of smart sensor/actuator devices for application in aeronautics.

 

 

 

 


Margarida M. Fernandes

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Textile Engineering/Materials Science

Degree in Chemistry 

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 https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1529-3702

 

Current Project

Magnetoelectric-responsive nanocomposites as platforms for bone repair purposes

Tissue engineering techniques for bone repair is increasingly investigated due to the growing incidence of bone disorders worldwide. Biochemical stimulation is commonly employed for cell regeneration, however, resulting in limited-to-acceptable outcomes. Instead, the use of physical stimuli such as magnetic and electrical fields is an interesting and scarcely investigated alternative. The main objective of this project is to study the effect of magnetoelectric materials in bone tissue regeneration upon application of a magnetic field. A novel technological platform intended to regulate cell growth in 3D environments using these type of physical stimuli is achieved via combining piezoelectric polymers with magnetostrictive particles into ME-responsive nanocomposites and a custom-made bioreactor, which allow for mimicking bone native environment. The ME-nanocomposites are further studied for its capacity to induce proliferation, growth and differentiation of osteoblasts. The research contributes for the development of biocompatible stimuli-responsive materials for bone regeneration and provide the insights of magnetoelectric and mechanical effect on cell stimulation. The translation of this technology to bacterial cells, namely the effect of mechanoelectric and magnetoelectic stimuli on cell proliferation and/or inhibition is currently ongoing. Little information is known about these stimuli on bacteria, which might be important to tailor the bacterial behaviour for both antimicrobial and promicrobial approaches.

 

 

 

 


Pedro Filipe Ribeiro da Costa

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Mechanical Engineering

Degree in Physics

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 https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9887-0925

 

Current Project

The research interests include polymeric composites materials for sensors and actuators, using different materials as matrix (from thermoplastic to elastomeric) and reinforcement materials (ceramics, nanocarbonaceous or metallic nanostructures) for smart materials devices. Large deformation sensors with piezoresistive properties is the current study field. Although the composites sensors, the elastomeric matrices are interest materials for energy harvesting or scavenging.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pedro Libânio de Abreu Martins

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Physics 

Degree in Physics and Chemistry (teaching) 

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 https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9833-9648

 

Current Project

Polymer-based magnetoelectric (ME) materials are an interesting, challenging and innovative research field, that will bridge the gap between fundamental research and applications in the near future.

In this project are developed novel polymeric ME devices (sensors, actuators, energy harvesters)  based on high performance ME composites. The selected materials are improved/evaluated for sensor/actuator/harvesting fabrication and integrated into devices: magnetic field sensors, current sensors, liquid level sensors, flow sensors and energy harvesting. Those devices have a strong and eminent possibility of technology transfer with the local industry with which we are collaborating. The project will also tackle the fabrication of a new generation of low-cost printed magnetic materials, also including solution-based “green” printing (to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns), of magnetic device components.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 


Renato Ferreira Gonçalves

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Materials Engineering

MSc in Characterization Techniques and Chemical Analysis

Degree in Chemistry

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 https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9763-7371

 

Current Project

His work aims are formulate, characterize and process inks for electrodes/separators polymers based for printed Li-ion battery applications as RFID, electronic packages, medical devices, sensors and other low power/energy devices. Also work in the development of polymers composites, inorganic synthesis and magnetoelectric nanocomposites with advanced applications like sensors, actuators and energy. He collaborated with the Basque Country University, Spain; BC Materials, Spain; Cambridge University, United Kingdom, among others.

 

a) Poly(styrene−butene/ethylene−styrene) polymer binder for printable Lithium-Ion battery electrodes, b) Porous silk fibroin separator for lithium-ion battery and c) electrosprayed CoFe2O4/poly(vinylidene fluoride) polymer based composite microspheres for advanced application.

 

 

 


Vanessa F. Cardoso

Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Biomedical Engineering

Integrated Master in Biomedical Engineering

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 http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3039-5520

 

Current Project

Optimization of iron oxide-based porous magnetic silica spheres for histidine tagged proteins capture in large scale and lab-on-a-chip applications

The increasing number of large scale and lab-on-a-chip technologies for (bio)chemical applications based on the separation of biological entities, lead to the growing interest on functionalized magnetic nanoparticles. This project will evaluate the capture, transport, isolation and detection of histidine rich proteins on porous magnetic silica (PMS) spheres via coordinate bonding using transition metal ions as anchoring points (Fig.1). PMS will be synthesized and filled with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. PMS spheres will be characterized and their magnetophoresis behavior studied. The surface of the PMS spheres will be functionalized and the binding capacity evaluated. A lab-on-a-chip system will be designed and fabricated, incorporating PMS and proteins recycling (Fig. 2). Within the scope of related projects, therapeutic applications based on the PMS spheres will be studied.

 

 

Fig. 1: Shematic representation of the microfluidic system for the capture and separation of histidine-rich proteins.

 

Fig. 2: TEM images of zinc-decorated magnetic silica spheres and respective binding capacity to histidine. 

 

 

Polymer-based acoustic streaming system for microfluidic applications

Investigation of the feasibility and performance of acoustic streaming for the mixture of fluids at the microscale, generated with a polymer based piezoelectric transducer (Fig. 3). The fabricated transducer comprises a 25 µm thick piezoelectric film of poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene) (P(VDF-TrFE)) with 85 nm thick electrodes of aluminium doped zinc oxide (AZO) on both sides of the piezoelectric film. The transducer is characterized by a piezoelectric coefficient |d33 | of 34 pC.N-1and a transmittance higher than 75% throughout the visible light spectrum. The bottom and top electrodes have electrical resistivities of 3.5×10-3 Ω.cm and 11.3×10-3 Ω.cm, respectively. An electrical circuit was developed to optimize the electrical response of the system at the transducer resonance frequency of 48 MHz.The efficiency of the acoustic streaming phenomenon of the piezoelectric P(VDF-TrFE) transducer was studied by means of two diagnostic kits based on uric acid and nitrite.

 

Fig. 3: (a) Photograph of the microfluidic system with the P(VDF-TrFE) piezoelectric transducer placed underneath the PDMS structure. The coaxial adapter is conected to the bottom and top of the AZO electrodes; (b) Gain in reaction time by acoustic streaming for different amplitudes of the signal applied to the contacts of the P(VDF-TrFE) piezoelectric film at a resonance frequency of 48MHz for the quantification of nitrite and uric acid in blood.

 

 


Vitor Correia

Vitor Correia

Postdoctoral Researcher 

PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computers 

Integrated Master in Electrical Engineering and Computers

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Current Project

Development of inkjet printed sensors

The development of printed sensors is a very recent and innovative line of research, long-awaited by the industry for its obvious advantages as a product.

Thus in this project is developed new sensors based in the print technology for measuring several greatness's, such as: force, strain, magnetic field, electrochemical effects etc. through the use of materials, new methods and new paint formulations.
This can be considered a pre-industrial development line, because they are used the same processes as industry, so is easily scalable and applicable in current production lines.

Fig 1 Vitor Correia

(a) Inkjet printed piezoresistive 5x4 matrix sensor; (b) Mechanical deformation signal and amplitude response of three sensors; (c) Schematic of the various layers which constitute the piezoresistive 5x4 matrix sensor; (d) Single sensor comparative dimensions with a hole of a needle; (d) Detailed view of the sensors active layer.

 

 

Development of electromechanical bioreactor for cell culture and tissue engineering

Currently, tissue engineering and cell culture in general is being exploring with the objective of the reconstruct tissues and organs100% compatible with the receptor. But despite the great advances in this research area we are still far from this goal.

This project aims to contribute to achieving this goal, trying to simulate the set of stimuli to which cells are subjected in their native environment, including: electrical, magnetic and mechanical stimuli. It is intended to promote the growth and differentiation of cells simulated as realistically as possible the its native environment in controlled conditions.

Moreover this development allows to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of research in this area, because it allows to reduce the use of animals as a way to simulate the native cell environment as well the associated economic costs.

 

Fig 2 Vitor Correia

(a) Bioreactor for the production of electrical-stimulation of cells prototype; (b) Bioreactor for the production of electromechanical-stimulation of cells prototype ; (c) Electromechanical Bioreactor in a real conditions of use.