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PhD Theses

Congratulations Dr. Pamela Machado, new ICMAB PhD graduate!

Doctor Pamela Machado from the Superconducting Materials and Large Scale Nanostructures (SUMAN) Group at ICMAB-CSIC defended her PhD thesis "Preparation of all-oxide heterostructures based on cation engineered photoferroelectric BiFeO3 thin films by cost-effective methodologies" on Wednesday, 19 July 2023 at ICMAB. 

27 July 2023
Doctor Pamela Machado | ICMAB, CSIC
Doctor Pamela Machado | ICMAB, CSIC

The PhD thesis was supervised by Mariona Coll, from the SUMAN group, at ICMAB-CSIC.

The PhD Committee that evaluated the Thesis was formed by Dr. José Santiso López, Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia, Spain (President), Dr. Edgardo Saucedo Silva, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain (Secretary) and Dr. Íñigo Bretos Ullivarri, Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid, Spain (Vocal).

Doctor Pamela Machado PhD thesis was part of the PhD in Materials Science from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).

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Pamela Machado with the PhD committee and supervisor | ICMAB, CSIC

Why did you choose ICMAB for your PhD?

I started my journey at ICMAB with my bachelor final project, where I really enjoyed working with Dr. Mariona Coll. I have always been interested on the material science for energy applications, so when she offered me the opportunity to continue with a PhD it sounded like the best option for me.

How would you explain your research to a non-scientific audience?

Currently, there is a need to continue studying strategies to further improve the efficiencies of conventional solar cells. The use of stable and abundant materials that can be obtained through economical methodologies is highly appealing. There is a family of oxides called perovskite oxides that, due to their particular structure, offer great opportunities. In these materials, performing small changes in the composition allows to modify their physical properties and then, their functionalities, tailoring them to specific needs (a le carte). However, accomplishing this task is not simple and requires extensive process optimization.

In this PhD thesis, we have investigated how to make these compositional changes to adapt the properties of these materials to improved light absorption or improved (ferro)electric properties. Additionally, we have explored how to integrate them into a device, where evaluating the compatibility of each component is very important. All this work has been carried out prioritizing the use of versatile and cost-effective techniques, envisioning a process that could potentially be scalable in the future.

What are the main applications of your research? Could you give us an example?

Energy and electronic applications. For instance, they could be applied in solar cells (after further research) or sensors.

From the lessons learnt here, which one do you value the most?

Science is not a straightforward path, so be persistent and extract the best from each failure. Using it as a learning experience will help you to continue towards your goal.

What will you miss the most from ICMAB?

The friendly atmosphere and the flexible working hours.

How do you think this experience will contribute to your training and to your future?

I think it will impact highly positively.I feel that I have learned a lot during my thesis: to be autonomous, critical, and have a multidisciplinary perspective.

What are your plans once you finish your PhD? 

I want to take some months off to gain perspective and decide if I want to continue my career in academy or switch to industry instead.

What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD, that you can recommend to the ones who are starting?

Be very organized from the begining: Yes, at the end of this journey you will need the data of this "not so important" experiment that you performed three years ago.

Why did you become a scientist? Who have been your role models?

I don't really have role models. Somehow I feel that the way academic education is designed has been directing me towards this path (which I enjoy a lot!) because I have always been curious and dedicated. However, I do believe it is necessary to open up perspectives and imagine alternative options from the ones that have been set for us since our childhood based on certain qualities we possess.

Let us know who are your favourite scientists (man and woman). Why?

I don't have favourite scientists. I believe that all the great scientists throughout history (and the present) have made essential contributions to shape science as we know it today and to ensure its continued advancement. To a large extent, they have dedicated their lives to this cause, and therefore, I consider them all admirable.

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Pamela Machado with her supervisor Mariona Coll (SUMAN group) | ICMAB, CSIC

Congratulations, Doctor Pamela Machado!

More information and photos

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