Atomic Force Microscopy and Related Techniques Lab

Are you interested in exploring Nature at its fundamental level? Solve unknown mysteries of physics or understand how biology works at the nanoscale? Develop highly complex instrumentation? Would you like to work with young, dynamic and professional colleagues? If you answered yes to the questions above we are extremely interested in working/collaborating with you. And if you are a bachelor or master student we will be very happy to talk to you and show you our projects. You can learn about each of our projects in detail here. We are currently looking for students to develop research projects on 4 different main areas:

Investigation of nanoscale properties using Force Feedback Microscopy

Have you ever wondered why it is easier to build sandcastles with wet sand than with dry sand? Or why some materials make good lubricants? These and other mysteries can only be understood by studying the interactions between objects at the nanoscale, and many remain far from being completely understood. We are looking for highly motivated students (with a Physics or Physics Engineering background) that can help figure out some of the remaining questions about nanoscale water or the origins of riction, using our microscopy technique.

Development of instrumentation for Atomic Force Microscopy

The development of an instrument so complex as an AFM requires expertise in a wide array of engineering disciplines, including structural and mechanical design of hardware, development of software and measurement tools, and electronics or control. We are looking for students (with a Physics or Physics Engineering background) interested in developing instrumentation for atomic force microscopes, including many of its subsystems such as environmental control, electrical circuits and software design.

Study of mechanical properties of soft systems using Atomic Force Microscopy

The control of mechanical properties of materials is highly relevant for a huge number of applications, and an increasing number of biological mechanisms have been linked to cellular mechanics. AFM, and more exactly our FFM technique, can probe directly the elasticity of different materials, along with multiple other surface properties. One of the lab's goals is to study these properties in several systems, including those of biological origin (yeast, bacteria, pollen tubes) and we are looking for students interested in developing new and innovative protocols to do it. They should have a strong background in Physics or Physics Engineering.

Study of protein-protein interactions using AFM

Many molecular processes within a cell are carried out by molecular machines that are built from a large number of protein components organized by their protein-protein interactions. Aberrant protein interactions are the basis of multiple diseases, including cystic fibrosis or Alzheimer disease. With AFM it is possible to study protein–protein interactions immobilizing one of the proteins of interest at the AFM tip and the other on the substrate. One of the lab's goals is to study these interactions in the proteins related with Alzheimer and cystic fibrosis diseases and we are looking for students interested in physics applied to medicine research. They should have a strong background in Physics or Physics Engineering.

All of these areas can be addressed as a master thesis or short-term projects in which you can enroll, for instance, as summer internship. These are intended to be simple but high impact experiments, that can help you kick-start your career in science. If you want to join our lab but want to know more about our projects, or even contribute with some of your own ideas, we are more than happy to hear from you! Contact us via email: