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I am a physical chemist investigating surface dynamics in electrochemical and photochemical reactions in situ, using a high level of specialization in spectroscopies and nonlinear optics. I have become an expert in ultrafast lasers by setting up three ultrafast laser spectroscopy laboratories, from an empty lab to a fully operating system. Since 2022, I have been a María Zambrano research fellow to carry out my own project: “Dynamics of electrical double layer adsorption in energy storage systems” in collaboration with Prof. Climent at the Surface Electrochemistry group at the University of Alicante (UA). I want to understand the physical-chemical mechanism underlying charge storage in supercapacitors using novel interrogation methods with microsecond-time and molecular-sensitivity resolution, which has never been applied to the energy storage field.

Before coming to the UA, in 2017 I joined Prof. Braunschweig’s group as a postdoctoral researcher at the WWU in Germany, to study the structure-property relation in foams from a microscopic to a macroscopic scale, using vibrational sum-frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy in combination rheology measurements. I built the new SFG spectrometer, from ordering all the equipment to setting up the optical table and its operation. We showed that SFG can be used as a quantitative method to evaluate the double-layer potential at liquid/gas interfaces; while so far only the thin-film pressure balance technique is commonly accepted and it is constrained by the stability of the thin film. In addition, we investigated the CO2 electroreduction mediated by ionic liquids and single-crystal electrodes using SFG, besides studying soft matter interfaces such as proteins, surfactants and photo-switchable molecules. These light-sensitive configuration molecules are a new tool to manipulate superstructures at interfaces by light-stimulus.

At the UIUC, in 2012, I joined an interdisciplinary project with Prof. Dlott, funded by the US Department of Energy in collaboration with the Dioxide Materials Co. I was the strongest candidate with the level of experience required in ultrafast lasers and surface science to study the electrochemical processes using vibrational SFG. We demonstrated how the structural transition of the ionic liquid at the electrode catalyzed the CO2 at lower overpotential. During these five years, including maternity leave, I rebuilt the SFG spectrometer due to a laser upgrade, bringing a new perspective to the characterization of electrochemical interfaces, investigating the formation of the solid electrolyte interface in Li-ion batteries and designing a new spectroelectrochemical cell for in situ gas-flow electrochemical measurements (patent pending).

During my PhD, under the direction of Dr. Arnolds at the Surface Science Research Center at the UoL, I studied the role of plasmons in photochemical reactions with a broad range of techniques, including surface science characterization, linear and nonlinear spectroscopy, and finite element calculations. My work was the first to describe the photo-desorption of NO mediated by the Cu “hot-holes” being featured in the J. Chem. Phys. Editor’s choice 2011. My thesis was awarded the Woodruff Thesis Prize 2011. For my M.Sc. in Physics at UAM, I fabricated pyrite´s NPs to apply in photovoltaic cells in the Prof. Jimenez´s group.

Throughout my multidisciplinary career, I have learned to be a dynamic researcher, exploring new perspectives and pursuing innovating projects. My publications are on a range of interdisciplinary topics, such as ultrafast spectroscopy, surface science, electrochemistry and soft matter.