Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Supervisor name and surname:

Xavier Mateos

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Francesc Díaz

Co-supervisor email:

Co-supervisor institution:


Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Nanoscience, Materials and Chemical Engineering

Title of the research project:

Efficient H2 production in microfluidic platforms and sensing based on optical fibers

Description of the research project:

Environmental problems are forcing the introduction of new technologies that are capable of producing and using energy more efficiently and cleanly. Within the group of alternative energy systems, hydrogen (H2) stands out because it is an efficient and clean fuel. The growing demand to use H2 as a sustainable source of energy in the coming years prompts the need to develop new technologies for boosting the production efficiency as well as for its rapid detection in concentrations close to the lower explosive limit (4% H2).
Water electrolysis is the most eco-friend way of H2 production. The H2 generation in microsystems, such as microreactors or microelectrolitic cells is of great interest to boost the efficiency of H2 production as compared to bulky tank production.
Palladium alloys are commonly used as a selective layer of H2 due to the excellent property of this metal to absorb large amounts of this gas. These materials are combined with some electronic devices for sensing, although they present problems in terms of stability and selectivity when exposed for long periods to H2.
The field of H2 sensors based on optical fibers includes systems such as Bragg gratings, micromirrors, plasmon resonance effects, interaction with the evanescent field, among others, having the advantage of being applied in areas of difficult access and / or environmental conditions.
To increase the efficiency for H2 production and to have a reliable, portable, robust and sensitive H2 optical sensor would definitely give answer to the needs of the industry for the next years.
This project aims to design, manufacture, characterize and test a microelectrolytic cell to enhance the H2 production efficiency. This will be accomplished by means of microfluidic platforms. Besides, the development of an optical H2 sensor is also aimed. The H2 optical sensor will use fiber optics for high stability, selectivity, and robustness.

Highly desirable attributes of the ideal candidate

* Demonstrated previous experience in one or more of the following topics: sustainability, photonics as well as experience in design and fabrication or have worked with photonic devices, especially optical fibers
* Language skills: English
Ethics: This project doesn’t involve ethical aspects

Workplace Location: Campus Sescelades, Tarragona

Gross anual salary:

27103.20 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Earliest expected start date:

14 February 2022

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413