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PhD dissertation on Statistical Mechanics of Superparamagnetic Colloidal Dispersions Under Magnetic Fields

Last March 4th, Mr. Jordi Andreu Segura defended his paper “Statistical Mechanics of Superparamagnetic Colloidal Dispersions Under Magnetic Fields”, which was submitted to obtain a PhD degree in Materials Science at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. 

This blog has already mentioned several results of the research developed by this recent PhD and his supervisors, Dr. Jordi Faraudo and Dr. Juan Camacho. Part of Mr. Andreu’s work centers on attempting to understand the physical mechanisms behind the fast magnetic separation of magnetic colloidal particles in solution and was developed as a collaboration between the Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and SEPMAG.

The PhD project took shape in 2009, after several discussions between Dr. Camacho, Dr. Faraudo and Sepmag’s CSO Dr. Lluis Martinez, when the three realized that despite the patents and industrial applications, no good explanation of the basic mechanisms behind the behaviour of dispersions of magnetic nanoparticles existed. Therefore, they suggested a dissertation focused on developing theoretical tools on the subject, with the goal of substituting the phenomenological descriptions of the time. The subject proved to be interesting, both for Academia and the Industry. As is pointed out in the preface of the dissertation:

“Magnetic nanoparticles and their applications in a wide range of different fields have become an interesting research area from the scientific and technological points of view. This is reflected in the vast number of scientific papers in peer review journals, research groups and brand new launched companies that have appeared over the last 20 years, which have focused their attention on the development of new nanotechnological applications involving magnetic particles (see Fig. 1). The scope of these applications is rather broad, from waste-water treatment to new clinical applications and immunoassays.”

At that time, the future Dr. Andreu was selected as a post-graduate student to work on the statistical models that can explain the behaviour of magnetic beads and particles in colloidal dispersions. The Sepmag team has spent many hours in discussion with him, planning experiments that help prove their hypothesis, and also exploiting their models (see for example the video comparing homogeneous and non-homogenous magnetic separation at Sepmag’s YouTube channel).

We are quite happy to see him obtain the PhD degree he deserves. His commitment, focus, intellectual and scientific rigor, plus excellent communication skills and charming personality made us sure he would obtain it.

Unfortunately, not all of us have been able to attend the public dissertation (working worldwide has these drawbacks!). However, without exception, we would like to congratulate Jordi for his success defending the PhD and for the qualification with honours the tribunal gave him.

superparamagnetic colloidal dispersions

Lluis M. Martínez | SEPMAG Chief Scientific Officer

Founder of SEPMAG, Lluis holds a PhD in Magnetic Materials by the UAB. He has conducted research at German and Spanish academic institutions. Having worked in companies in Ireland, USA and Spain, he has more than 20 years of experience applying magnetic materials and sensors to industrial products and processes. He has filed several international patents on the field and co-authored more than 20 scientific papers, most of them on the subject of magnetic particle movement.

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