Interview with Concepció Rovira

Concepció Rovira talks to CrystEngCommunity about using crystalline conductors in medicine

20 October 2009

Concepció Rovira is a professor at the Institute Ciencia de Materiales de Barcelona (ICMAB), Spain.  Her research involves the design and synthesis of molecular and supramolecular organic materials. She is a member of the CrystEngComm  Editorial Board and was one of the guest editors of a recent themed issue in the journal on crystal enginnering in molecular magnetism.

Why did you become a scientist?

When I was at school, I liked the more scientific topics because it was easier for me to rationalize concepts than to memorise facts. To develop something from a scientific basis and understand why things happen greatly interested me from an early age.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I am working on developing molecular materials from the basic point of view, as well as for application purposes. One particular project deals with the design and synthesis of new molecules for organic field effect transistors and the understanding of the relationship between crystal structure and device performances. For application in medical and biological fields, I am working on the development of very sensitive strain sensors based on organic crystalline conductors processed as bilayer films using polymers. Other projects deal with functionalisation of different surfaces with electroactive molecules either by chemisorption or physisorbtion and the study of the resulting 2D molecular organizations as well as the switching behaviour and the conductance through the molecules.

What do you think will be the next big breakthrough in your field?

A breakthrough is always something that happens suddenly and it is not easy to predict. The understanding of crystal growth either in bulk crystals or two-dimensional surfaces can lead to the control of molecular arrangements. If we are able to control all minor details of the self-assembling of molecules, the properties of solids and surfaces will be tuned as desired and this will really be a big breakthrough.

How do you think crystal engineering will develop in the next five years?

I think that progress in the development of crystal packing prediction will help in the control of the molecular self-assembling.  Both, computation and inspiration from biological systems will be key points for this development. Bulk materials and functional surfaces with electronic magnetic and optical properties will be then addressed based in the self-assembling control.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

One rewarding aspect is to work in projects that you are designing and shaping and executing to their end and another aspect is to work with young people who always have new ideas and enthusiasm to develop the projects. It is also rewarding to meet colleagues from all over the world and see that science is unifying all of us.

What is the secret to a successful research group?

To share the knowledge and take into account all the ideas of doctors and students. It is very important to maintain enthusiasm in the projects and let people to develop their own ideas.

What advice would you give to a young scientist?

To have an open mind in order to develop work beyond their own field. It is also important to take risks in the projects and not only follow those ideas that seem to have almost 100 % of success. A scientist needs also to be patient; many times the best results appear after a dark tunnel.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Probably our work on new molecular conductors that was started in the more classical charge transfer salts and afterwards developed for Field Effect Transistors and new applications as sensors and functional surfaces.

What would you do if you weren’t a scientist?

I might have become a chef. I love to cook any kind of food and also enjoy the pleasure of eating with family and friends and the talk around a table.

What is your favourite place to be?

I like to be close to nature, either mountains or by the seaside. To be with my family is a priority.

Related Links

Concepció Rovira’s homepage Institute of Ciencia de Materiales de Barcelona, Spain

Themed issue on Crystal engineering in molecular magnetism Issue 10, 2009
17 September 2009

The four polymorphic modifications of the semiconductor dibenzo-tetrathiafulvalene
Aldo Brillante, Ivano Bilotti, Raffaele Guido Della Valle, Elisabetta Venuti, Silvia Milita, Chiara Dionigi, Francesco Borgatti, Adina Nicoleta Lazar, Fabio Biscarini, Marta Mas-Torrent, Neil S. Oxtoby, Nuria Crivillers, Jaume Veciana, Concepció Rovira, Michael Leufgen, Georg Schmidt and Laurens W. Molenkamp, CrystEngComm, 2008, 10, 1899

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)