Photochemistry: Hands on training in molecular spectroscopy

The Project

In the last decades, photochemistry has evolved up to reach significant and important relevance in sustainable energy, industrial and medical applications. The discovery of new appeling materials embraces interdisciplinary cooperation of many fields of science and technology.

Our research project will focus on the interactions of light with molecular compounds. For example, the study of chemical processes that occur because of the absorption of light.

Photochemical systems that use sunlight to drive important chemical reactions or to generate electricity is of great interest nowadays. Photochemistry is also a key discipline for the characterization of materials and the comprehension of chemistry reactions. To describe these processes, we will work on the concepts of molecular orbitals and energy bands, as well as the interaction of light with matter to explain the photoinduced processes that are generated. In addition, a deep understanding of the behavior of materials requires a good knowledge of scientific instrumentation: light sources, photodetectors and spectroscopy configuration for the detection of absorption and emission will be described.

In order to consolidate what has been learned, participants will design low-cost spectroscopy setups for the characterization of various molecular compounds. This requires hands-on practice in optoelectronics and microcontroller programming.

With this project, students with talent and interested in chemistry will enhance their enthusiasm for science and research in a multidisciplinary environment, broadening their knowledge through direct contact with experimentation, the latest technologies and innovative methods in the field.

Matching profiles

This project is addressed to students interested in Chemistry, Physics or Engineering.

Learning objectives
  • To discover Photophysics, Optoelectronics and Spectroscopy.
  • To learn about automation, research methodologies in experimental chemistry.
  • To familiarize with how to work in a laboratory.
  • To introduce to green and sustainable chemistry.
Required materials

Laptop, Lab coat

Coordinators of the project

Laura Hernández Eguía

  • Bachelor Degree in Chemistry from the University of Vigo in 2006.
  • She studied a Master in Nanoscience and Nonatechnology at University Rovira i Virgili, and developed her PhD thesis in Supramolecular Chemistry at ICIQ in 2010.
  • In 2011 she was involved in a research project in Geneva (Switzerland) as postdoctoral researcher and until 2013 she was working as researcher in biosensors at the Electronic Engineering Department of the URV.
  • For more than four years she was working as freelance author and editor of scientific educative contents for different editorial companies.
  • In 2018 she came back to ICIQ to work as a Solid State Chemistry researcher, participating in projects with pharmaceutical companies
  • Since 2021 she is the researcher-manager in charge of ICIQ’s scientific outreach programme.
  • She is interested in science education, and research in supramolecular chemistry, catalysis and renewable energies.



Associated researchers

Javier Pérez Hernández

  • Bachelor Degree in Electronic Engineering  at University of Valencia (2002)
  • Degree in Telecommunications Engineering at Polytechnic University of Valencia (1998).
  • He was worked as electronic engineer at the Institute of Electrical Technology in Valencia (2002-2006) developing prototypes based on computer vision, embedded light control systems and temperature controllers.
  • Unit Manager at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia, D
  • Doctoral thesis in fiber optics molecular probes in the group of Prof. Emilio Palomares.
  • His work is focused on the design and development of spectroscopic techniques such as charge extraction, transient absorption and quantum efficiency, techniques applied to solar cell and photocatalysis characterization.

Eduardo Escudero-Adán

  • Degree in physics at University of Salamanca.
  • He completed a Master in Crystallography and crystallization, with a master thesis in characterization of chiral molecules.
  • He worked at the diffraction unit at Bayer (Germany).
  • PhD in high resolution X-ray diffraction.
  • Scientific Advisor at the Diffraction Unit at ICIQ.
  • Manager of the Characterization Technologies Department at ICIQ.
Joan Guillem Mayans Peñarrubia - ICIQ

Joan Guillem Mayans Peñarrubia

  • He got the bachelor degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the universities of Valencia (Spain) and Strasbourg (France), respectively.
  • He studied the Master of Molecular and Supramolecular Chemistry from the University of Strasbourg and then move to ICIQ (Tarragona, Spain) to undergo his PhD in gold catalysis (2016-2021).
  • In 2021, he joined the Scientific Outreach Department at Univeristat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain) and shortly after he enrolled ICIQ as a science disseminator.
  • To date, he is working in the Scientific Education and Outreach unit at ICIQ and he is interested in bringing science closer to the general public while arousing passions.
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The Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) started its research activities in 2014.