The researcher Amílcar Bedoya-Pinto, PhD in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Goettingen, has joined the Institute of Molecular Science (ICMol) of the University of Valencia as a distinguished researcher of the Plan GenT of the regional Generalitat Valenciana to start a new  research line focusing on molecular beam epitaxy of 2D materials and  heterostructures for spintronic applications.

With the support of the CIDEGenT programme, designed to attract high-level researchers for R&D&I projects in centres in the Valencian Community, Bedoya will transfer to ICMol and the University of Valencia the work he has been doing until now at the Max-Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in Halle (Germany), where he has been a research associate and has led projects on two-dimensional magnetic materials and thin films of topological semimetals.

His core research deals with the atom-by-atom, layer-by-layer fabrication of materials in an ultra-clean environment (ultra-high vacuum, UHV), followed by the investigation of the physical properties of single atomic layers and well-defined, atomically sharp heterostructures.

The UHV environment guarantees optimal conditions to observe not only material properties in the ultra-clean limit, but most importantly, emerging phenomena at interfaces of structurally or chemically dissimilar materials. In that context, molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) is the method of choice to construct layer-by-layer heterostructures on demand.

For a rigorous investigation of the materials properties, he undertakes the challenging approach to setup a “Lab in UHV”, which means to carry out all the needed physical and chemical characterization in ultra high vacuum. This grants the possibility to explore quantum materials that easily degrade or oxidize upon exposure to air, and the confidence to deal with a well-defined system from its creation to the end of the characterization chain. This ultra-clean approach also brings an experiment as close as one can get to match atomistic theoretical models.

Consolidation of his work within ICMol

Born in Lima (Peru) Amilcar Bedoya-Pinto studied physics at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and subsequently completed a master's degree at the Walther-Meissner-Institute (WMI) on the growth and characterisation of ZnO-based magnetic semiconductors. His career continued with a PhD at the University of Göttingen focused on charge and spin transport studies in GaN, culminating with the Dr. Berliner-Ungewitter prize for his doctoral thesis.

His postdoctoral work started in Spain, at the CiC nanoGUNE research centre in San Sebastian, where his research focusedon molecular spintronic devices and hybrid metal-molecule interfaces. Already at that time he started collaborating on projects with ICMol professor and director Eugenio Coronado, in the framework of a project funded by the European Union's Horizon2020 programme (HINTS).

Following his time at the Max Planck Institute, where he worked several years alongside Professor Stuart Parkin, Bedoya has now consolidated his relationship with Professor Eugenio Coronado by joining ICMol with a long-term perspective. During his career he has accumulated more than 40 high-impact scientific publications, more than 20 invited talks at the international level and is author of one book chapter. He is also a member of the editorial board of scientific journals and an expert reviewer for international funding agencies.

I am very happy to start my research work at ICMol, an institute which I had the pleasure to visit based on previous collaborations, and I was always impressed by the high quality of research and its strong multidisciplinary character.  I hope to contribute to that spirit with my expertise and opening a new research line which complements very well with the existing ones. I am sure that a plenty of opportunities for collaborations, ideas and novel proyects will develop as a result of this synergy. ICMol is an excellence cluster where I would like to consolidate my scientific career, and I am also grateful to the CIDEGenT program for offering top conditions to get settled”.