Silvia Ahualli

I received my PhD degree from the University of Granada, in 2008. Financial support for these studies was made possible thanks to an “FPU grant” from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. My main contribution at this time involved electrokinetics of concentrated dispersions of nanoparticles in aqueous medium. At the end of this period I had 9 published articles in journals of the first and second quartile. I also tried to keep an eye on technology transfer: I am co-author of several patent applications.

The electrokinetics of coated polymer particles or “soft particles” was a problem I solved for the first time in the case of concentrated systems. The published work coming from this study has 39 citations, including several from the most relevant researchers in the field, an invited talk and two book chapters. This approach allowed the international collaboration with several research groups and it led to 10 publications in journals of the first quartile.

I was the co-advisor of a Ph.D thesis dealing with electrokinetics of non-spherical particles concluded in 2016 and also I supervised a master’s thesis. My Postdoctoral stay at the University of Graz, under the supervision of Prof. Otto Glatter, a recognized expert in Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS), was extremely useful. I had the opportunity to learn the methodology established for the investigation of concentrated, interacting colloidal systems and complex fluids: experimental techniques of small-angle X-ray scattering and dynamic light scattering. I was in charge of a new project, where I supervised a Ph.D. student.

I joined the University of Jaén in a coordinated research project regarding the study of thermo-responsive microgels by means of Monte Carlo simulations. This is a field, highly linked to soft particles, which has gained considerable interest for its potential applications in areas of biotechnology, such as drug delivery. Eight publications derived from this work in journals of the first quartile or decile and the collaboration is still running.

I later joined the research group in Granada in a very innovative project financed by EU in the VII FP. The project, denominated CAPMIX, is a direct application of the properties of electrical double layers, the central line of my research: the expansion of the double layer upon exchanging salt and fresh solutions allows obtaining a certain amount of energy. My contribution to the project was very intense, since my background made it possible the elaboration of models for the processes involved and their optimization. Related to this subject, I have a dozen papers published in leading journals in Environmental Science and Energy.

At the end of this period, I proposed a new original project, including both blue energy and capacitive desalination. I got funding from the University of Granada for the next 5 years and I must lead the investigation, my salary being linked to results in the project. The international relevance of my research is demonstrated by the opportunity to be invited as Editorial Board Member of Scientific Reports, a journal from Nature (The 2016 Impact Factor for Scientific Reports is 4.259). Also, I was invited to write a book in the Interface Science and Technology Series from Elsevier Publishing group, about Charge and Energy Storage in Electrical Double Layers.

Indicators of scientific activity:

  • H index: 17

  • Total citations: 819

  • Total number of publications: 44