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ES29_MIMASPEC_Fernando Plazaola Muguruza

Fernando Plazaola

94 601 2664

Group description

Consolidated Research Group of type A by the Basque Government with reference IT1005-16 made up of personnel from the Departments of Electricity and Electronics and Physics of the Faculty of Science and Technology. The group is the fusion of two previous groups, the nuclear techniques laboratory and the laboratory of optics.

The nuclear techniques laboratory was built between Prof. Plazaola and Prof. Garitaonandia, in it there are unique and singular spectroscopies in the Basque Country like Mössbauer and Positron Annihilation spectroscopies (PAS), with several chains each one. The researches of this laboratory entered the magnetic materials field after building the first Mössbauer spectrometer of the UPV/EHU, very useful for the study of magnetic materials. After, they entered the field of neutron diffusion and synchroton radiation, carrying multiple experiments at the ILL in Grenoble and at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Liverpool. At the same time, Prof. Plazaola introduced himself to studying  from the theoretical point of view  PAS techniques with the group of Prof. de Diego of UCM, thanks to several stays at Helsinki University of Technology, which allowed him to enter the field of electronic/positronic calculations (with Prof. Puska). The incursion helped the group both to train in the positron calculations, fundamental for the interpretation of PAS experimental results, and enter the field of electronic calculations, which allowed to more effectively study the Fe-Al base magnetic intermetallics, that have been the most studied magnetic materials by the group.

The laboratory of optics leaded by prof. García of the UPV/EHU had photoluminescence equipment, complementary to PAS in the study of semiconductors and it gave the way to start the collaboration. Indeed, that was the time to built PAS equipment.

Prof. Plazaola together with Prof. Garitaonandia, expert in Mössbauer, built the nuclear techniques laboratory of the UPV/EHU, which has several Mössbauer and positron annihilation spectroscopy chains. Since then, the research group that leads Prof. Plazaola, along with Profs. Garcia and Garitaonandia, was introduced in other fields than the traditional ones, without leaving aside the latter: magnetic and nobel metal nanoparticles (with Prof. Suzuki), free volumes and their influence on both materials polymeric (with Prof. Lambri, Univ. of Rosario, Argentina), as in biomaterials (with Prof. Contera, Univ of Oxford). Likewise, with different groups of the UPV/EHU, medical doctors and a COST Action, they are after hyperthermia mediated with magnetic nanoparticles as a therapeutic technique. On the other hand, and in collaboration with an UPNA group, they went from the intermetallic ones (without forgetting these) to the magnetic memory materials. Between others, the group has directed 2 thesis in soft magnetic nanostructurated materials, 3 in intermetallic, 1 in compound semiconductors, 1 in positronic calculations, 2 in magnetic nanoparticles, 2 in instrumentation for magnetic hyperthermia, 1 in application of positron spectroscopy in biomedicine and 2 in ferromagnetic alloys with ferromagnetic shape memory. They are currently making very noteworthy contributions in the fields of applications of magnetic nanoparticles, in applications in biomedicine and in alloys with ferromagnetic shape memory. Prof. Plazaola is the Spanish representative of  IBAME (International Board on the Applications of the Mössbauer Effect).


  • Mössbauer Spectroscopy
  • Positron Annihilation spectroscopies
  • Magnetic Hyperthermia
  • Magnetic materials
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • Shape memory alloys
  • Magnetostructural phase transitions
  • Martensitic transformation
  • Energy harvesting
  • Clean and efficient cooling

Team Description

  • Fernando Plazaola Muguruza (Principal Investigator)

    ORCID: 0000-0002-0081-8131

  • José Angel Garcia Martinez (Co-Principal Investigator)

  • José Javier Saiz Garitaonandia (Co-Principal Investigator)

    ORCID: 0000-0002-0957-5041

  • Iraultza Unzueta Solozabal (Research staff)

  • Irati Rodriguez Arrizabalaga (Research staff)

  • Idoia Castellanos Rubio (Research staff)



    Pl: F. Plazaola

    Funding Agency*: NAT

    Ongoing: yes

    Project reference: RTI2018-094683-B-C55


    Pl: F. Plazaola

    Funding Agency*: NAT

    Ongoing: no

    Project reference: MAT2015

  • International Network on Advanced High Energy Permanent Magnets INAsPEM

    Pl: J.J,S. Garitaonandia

    Funding Agency*: INT

    Ongoing: no

    Project reference: H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015 European Commission

  • Multifuntional Nanoparticles for Magnetic Hyperthermia and Indirect Radiation Therapy. RADIOMAG

    Pl: F. Plazaola

    Funding Agency*: INT

    Ongoing: no

    Project reference: COST Action TD1402, Comisión Europea

  • Subvención general a grupos consolidados del Gobierno Vasco

    Pl: F. Plazaola

    Funding Agency*: RE

    Ongoing: yes

    Project reference: IT1005-16

* INT - International EU - European NAT - National RE - Regional


  • J.S. Garitaonandia, M. Insausti, E. Goikolea, M. Suzuki, J.D. Cashion, N. Kawamura, H. Ohsawa, I. Gil de Muro, K. Suzuki, F. Plazaola, T. Rojo, Chemically induced permanent magnetism in Au, Ag, and Cu nanoparticles: Localization of the magnetism by element selective techniques, Nanoletters, 2008

  • Elio Alberto Périgo, Gauvin Hemery, Olivier Sandre, Daniel Ortega, Eneko Garaio, Fernando Plazaola, Francisco Jose Teran, Fundamentals and advances in magnetic hyperthermia, Applied Physics Reviews, 2015

  • Gauvin Hemery, Anthony C. Keyes Jr., Eneko Garaio, Irati Rodrigo, Jose Angel Garcia, Fernando Plazaola, Elisabeth Garanger, Olivier Sandre, Tuning sizes, morphologies, and magnetic properties of mono- vs. multi-core iron oxide nanoparticles through the controlled addition of water in the polyol synthesis, Inorganic Chemistry, 2017

  • I. Unzueta, J. Lopez-García, V. Sanchez-Alarcos, V. Recarte, J. I. Perez-Landazabal, J. A. Rodríguez-Velamazán, J. S. Garitaonandia, J. A. García and F. Plazaola, 119Sn Mossbauer spectroscopy for assessing the local stress and defect state towards the tuning of Ni-Mn-Sn alloys, Appl. Phys. Letters, 2017

  • I. Unzueta, D. Alonso de R-Lorente, E. Cesari, V. Sánchez-Alarcos, V. Recarte, J. I. Pérez-Landazábal, J. A. García and F. Plazaola, Experimental Observation of Vacancy-assisted Martensitic Transformation Shift in Ni-Fe-Ga Alloys, Physical Review Letters, 2019

Research Lines


  • The Group has been working successfully in the study of FeAl-based intermetallic materials during the last years. The research carried out on the relationship between the structure and the magnetism of these materials by means of different experimental techniques and self-consistent electronic theoretical calculations, have produced, apart from international publications, 3 doctoral theses. At present and within this line of research we have introduced the study of magnetic shape memory alloys (MSMA). These materials have thermoelastic martensitic transformation and are also ferromagnetic. When the structural transformation takes place at temperatures below the Curie temperature, the application of an external magnetic field in the low-temperature structural phase can induce a redistribution of crystalline domains, and even martensitic transformation, causing a large macroscopic deformation. This magneto-mechanical phenomenon known as magnetic shape memory has aroused great interest in these types of materials in recent years since they open the door to a new type of (multifunctional) magnetic controllers-actuators capable of working at high frequencies and without variation of external temperature.

  • This line of research is related to a certain extent with the previous one, because also in this case what made us enter this field were the FeAl base alloys (intermetallic alluminides). In particular, magnetic inhomogeneities at the nanoscopic level [Nogues et al. PRB74 (2006) 024407; Martin Rodriguez et al. PRB71 (2005) 212408; M.M. Amado et al. J. Alloys & Compounds 423 (2006) 84].
  • We can place the work carried out by the group in this line of research in the field of magnetic nanoparticles and their applications in magnetic hyperthermia. This is a continuous activity that the research group carries out together with a multidisciplinary team made up of researchers from the BIO foundation (Hospital Galdakao-Usansolo), and research groups from the UPV/EHU of the Faculties of Science and Technology and Medicine. The main objective has been and is the development of a therapeutic modality to provoke the selective thermal ablation of tumor tissue in colorectal cancer, using magnetic nanoparticles when exposed to an external radiofrequency inductor. In this context, it is intended that this therapy can be exploitable at an industrial level and applied in the treatment of human neoplassical pathology. So far, several objectives have been achieved. Among them the design and manufacture of several magnetic applicators for hyperthermia both in-vitro and in-vivo, obtaining hyperthermia temperatures in ex-vivo experiments in WAG rat livers infused with Fe3O4 nanoparticles. Our group is currently working on optimizing the RF inductor to reduce the heating induced by “eddy” currents while increasing the generation of temperature by the nanoparticles, and on non-invasively monitoring the local increase in temperature induced by the excitation of the nanoparticles (if a minimum is not reached, the treatment is ineffective; if a maximum is exceeded, healthy tissue can be damaged). The design and manufacture of optimum nanoparticles to produce the largest heat per gram is a very important part of the work.

Cross-border Collaboration (if any)

We have had strong  collaboration with the group leaded by Olivier Sandre form the Bordeaux university. Their addresses are LCPO, CNRS UMR 5629/Univ. Bordeaux/Bordeaux-INP, ENSCBP 16 avenue Pey Berland, 33607 Pessac,