Welcome to the GEFRO group

Our group in Electrochemistry, Photochemistry and Organic Reactivity (GEFRO) from the Department of Chemistry of the UAB aims at studying and developing new processes and materials by means of photo- and electrochemical technologies. Based on the multidisciplinary background of our research team, we investigate a variety of processes and materials ranging from the electrosynthesis of organic compounds and the electroactivation of CO2 to the sustainable synthesis and processing of polymers as well as the preparation and characterization of smart molecules and (nano)materials. A number of different equipments and facilities are available in our laboratories to carry out this research, which is supported by both public and private funding.


November 9th, 2023

Dr. Rosa Mª Sebastián at Conference Global Five

Dr. Rosa Mª Sebastián, vice-rector of Innovation, Transfer and Entrepreneurship at the UAB and director of the UAB Research Park, was invited to participate in the Conference 3rd Global Five on “The Economic Empowerement of Migrant Women as a Key Factor for Gender Equality”, which took place at the UPF Barcelona School of Management in November 8th and 9th. There Dr. Rosa Mª Sebastián contributed to a round table on “Testimonies of Women on Gender Equality”, where she shared her experience on overcoming inequalities on academia.

November 7th, 2023

Kick-off meeting of Confeti

This week we celebrated the kick-off meeting of Confeti at UAB, an EIC Pathfinder Challenges project recently funded. Through the combined effort of an international consortium led by Dr. Gonzalo Guirado, Confeti aims at developing a lab-scale validated autonomous technology to capture and photo-electrochemically convert CO2 and N2 directly from air or flue gases to urea, which will be produced and delivered in situ in the agricultural fields. To start the project, researchers from all the partners of the consortium gathered together at UAB campus in November 7th and 8th (UAB, CSIC-IMB, CNRS, Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, Universiteit Antwerpen, Universitá di Pisa, CIEMAT, Iowa State University and Arkyne Technologies SL).

October 27th, 2023

Congratulations Dr. Jaume Otaegui!

Today Jaume Otaegui has presented his Doctoral Thesis entitled “New optical systems based on organic phase change materials: from fluorochromic inks and sensors to smart windows“. The Thesis was conducted within the UAB Doctoral Program in Chemistry and supervised by Dr. Jordi Hernando in our group and Dr. Claudio Roscini from Nanosfun (ICN2-BIST). The Thesis Committee, formed by Dr. Cristina Martín-Álvarez (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha), Dr. Pedro M. R. Paulo (Universidade de Lisboa) and Prof. Kasper Moth-Poulsen (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), were deeply impressed by Jaume’s defense of his work on the use of phase change materials as stimuli-responsive building blocks for the preparation of smart optical systems. All hail Dr. Otaegui, the new Lord of the Switch!

October 17th, 2023

GEFRO at the Innovation Fair at UAB

Today Dr. Gonzalo Guirado and Dr. Jordi Hernando have been representing our group at the first edition of the Innovation Fair at UAB. There we could attend some inspiring talks and round tables about knowledge transfer and innovation as well as matchmake with other groups and companies. One of the companies present at the fair was Distinkt, a spin-off recently launched by GEFRO and Nanosfun (ICN2-BIST) researchers to apply nanotechnology to security inks.

May 31st, 2023

Silvia Mena’s PhD thesis recognized with the “Antonio Aldaz” prize

Silvia Mena‘s PhD thesis, entitled “Detection, capture, activation and valorization of CO2 in green solvents via electrochemically-activated processes” and conducted in our group under the supervision of Dr. Gonzalo Guirado, has been recognized with the VIIIth “Antonio Aldaz” award for the best PhD thesis in Electrochemistry for year 2021. This is a prize awarded yearly by the group in Electrochemistry from the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry. Congrats, Silvia!

May 24th, 2023

Arnau Marco’s paper on CO2 absorption and optical detection is now online in Frontiers in Chemistry

Arnau Marco‘s first-author publication is now online in Frontiers in Chemistry. In this work we report the preparation of spiropyran-functionalized hydrogels that undergo selective, reversible and quantifiable color changes upon CO2 absorption, which can be reverted upon irradiation with visible light. This makes our spiropyran-based chromic hydrogels promising systems for the colorimetric monitorization of carbon dioxide in a diversity of applications. Great work, Arnau!

April 28th, 2023


This week our PhD students Joel Cejas, Massimo Petriccone and Anastasiia Sherstiuk together with Prof. Rosa Mª Sebastián and Dr. Jordi Hernando attended the International School on Innovations in Homogeneous and Supported Homogeneous Catalys (ISI HSHC) in Bucharest (Romania). ISI HSHC was organized within the training activities of our European ITN project Coordination Chemistry Inspires Molecular Catalysis (CCIMC). Joel, Massimo and Anastasiia actively participated in the “My thesis in 180 s” and poster sessions of the school, while Jordi gave a lecture on photoswitchable catalysts.

April 21th, 2023

Prof. Scott K. Shaw visits UAB and GEFRO

Prof. Scott K. Shaw from Iowa University (USA) visited today our group and the Department of Chemistry at UAB upon the invitation of Dr. Silvia Mena and Dr. Gonzalo Guirado. Scott delivered an inspiring lecture entitled “Measuring Molecules at Interfaces: Better than a Needle in a Haystack”, where he discussed some of latest results from his group on the study of molecular layers on surfaces. Thank you very much for coming, Scott!

March 20th, 2023

Jaume Otaegui’s paper on smart windows is now online in Chemical Engineering Journal

Jaume Otaegui‘s first-author publication is now online in Chemical Engineering Journal. In collaboration with Nanosfun (ICN2-BIST), in this work we describe a novel methodology for the preparation of smart windows based on the use of paraffin-polymer nanocomposites that show large modulation of light transparency upon thermal, photothermal and electrothermal heating. As a result, these materials exhibit efficient regulation of solar heating indoors for different weather conditions. This, in combination with their low cost, facile fabrication, ample tunability and high photostability and flexibility, makes our technology very appealing for the smart glass market. Nice work, Jaume!

March 1st, 2023

Welcome back Marc Villabona!

Today Dr. Marc Villabona is starting in our group as a post-doctoral researcher to work on the valorization project of a novel strategy developed by GEFRO and Nanosfun (ICN2-BIST) for the fabrication of smart windows (project PDC2022-133368-I00). Marc got his PhD degree in Chemistry in 2021 in our group under the supervision of Dr. Gonzalo Guirado and Dr. Jordi Hernando. So, welcome back Marc!

February 28th, 2023

GEFRO at 4YFN 2023

This week some of the members of our group have attended 4YFN 2023, a start-up event of the Mobile World Congress (MWC-GSMA) held in Barcelona. Together with the company’s CTO Dr. Àlex Julià-López, Dr. Jordi Hernando has been representing Distinkt, a spin-off recently launched by GEFRO and Nanosfun (ICN2-BIST) researchers to apply nanotechnology to security inks. Ferran Crugeira, a joint industrial PhD student in our group, Nanosfun (ICN2-BIST) and the company ColorSensing, has been presenting the work he does on the development of smart inks for food packaging. And of course, Prof. Rosa Mª Sebastián, UAB Vice-Rector of Innovation, Transfer and Entrepreneurship, has also been there!

February 27th, 2023

Congratulations Dr. Kevin Reyes!

Today Kevin Reyes has presented his Doctoral Thesis entitled “Photothermal effects of benzoxazines and polybenzoxazines. Applications“. The Thesis was conducted within the UAB Doctoral Program in Chemistry and supervised by Prof. Rosa Mª Sebastián in our group. The Thesis Committee, formed by Dr. Raquel Andreu (Universidad de Zaragoza), Prof. Daniel Ruiz-Molina (ICN2-BIST) and Dr. Elisabeth Torres (Berry Global, Inc.), were impressed by Kevin’s developments on the use of the photothermal properties of benzoxazines and polybenzoxazines in multiple applications. Good work, Kevin!

February 24th, 2023

Congratulations Dr. Amparo Ferrer!

Congratulations, Amparo!! Dr. Amparo Ferrer successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “Smart Materials for Bacterial Detection Based on Electrochromic Molecules”. The Thesis was conducted within the Doctoral Program in Electrochemistry. Science and Technology and supervised by Dr. Xavi Muñoz-Berbel and Dr. Gonzalo Guirado.

February 17th, 2023

GEFRO’s research at CIQSO

Today Dr. Jordi Hernando was invited to give a lecture at the Center for Research in Sustainable Chemistry (CIQSO) from Universidad de Huelva (Spain). Through his lecture, entitled “Controlling (bio)chemical interactions and reactivity with molecular photoswitches“, Jordi presented some of the latest results of our group in the field of light-controlled reactivity with molecular photoswitches.

February 1st, 2023

GEFRO has a new website

It took us a while, but we finally have a brand new website for our group. Check it out!