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In its 85-year story, the mission of our institute has been to carry out excellence research in fundamental and applied physical chemistry, contributing to the scientific training of several generations of researchers at the highest level. Our vision is to be an international reference in multidisciplinary research focused on the resolution of the present challenges of our society in the fields of health, biotechnology, new materials, and environment.


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June 2018
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The first edition of the Ultrafast Science and Technology Spain meeting (USTS2015) will take place in the Main Campus of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid, in November 24th and 25th, 2015. Oral Sessions will be celebrated in the Instituto de Quimica Fisica Rocasolano. The Meeting has been promoted by the Grupo Especializado de Láseres Ultrarrápidos (GELUR) of the RSEF.

The scope of this Meeting is broad and will cover topics including ultrafast laser development, extreme light, materials processing, femtosecond laser spectroscopy and dynamics, nonlinear optical phenomena, ultrafast processes in biology, femtosecond microscopy or attosecond physics.

With nearly 70 contributions and over 90 registered attendees, we expect to enjoy a successful and exciting meeting. Details can be found in


IPERIONCH-PARTHENOSThrough IQFR and CENIM researchers, CSIC participates in two H2020 European projects, IPERION CH and PARTHENOS.
IPERION CH (Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage), with 23 partners, offers trans‐national access to world‐class diagnostic tools and methods in one integrated platform, including large scale installations and mobile laboratories with a wide range of portable scientific instruments, and to unique and important archives of scientific data for advancing knowledge and innovation in Cultural Heritage. Further information at

PARTHENOS (Pooling Activities, Resources and Tools for Heritage E-research Networking, Optimization and Synergies), with 15 partners, is aimed to strengthening the cohesion of research in the broad sector of Linguistic Studies, Humanities, Cultural Heritage, History, Archaeology and related fields through a thematic cluster of European Research Infrastructures, integrating initiatives, e-infrastructures and other world-class infrastructures. Strong links between the activity of PARTHENOS and IPERION CH are envisaged in the parallel running of these two projects. Further information at



Bromine is an effective ozone destruction catalyst in the stratosphere, the region of the atmosphere that contains the ozone layer. Most bromine reaching the stratosphere comes from anthropogenic sources, which are controlled by the Montreal Protocol (an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer of the Earth). In addition, an uncertain amount of natural organic bromine compounds, emitted from the oceans as a result of the marine biological activity, can reach the stratosphere where it contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer. In this work, these ocean-emitted organic bromine compounds have been measured for the first time both over the East and West Pacific Ocean in profiles from the ocean surface up to the gateway of the stratosphere, at 18 km. The measurements were made aboard the NASA´s non-tripulated Global Hawk aircraft as part of the NASA´s Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX) campaigns. This study also uses a climate model to quantify the impact of the injected natural bromine on the destruction of the ozone layer. 

Maria A. Navarro, Elliot L. Atlas, Alfonso Saiz-Lopez, Xavier Rodriguez-Lloveras, Douglas E. Kinnison, Jean-Francois Lamarque, Simone Tilmes, Michal Filus, Neil R. P. Harris, Elena Meneguz, Matthew J. Ashfold, Alistair J. Manning, Carlos A. Cuevas, Sue M. Schauffler, and Valeria Donets. Airborne measurements of organic bromine compounds in the Pacific tropical tropopause layer. PNAS.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1511463112














Light is crucial for many essential biological processes such as photosynthesis, vision, circadian rhythms, etc., but can also cause photooxidative cellular damage. Living organisms sense and respond to light using photoreceptors, proteins associated with a light-sensing chromophoric cofactor such as retinal in the photoreceptors of the eye. In 2011, the research teams of Dr. S. Padmanabhan (NMR group, IQFR) and Prof. Montserrat Elías-Arnanz (Universidad of Murcia/Associated Unit to IQFR) discovered a novel photoreceptor family that uses vitamin B12 as the light-sensing molecule and revealed its mode of action in light-dependent gene regulation. These two teams, in collaboration with that of Prof. Catherine L. Drennan (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), now report the crystal structures of the B12-dependent photoreceptor in all three relevant states: in the dark (both free and bound to DNA), and after light exposure; that is, three high-resolution snapshots that reveal the light-dependent conformational changes behind its mechanism of action. These findings expand the biological role assigned to vitamin B12, and enable a framework for the development of a new class of optogenetic tools for controlled gene expression.

Marco Jost, Jésus Fernández-Zapata, María Carmen Polanco, Juan Manuel Ortiz-Guerrero, Percival Yang-Ting Chen, Gyunghoon Kang, S. Padmanabhan, Montserrat Elías-Arnanz, and Catherine L. Drennan. “Structural basis for gene regulation by a B12-dependent photoreceptor” Nature 526, 536–541 (22 October 2015) DOI: 10.1038/nature14950 (Published online September 28, 2015).



Vitamin B12 is an essential enzyme cofactor in humans and other animals. Lack of B12 causes pernicious anemia, neural dysfunction and other disorders. A new molecular function for this vitamin was discovered a few years ago (PNAS, Vol. 108, p 7565-7570, 2011) in a collaboration between Dr. S. Padmanabhan of the NMR group (IQFR) and the Molecular Genetics group of Prof. Montserrat Elías-Arnanz (Universidad of Murcia and Associated Unit to IQFR). It was shown that B12 displays a new role as a light-sensing molecule and that it is involved in light-dependent gene regulation. Now, these researchers in collaboration with others at the University of Manchester (UK), have published a detailed photochemical mechanism for this new class of photoreceptors. The work provides a mechanistic foundation for the emerging field of B12 photobiology and a basis for the development of this class of photoreceptors as optogenetic tools for controlled gene expression in cells and organisms.

Roger J. Kutta, Roger J. Kutta, Samantha J. O. Hardman, Linus O. Johannissen, Bruno Bellina, Hanan L. Messiha, Juan Manuel Ortiz-Guerrero, Montserrat Elías-Arnanz, S. Padmanabhan, Perdita Barran, Nigel S. Scrutton, Alex R. Jones. The photochemical mechanism of a B12-dependent photoreceptor protein. Nature Communications, 6,
Article number 7907, August 12, 2015. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8907.


RMN-como-herramientaWe all know someone who has undergone a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) scan. But only very few know that NMR is a powerful tool for the determination of the three-dimensional structure of molecules. This has been explained by Dr. Marta Bruix, from the Protein Structure, Dynamics and Interactions by NMR Group, on April 20th in the RTVE program “On Giant's Shoulders” (



book Boron Fifth Element-def

A collaboration between the Institute of Physical-Chemistry “Rocasolano” (CSIC) and the Institute of Molecular Sciences from the University of Valencia has led to a chapter in the book “Boron: The fifth element” (Springer Verlag), within the series “Challenges and Advances in Computational Chemistry and Physics”. Since the disclosure of borane compounds - polyhedral BxHy structures - as rocket fuel in the 1950’s, the research in this field, particularly on the synthesis of boranes and their derivatives, has grown exponentially. This multi-author book reviews the recent developments in boron chemistry, with a particular emphasis on the contribution of computational chemistry.
Josep M. Oliva, Antonio Francés-Monerris, and Daniel Roca-Sanjuán, “Quantum Chemistry of Excited States in Polyhedral Boranes”. Capítulo 4 en “Boron: The Fifth Element”, volumen 20 de la serie “Challenges and Advances in Computational Chemistry and Physics”, Editorial Springer (2016) ISBN 978-3-319-22282-0.

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