People in the spotlight -Professor Alicia Durán


Our ongoing series focussing on the careers of colleagues whose work has shaped the trajectory of the sol-gel science and technology community moves to Spain this month, as we celebrate the contributions of Professor Alicia Durán.

Born in Argentina, Alicia completed her first degree in physics at the National University of Córdoba (Argentina). To the amazement of her friends and Professors, she declined the offer of a PhD fellowship from Stanford, electing instead to complete her PhD in Physical Sciences at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Since 1978, her professional career has been developed at the Spanish Research Council’s Instituto de Ceramica y Vidrio (Institute of Ceramics and Glass) in Madrid, where she is currently the leader of the GlaSS group.

Alicia began exploring her interests in sol-gel science and technology soon after completing her PhD in 1984, when the glass community was actively seeking new processing routes to avoid the high temperatures involved in the traditional meltingquenching processes for producing glass and glass-ceramics.

Today, her interests extend from basic research to applications in the industrial glass sector and to other potential end-users of glassy materials, where her work with glassmakers such as Verallia, Vidrala, Vicrila, Saint-Gobain and Guardian provides a compelling demonstration of the possibility of combining “collaboration within competition, between companies and countries, between academia and industry, between glass producers and glass end-users”.

Alicia’s work over the past 15 years has been organised around two main themes that are connected to energy and environment research:

Glasses and glass-ceramics produced by melting – including the design and development of tight seals for metallic and ceramic components; phosphate and oxynitride phosphate glasses; controlled crystallisation processes; nanostructured glass-ceramics for photonic applications, Nd laser glasses, modification of melting processes for energy saving and lowering emissions in glass furnaces; etc.

For more information about Alicia’s career, click here