The Group of Heterogeneous Catalysis and Advanced Characterization Techniques was created in 2016 with the main goal of conducting high-quality investigations of heterogeneous catalysts under realistic conditions, mainly under operando but also in situ conditions, by combining variety of spectroscopic techniques, with special emphasis on those associated with synchrotron radiation. Dr. Ana Iglesias-Juez, founder of the group, is an expert in the field of catalyst characterization using synchrotron techniques and she has also developed kinetic studies through combined use of various techniques: EXAFS-XRD-DRIFTS and mass spectrometry with temporal resolution (milliseconds) obtaining detailed information on operating mechanism of systems. In addition, she has also experience in the synthesis and design of inorganic nano-structured materials with advanced preparation methods along with catalytic activity studies. In recent years her research has focused on systems with application in photocatalysis to carry out a variety of processes. In 2018, Dr. Juan M. Coronado joined the group, reinforcing with his experience the connection of catalytic processes with the use of solar energy and the valorization of residual biomass, searching for greater sustainability of chemical processes. Within this context, it is worth highlighting his contributions in photocatalysis, from applications using real solar radiation to investigation at more fundamental level by studying the reaction mechanism by in situ spectroscopic techniques (mainly FTIR and EPR). In addition, recently Emanuela Mastronardo joined the group as a Marie Sklowska Curie postodoctoral fellow reinforcing the international dimension of the team. Despite its still short trajectory, the group has already attained important scientific achievements and it has been awarded with several projects, including the participation in the activities of two new regional scientific networks (R&D Program from Comunidad de Madrid). This has been possible thanks to the complementarity of the experiences which has allowed to approach the study of catalytic systems with applications in the field of energy and environmental protection as diverse as: novel bio-photo-electro catalytic coatings for the hydrogen production, catalysts for N2O reduction, photocatalytic coatings with biocidal action, chemical-looping reforming of methane coupled with CO2 valorization and thermochemical cycles for energy storage, among others. In all these catalytic processes there is a common theme: use of alternative active phases to noble metals, and fine control of synthesis procedures to promote cooperative interactions in multifunctional nanostructured catalysts. On the other hand, the use of a multi-technical approach that provides relevant information to explain the catalytic operation motivates and stimulates its collaboration with various research groups for in situ and operando studies of catalytic systems. In addition, the group has collaborated with numerous private companies in the development of research projects, with the consequent transfer of know-how to the company. (Rhodia Chimie, BASF, TOYOTA, PACCAR, Haldor Topsøe, Fertiberia, Repsol…)

The group has activity in the following research areas:

  • Solar photocatalysis for fuel and chemical production.

  • Photothermal catalysis.

  • Thermochemical energy storage.

  • CO2 valorization.

  • Advanced photoactive systems with biocidal properties for the development of coatings applicable in food and hospital safety.

  • New generation of multifunctional materials for artificial photosynthesis.

  • New catalytic systems for integral reduction of high greenhouse effect N2O emissions.


Ana Iglesias Juez – Group leader

Juan M. Coronado – Staff

Emanuela Mastronardo – Staff


  • Antimicrobial surfaces with self-cleaning properties functionalized by photocatalytic ZnO electrosprayed coatings. Hazardous Materials, 2019, 665-673. L. Valenzuela, A. Iglesias-Juez, M. Faraldos, Bahamonde, Rosal, R.
  • Chemical insights on the activity of La1-xSrxFeO3 perovskites for chemical looping reforming of methane coupled with CO2-splitting, J. CO2 Utilization, 2019, 31, 16-26. Sastre, D. P. Serrano, P. Pizarro, Juan M. Coronado.
  • MnOx-support interactions in catalytic bodies for selective reduction of NO with NH3. Catal. B: Environmental, 2019, 256, 117821. A. Serrano-Lotina, M. Monte, A. Iglesias-Juez, (…), P. Ávila.
  • Solar Energy on Demand: A Review on High Temperature Thermochemical Heat Storage Systems and Materials. Rev.2019, 119(7), 4777-4816. A. J. Carrillo, J. González-Aguilar, M. Romero, J. M. Coronado.
  • Illuminating the nature and behavior of the active center: The key for photocatalytic H2 production in Co@NH2-MIL-125(Ti). Mat. Chemistry A, 2018, 3(36), 17318- 17322. A. Iglesias-Juez, S. Castellanos, M. Monte, G. Agostini, (…), J. Gascón.
  • Light and Heat Joining Forces: Methanol from Photothermal CO2 Hydrogenation, Chem, 2018, 4(7), 1490-1491. A. Iglesias-Juez, J. M. Coronado.
  • Synergy of Contact between ZnO Surface Planes and PdZn Nanostructures: Morphology and Chemical Property Effects in the Intermetallic Sites for Selective 1,3-Butadiene Hydrogenation. ACS Catalysis, 2017, 7, 796−811. E. Castillejos-López, G. Agostini, M. Di Michel, A. Iglesias-Juez, and B. Bachiller-Baeza.
  • Engineering the acidity and accessibility of the zeolite ZSM-5 for efficient bio-oil upgrading in catalytic pyrolysis of lignocellulose. Green Chemistry, 2018, 20, 3499-3511. DOI: 10.1039/C8GC01722K. H. Hernando, A. M. Hernández-Giménez, C. Ochoa-Hernández, P. CA Bruijnincx, K. Houben, M. Baldus, P. Pizarro, J. M. Coronado, J. Fermoso, J. Čejka, B. Weckhuysen, D. P Serrano.


“Procedure for obtaining Pd sulfide nanoparticles supported on carbon materials with application in selective hydrogenation of polyolefins and acetylenic hydrocarbons” Application number: P201400992. 05-12-2014. A. Guerrero Ruiz, M. Fernandez Garcia, E. Castillejos Lopez, A. Iglesias Juez, M. B. Bachiller Baeza, I. Rodriguez Ramos