Meet our Team!!

The Photochemistry Reactivity Group

The Photochemistry Reactivity Group was founded at the University of Valencia in 2013 (GIUV2013-110). However, it took its first steps in 1994 as a very small group in the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Valencia, establishing fruitful and lasting collaborations with Prof Miguel Angel Miranda (Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain) and Prof Pascual Lahuerta (University of Valencia, Spain), and later with Prof Tito Scaiano (University of Ottawa, Canada). The collaborative research focused on two different areas, specifically photochemical reactivity of organic compounds and catalysis promoted by organometallic compounds. In the area of photochemistry, the group studied the photophysical and photochemical behaviours of organic chromophores and bichromophores, energy transfer processes and inter and intra-molecular processes induced by light, as well as the application of chromophores as photocatalysts. In the area of catalysis, the group studied the selectivity of organometallic complexes, mainly dirhodium compounds, in carbene-transfer transformations.

The group gradually increased and was one of the six groups that embarked on the exciting project of forming part of the Institute of Molecular Science (ICMol) of the University of Valencia in 2000, led by Prof Eugenio Coronado. Taking into account the aims of the ICMol and the interdisciplinary expertise acquired by the group, our objectives focused on the synthesis and application of functional photoactive nanoparticles. Our first studies were performed on CdSe quantum dots and gold nanoparticles and were presented at two conferences held in 2007, the XXIII International Conference on Photochemistry (Cologne, Germany) and at the II Jornadas Ibéricas de Fotoquimica (Faro, Portugal). The photochemical size reduction of CdSe and CdSe/ZnS semiconductor nanoparticles assisted by n* aromatic ketones (Journal of the American Society 2009, 131, 892) and the photosensitised seeding of thiolate-stabilised gold nanoparticles (ChemPhysChem 2011, 12, 136) were the first publications of our group at this research stage, in which the group prepared dispersible nanoparticles in aqueous and organic media, studied their optical properties and photostability, modified their shape and size in processes induced by light in the presence or absence of a photocatalyst, and studied synergetic interactions with the organic capping at the nanoparticle surface to create novel chemical sensors.

In recent years, the group has synthesised other types of nanoparticles, such lead halide perovskites, upconversion nanoparticles (lanthanide-based nanoparticles) and gold nanoclusters of interest for biomedical applications. The group reported the first preparation of colloidal lead perovskites (Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014, 136, 850) and demonstrated that bare water-dispersible gold nanoclusters are not luminescent. Up-conversion nanoparticles are of interest for bioimaging, photodynamic therapy, controlled release of drugs, among other applications. Their most outstanding feature is related to their ability to absorb light in the near-IR (greater penetration into tissues) and emit in the visible. The synergic interaction between the nanoparticle and the functional organic capping has led to the preparation of thermo-responsive nanomaterials of interest as nano-thermometers, nanohybrids relevant in photodynamic therapy and fluorescence imaging tracking without therapy, and so on.

The current group’s target is to prepare tailor-made advanced photoactive nanosystems based on these materials and new types of photoactive nanomaterials, such as carbon-based systems, as well as engineering assembly and self-organisation of nanomaterials.


Our Team

The group is made up of a professors, senior researchers, Ph.D. and graduate students. The research in our laboratory is highly interdisciplinary. The students develop skills in nanomaterial synthesis and characterisation, engineering nanomaterial surfaces with desired ligands aimed at specific applications, and use a wide range of techniques, such as NMR, FTIR, XPS, XRD, TEM, SEM, AFM, UV-NIR absorption and luminescence (steady-state and time-resolved), fluorescence confocal microscopy as well as gaining expertise in photophysics and photochemistry.


Photochemistry Reactivity Group
Team Leader

Mª Elena Zaballos García

Senior Researcher

Raquel Galian

Senior Researcher

María González-Béjar

Senior Researcher

Soranyel Gonzalez-Carrero

Postdoctoral Researcher

Soranyel Gonzalez-Carrero received her BSc in Chemistry at the University of Los Andes in Venezuela and earned her MSc in Experimental and Industrial Organic Chemistry from the University of Valencia in Spain.

In 2018, she completed her PhD degree with a thesis entitled “Organic-inorganic lead bromide perovskites nanoparticles: synthesis, stability and photophysical properties” within the interuniversity Sustainable Chemistry program, under the supervision of Prof Julia Pérez-Prieto.

Currently, she is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Pérez-Prieto group. Her research interest lies in the design and characterization of photoactive nanoparticles and their assembly into functional materials for optoelectronic applications

Nestor L. Estebanez Bloem


Nestor Luis Estebanez Bloem received his BSc in Chemistry at the University of Los Andes in Venezuela and earned his MSc in Experimental and Industrial Organic Chemistry from the University of Valencia in Spain.

In 2016 he started his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Julia Perez Prieto and Dr. Maria González-Béjar.

His research focuses on the surface modification of upconversion nanoparticles for biological applications.

Juan Ferrera González


Juan Ferrera was born in Arucas (Las Palmas) on 8th February 1994. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry (2016) at the University of La Laguna (Tenerife).

Later on, he obtained the Sustainable Chemistry Master’s degree (2017) at the University of Valencia. At present, he is a PhD student in the PRG of the Institute of Molecular Science (ICMol) supported by an FPU grant from the Spanish government.

His research work is focused on lanthanide-based photoactive nanosystems.

Ignacio Rosa-Pardo


Ignacio Rosa-Pardo studied Biotechnology at the University of Valencia from 2013 to 2017. After passing his first year, he initiated a series of summer stays in the PRG of the Institute of Molecular Science.

While there, he became involved in several projects focused on the synthesis of different kinds of nanoparticles.

In 2018, he obtained his Master’s degree in Sustainable Chemistry which focused on perovskites for applications in photocatalysis.

In September 2018, he was awarded an FPU grant from the Spanish government and started his PhD working on the synthesis and applications of less toxic and more stable perovskite nanoparticles.

Alejandro Cortés Villena


Alejandro Cortés Villena was born in Nerja (Malaga) on September 23rd, 1995.

He earned his degree in Chemistry at the University of Almeria in 2017 and subsequently moved to Valencia to perform his interuniversity Master’s degree in Sustainable Chemistry at the Polytechnic University of Valencia during the period of 2017-2018.

After that, he joined the PRG of the Institute of Molecular Science, with a view to obtaining his Doctorate’s degree, supported by an FPI grant to perform research related to photoactive semiconductor nanomaterials.

Irene Pérez Herráez


Irene Pérez Herráez obtained her degree in Chemistry at the University of Valencia in 2017 and one year later her Master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Valencia, under the guidance of Prof Carlos Gómez, working on molecular materials based on lanthanoides and anilate type ligands.

She joined the PRG of the Institute of Molecular Science with a view to obtaining her Doctorate’s degree, supported by an FPI grant to perform research related to photoactive nanomaterials.

Nowadays, she has joined the Photochemistry Reactivity Group and is in the admission period for the doctorate program, where she intends to obtain the PhD degree.

Meanwhile she is waiting for the confirmation of acceptance on the PhD “FPI” grant from the Spanish government.

Her area of research is based on photoactive nanomaterials, specifically in their synthesis and characterization based in luminescent nanoclusters.

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