Nanotechnology Activities in Colombia: A Perspective From the Excellence Center for Novel Materials

By Pedro Antonio Prieto

Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia

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I will present the current state of R & D in the fields of condensed matter, novel materials, and nanotechnology in Colombia. I will initially consider Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to then visualize individual developments, as well as those for the region as a whole in these fields of knowledge in each of the nations constituting the Andean Region (Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, and Colombia). Based on Science & Technology watch exercises in the countries involved, along with the Iberian American and Inter-American Science & Technology Network of Indicators. Nanotechnology activities in Colombia will be presented from the perspective of the Excellence Center for Novel Materials. The CENM ( is part of a high-priority national effort supported primarily by COLCIENCIAS and integrated by 19 recognized multidisciplinary research groups from 10 universities across the nation. Additionally, the Center receives international support from world-renowned institutes on materials research. Research work at CENM is organized around 4 Interdisciplinary Research Themes (IRTs): Advanced Coatings, Composite Materials, Nano-magnetism and Solid-State Devices, Sensors, and Mesoscopic Systems. The primary objectives at CENM center on developing basic scientific research programs to coordinate and facilitate research and education in materials science throughout the nation in materials science, physics of condensed matter, chemistry of materials, and engineering of materials to prepare scientists and engineers at the undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD levels and to provide post-doctoral studies in said areas. Furthermore, CENM will facilitate the transfer of technology developed at the Center to laboratories and Colombian industry by way of joint research and mutual support interactions to solidify inter-institutional collaboration and the study of modern materials through advanced tools at the experimental and theoretical levels. Besides solving specific research problems, this Scientific Center will address an important educational objective: that of preparing young researchers in these fields. This will be carried forth by involving undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctorate candidates in pertinent research issues.


Pedro Prieto Professor Pedro Prieto is the Director of the Excellence Center for Novel Materials in Colombia, as well as the Director of the Thin Films Group in the Department of Physics at the Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia. He holds a Physicist degree, in 1974 and a Magister Scientiae degree in Physics from Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1978, working on Silicon Oxide Thin films. He received the “Doktor der Naturwissenschaften” Dr.rer.nat from Rheinische Westfaliche Hochschule RWTH-Aachen Germany in 1982 for the doctoral thesis: ¨Neutronenkleinwinkelstreuung an Guinier - Preston - Zonen in Aluminium - Kupfer - Legierungen¨ (Small Angle Neutron Scattering on Guinier-Preston Zones in AlCu Alloys). He joined the Universidad del Valle Cali, Colombia, in 1974 and became Full Professor in the Physics Department in 1986. Presently, he leads the Thin Films Research Group, which he established in 1978. Most of Prieto’s career has been devoted to R & D of materials science and electronic devices, particularly amorphous semiconductors, solar cells, High Temperature Superconductor materials, HTC Electronic Devices and Hard Coating Materials. The Thin Film laboratory began with the study of amorphous metallic alloys and through a COLCIECIAS research project (1983-1987) with Hydrogenated Amorphous-Si thin films. Since 1989, he has been working on the development of high-temperature superconductor devices based on superconducting thin films, in Magnetic materials in PZT - ferroelectric thin films and in Hard Coating Materials. Prof. Prieto has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific publications. He is an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (1988), Guggenheim Fellow (1998) and American Physical Society Fellow (2000) “For forefront research in the Josephson Junction effect in high temperature superconductors and outstanding contribution to the development of physics in Latin America.”

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References La Red de Indicadores de Ciencia y Tecnología - Iberoamericana (RICYT)

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  • Pedro Antonio Prieto (2010), "Nanotechnology Activities in Colombia: A Perspective From the Excellence Center for Novel Materials,"

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