Degree: Habilitation


FCUP, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Showing 5 latest publications. Total publications: 111
Show all publications
1. Carbon-Induced Changes in the Morphology and Wetting Behavior of Ionic Liquids on the Mesoscale, Carvalho, RM; Santos, LMNBF; Bastos, M Costa, JCS in LANGMUIR, 2024, ISSN: 0743-7463,  Volume: 40, 
Article in Press,  Indexed in: crossref, scopus, unpaywall, wos  DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.4c00102 P-010-3Q5
Abstract Thin films of ionic liquids (ILs) have gained significant attention due to their unique properties and broad applications. Extensive research has focused on studying the influence of ILs' chemical composition and substrate characteristics on the structure and morphology of IL films at the nano- and mesoscopic scales. This study explores the impact of carbon-coated surfaces on the morphology and wetting behavior of a series of alkylimidazolium-based ILs. Specifically, this work investigates the effect of carbon coating on the morphology and wetting behavior of short-chain ([C(2)C(1)im][NTf2] and [C(2)C(1)im][OTf]) and long-chain ([C(8)C(1)im][NTf2] and [C(8)C(1)im][OTf]) ILs deposited on indium tin oxide (ITO), silver (Ag), and gold (Au) substrates. A reproducible vapor deposition methodology was utilized for the deposition process. High-resolution scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to analyze the morphological and structural characteristics of the substrates and obtained IL films. The experimental data revealed that the IL films deposited on carbon-coated Au substrates showed minor changes in their morphology compared to that of the films deposited on clean Au surfaces. However, the presence of carbon coatings on the ITO and Ag surfaces led to significant morphological alterations in the IL films. Specifically, for short-chain ILs, the carbon film surface induced 2D growth of the IL film, followed by subsequent island growth. In contrast, for long-chain ILs deposited on carbon surfaces, layer-by-layer growth occurred without island formation, resulting in highly uniform and coalesced IL films. The extent of morphological changes observed in the IL films was found to be influenced by two crucial factors: the thickness of the carbon film on the substrate surface and the amount of IL deposition.

2. Isothermal titration calorimetry, Bastos, M Abian, O; Johnson, CM; Ferreira-da-Silva, F; Vega, S; Jimenez-Alesanco, A; Ortega-Alarcon, D; Velazquez-Campoy, A in NATURE REVIEWS METHODS PRIMERS, 2023, ISSN: 2662-8449,  Volume: 3, 
Article,  Indexed in: crossref, scopus, wos  DOI: 10.1038/s43586-023-00199-x P-00Y-1MH
Abstract Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) has become the gold standard for studying molecular interactions in solution. Although it is increasingly being used in the soft matter and synthetic chemistry fields, ITC is most widely used for characterizing molecular interactions between ligands and macromolecules. This Primer starts by presenting the technique's foundations and instrumentation, including a brief description of the standard assay, followed by a review of common applications. Further extensions and modifications of the technique are explored. These adaptations enable key features to be studied, such as cooperative effects associated with complex biological interactions and their regulation, alongside applications to other fields, including partition to membranes, kinetics and soft matter. Advantages and caveats in ITC are discussed, with a focus on best practices, instrument calibration, experimental design, data analysis and data reporting, as well as recent and future developments.

3. The impact of the cation alkyl chain length on the wettability of alkylimidazolium-based ionic liquids at the nanoscale, Costa, JCS Alves, A; Bastos, M Santos, LMNBF in PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 2022, ISSN: 1463-9076,  Volume: 24, 
Article,  Indexed in: crossref, scopus, wos  DOI: 10.1039/d2cp01868c P-00W-KJM
Abstract Ionic liquids (ILs) have been widely used for energy storage and conversion devices due to their negligible vapor pressure, high thermal stability, and outstanding interfacial properties. Notably, the interfacial nanostructure and the wettability of thin ionic liquid films on solid surfaces are of utmost relevance in nanosurface science and technology. Herein, a reproducible physical vapor deposition methodology was used to fabricate thin films of four alkylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide ILs. The effect of the cation alkyl chain length on the wettability of ILs was explored on different surfaces: gold (Au); silver (Ag); indium-tin oxide (ITO). High-resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to evaluate the morphology of the produced micro- and nanodroplets and films. SEM and AFM results revealed an island growth for all the ILs deposited on ITO and Ag surfaces, with a lower minimum free area to promote nucleation (MFAN) in Ag and higher wettability for ILs having larger non-polar domains. The low wettability of ITO by the studied ILs was highlighted. For long-chain ILs, nucleation and growth mechanisms were strongly conditioned by coalescence processes. The results also supported the higher affinity of the ILs to the Au surface. The increase in the length of the cation alkyl chain was found to promote a better film adhesion inducing a 2D growth and higher wetting ability.

4. Unsupervised bubble calorimetry analysis: Surface tension from isothermal titration calorimetry, Garrido, PF; Bastos, M Velazquez Campoy, A; Amigo, A; Dumas, P; Pineiro, A in JOURNAL OF COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, 2022, ISSN: 0021-9797,  Volume: 606, 
Article,  Indexed in: crossref, scopus, wos  DOI: 10.1016/j.jcis.2021.08.115 P-00V-B3P
Abstract Hypothesis: The injection of air into the sample cell of an isothermal titration calorimeter containing a liquid provides a rich-in-information signal, with a periodic contribution arising from the creation, growing and release of bubbles. The identification and analysis of such contributions allow the accurate determination of the surface tension of the target liquid. Experiments: Air is introduced at a constant rate into the sample cell of the calorimeter containing either a pure liquid or a solution. The resulting calorimetric signal is analyzed by a new algorithm, which is implemented into a computational code. Findings: The thermal power generated by our experiments is often noisy, thus hiding the periodic signal arising from the bubbles' formation and release. The new algorithm was tested with a range of different types of calorimetric raw data, some of them apparently being just noise. In all cases, the contribution of the bubbles to the signal was isolated and the corresponding period was successfully determined in an automated way. It is also shown that two reference measurements suffice to calibrate the instrument at a given temperature, regardless the injection rate, allowing the direct determination of surface tension values for the liquid contained in the sample cell. (c) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

5. Partition of antimicrobial D-L-alpha-cyclic peptides into bacterial model membranes, Claro, B; Gonzalez Freire, E; Granja, JR; Garcia Fandino, R; Gallova, J; Uhrikova, D; Fedorov, A; Coutinho, A; Bastos, M in BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-BIOMEMBRANES, 2022, ISSN: 0005-2736,  Volume: 1864, 
Article,  Indexed in: crossref, scopus, wos  DOI: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2021.183729 P-00V-EEZ
Abstract Fluorescence spectroscopy is used to characterize the partition of three second-generation D,L-alpha-cyclic peptides to two lipid model membranes. The peptides have proven antimicrobial activity, particularly against Gram positive bacteria, and the model membranes are formed of either with 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho- (1'- rac-glycerol) (DMPG) or its mixture with 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DMPE), at a molar ratio of (1:1). The peptide's intrinsic fluorescence was used in the Steady State and/or Time Resolved Fluorescence Spectroscopy experiments, showing that the peptides bind to the membranes, and the extent of their partition is thereof quantified. The peptide-induced membrane leakage was followed using an encapsulated fluorescent dye. Overall, the partition is mainly driven by electrostatics, but also involves hydrophobic interactions. The introduction of a hydrocarbon tail in one of the residues of the parent peptide, CPR, adjacent to the tryptophan (Trp) residue, significantly improves the partition of the modified peptides, CPRT10 and CPRT14, to both membrane systems. Further, we show that the length of the tail is the main distinguishing factor for the extension of the partition process. The parent peptide induces very limited leakage, at odds with the peptides with tail, that promote fast leakage, increasing in most cases with peptide concentration, and being almost complete for the highest peptide concentration and negatively charged membranes. Overall, the results help the unravelling of the antimicrobial action of these peptides and are well in line with their proven high antimicrobial activity.