Born May 1958 in Vigo, Spain, Prof. Asunción Fernández graduated in Chemistry at the University of Cádiz (Spain) (1980) and in Physics at UNED (Spanish Open University) (1984). She carried out her PhD work at “Max-Planck Institut für Strahlenchemie” in Mülheim a.d. Ruhr (Germany) obtaining the Dr. rer. nat. degree at the University of Dortmund (Germany) in June 1983 on the subject of “photocatalytic H2 production from water solutions”. In 1983 she started a postdoc stay at the Univ. of Seville and in 1987 she joined as tenured scientist the Materials Science Institute of Seville (ICMS, Spain), a mix-center of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and the Univ. Seville. She became research scientist in 1997 and full Professor of CSIC in 2002. She has leaded the research group "Nanostructured Materials and Microstructure - NanoMatMicro" since 1991 and is the head scientist of the Electron microscopy laboratories of ICMS and the CicCartuja center since 1996. July-August 1996 visiting researcher at the Fritz-Haber-Institut (Inorganic Chemistry Dpt.) der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Germany). July 1998 visiting researcher at the Institut für Anorganische Chemie II de Universität Erlanguen-Nürnberg (Germany). From July 2001 to November 2009 she has been the director of the ICMS. In 2012 she stablished at the ICMS the Laboratory for Nanoscopies and Spectroscopies LANE, supported by the regional REGPOT program of the European Commission. From October 2013 to March 2014 has been “Academic Guest” at the EMPA laboratories (Swittzerland). August-October 2018 visiting researcher at the Physics Department Univ. Namur (Belgium). From January to April 2021 visiting researcher (Le Studium Fellow) at the GREMI Laboratory, CNRS-Univ. Orléans (France).
Her research activities have been mainly focused on the physical-chemical study of nanomaterials, aiming to control the synthesis of nanoparticles and nanostructured thin films; as well as, to apply microstructural characterization techniques for the study of materials in the nano-scale. In particular she worked in the fields of: Semiconductor photocatalysis, surface chemistry, hydrogen storage and magnetron sputtering deposition of thin films and coatings. At present she is investigating the innovative bottom-up fabrication of nanostructured thin films by sputtering deposition assisted by plasmas of Helium and other light gases. The fabrication of solid-gas nanocomposite films, and their applications as solid targets for nuclear reaction studies, is an innovative topic she pioneered. Current research also includes the tailored fabrication by magnetron sputtering of catalytic/electrocatalytic coatings for hydrogen technologies.