Wahnon, Perla


Perla Wahnon

Professor of Chemical Physics. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Instituto de Energía Solar & Departamento de Tecnología Fotónica y Bioingeniería, ETSI Telecomunicación.

B.S. and M.S. in 1974 in Chemistry (Quantum Chemistry section) by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, where she obtained in 1977 the degree of Doctor of Science. In 1977 and in 1978, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher at L.C.A.M. in the University of Paris Sud (Orsay, France). Since 1978 she has been a Professor successively in the Faculty of Sciences of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, in the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (1979-1983) and from 1983 to the present in the E.T.S. of Ingenieros de Telecomunicación of the same University (UPM), where she has also been Deputy Director of Research, Doctorate and Postgraduates Studies, from 1994 to 1998.

Dr. Wahnon has been Research Director of 27 national and international competitive research programs funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education, the Community of Madrid Regional Government and the European Commission; on topics related to her field of research such as Atomic Physics, Molecular Dynamics and Electronic Materials Structures. She has published 120+ peer –reviewed publications indexed in leading International Scientific Journals and 150+ invited lectures and presentations at conferences and research institutions across the world. During all these years, she has created and directed two research groups and trained numerous postgraduate researchers, and at the same time she was a Research advisor of an extensive number of Doctoral Theses (most with Extraordinary Doctoral Award and international mention) and Final Degree Projects.

Since 1997, she directs the Quantum Calculations Research Group at the Solar Energy Institute of the UPM that works on the Design and Quantum Characterization of New Electronic Materials for High Efficiency Photovoltaic Solar Cells. Using concepts from Quantum Chemistry and Solid State Physics, she has proposed and patented a new class of semiconductor materials, which present very high photon absorptions in the spectrum of sunlight. The theoretical work and its corresponding experimental evidence on one of the proposed materials were published in two prestigious journals, such as the Physical Review Letters and Chemical Materials; and it has been widely disseminated worldwide in popular magazines such as the New Scientist and in different Systems of Technological Alerts. She has published, with international extension, 5 Patents on these new high efficiency photovoltaic materials. Currently, she is also working on the development of more efficient Perovskites for Solar Cells.

She was a Visiting Research Professor at different foreign research centers at Universities such as Paris, Jerusalem, Daresbury… Also, she has participated as an evaluator for scientific agencies in Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, México…

From 1998 to 2001 she was part of the Molecular Physics Committee of the European Physics Society and she is currently a member of the Governing Board of the Spanish Royal Society of Physics. In February 2009 she received the Social Merit Badge of the Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla for her research and dissemination of Science, and in December 2018 she received the Research Prize of the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Recently, she has been elected president of COSCE.