Research Topics

Some of the Research Topics investigated by the Members of the SIMN Academic Board are briefly summarized.

  Stefano AGNOLI / Gaetano GRANOZZI (DiSC)
Advanced Materials for Green Chemistry

The research activity of the SSCG aims at developing novel heterogeneous catalysts for the new circular economy that can be used in key processes such as the (photo)electrochemical/thermal production of hydrogen, the valorisation of CO2 from waste to feedstock and the production of fine chemicals through energy saving (photo)reactions with high atom economy.

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  Vincenzo AMENDOLA (DiSC)
Next generation inorganic nanomedicines

Advanced and green laser-assisted synthesis methodologies are mastered to achieve transformable metal nanoparticles, in particular alloys, designed to answer the "Nanomedicine dilemma" and bring next generation inorganic nanoparticles as close as possible to the bedside of cancer patients.

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  Marco BAZZAN (DFA)
Novel electrical properties of ferroelectric thin films

In the last decade ferroelectric thin films have witnessed an exploding interest stimulated by the discovery of novel phenomena such as domain wall conduction, exotic light-induced effects, polaron transport. Our research group deals with all those aspects, starting from the material synthesis and characterization to the building of dedicated experimental setups and physical modeling, to the exploration of new applications.

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Tailoring atomically precise metal nanoclusters toward advanced functional materials

The Molecular Electrochemistry and Nanosystems group is focused on designing novel monolayer protected metal nanoclusters (MPCs) as new-generation of building blocks for the hierarchical assembly of multi-response architectures to be applied as chemosensors and for advanced opto-electronic devices.

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  Giovanna BRUSATIN (DII)
Advanced biomaterials for biomedical studies and next generation vaccines

Advanced bio- materials and -interfaces are designed by reverse engineering the cell microenvironment to understand diseases mechanoregulation, tissue regeneration and stem cell behavior and to develop a cell-based vaccinations platform able to boost an adaptive immune response, ex. against cancer. In particular, we synthesize hydrogels and microstructures physically and chemically defined, and engineer composite hydrogels for controlled antigens presentation and adjuvants release.

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  Tiziana CESCA (DFA)
Nanostructures for nanophotonics and quantum optics applications

The research activity is focused on the investigation of the optical properties of nanostructured materials for applications in nanophotonics, nonlinear and quantum optics, and sensing. Some investigated topics are: (i) Linear and nonlinear optical properties of plasmonic nanoarrays and metamaterials; (ii) Control of classical and quantum optical emission properties of quantum emitters by coupling with metamaterials; (iii) Plasmonic nanoarrays for optical biosensing.

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New technologies for semiconductor doping and gamma-ray detector fabrication

The research activity aims to develop new routes for materials synthesis, surface modifications and high-level doping of semiconductors, by using innovative processes such as pulsed laser melting and monolayer doping techniques. The activity ranges from the junction formation, lithography processes, structural and electrical characterizations and gamma ray detector fabrication and testing.

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  Vito DI NOTO (DII)
Chemistry of materials for electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices

Materials for electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices (e.g., batteries, fuel cells, electrolyzers, CO2 electroreduction systems, redox flow batteries) are crucial for today’s energy transition away from fossil fuels. Our activities cover the entire value chain from the rational synthesis of the materials (e.g., electrode configurations, electrolytes, electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction) to the implementation of such materials in devices tested for performance and durability.

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  Christian DURANTE (DiSC)
Electrocatalysis of oxygen reduction reaction

Platinum group metal catalysts and platinum free metal catalyts for oxygen reduction reaction: from single site catalysts to metal nanoparticles. The project researches the fundamental properties that affect the activity, selectivity and stability of electrocatalysts to be employed in oxygen reduction reaction in PEM fuel cell, in hydrogen peroxyde synthesis and in electrochemical sensors.

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  Alberta FERRARINI (DiSC)
Modelling of soft and bio-materials

We are interested in equilibrium and out-of-equilibrium self-assembly, and in the structural, dynamical and mechanical properties of soft- and bio-materials (polymers, liquid crystals, gels, surfactants). We use a combination of analytical theory and computer simulations mehods, which include mean field and classical density functional theories, Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics with enhanced sampling techniques, as well as, more recently, machine learning approaches.

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  Antonella GLISENTI (DiSC)
Sustainable materials and devices for energy storage and conversion

Sustainable development requires materials&devices capable of energy conversion and storage. Solid oxide cells can reach high efficiency both as fuel cells and as electrolysers. These devices, that can be developed without Critical Raw Materials, can work using fuels different than hydrogen (biogas). The co-electrolysis of H2O+CO2 to syngas, can be a valuable strategy for decreasing greenhouse gas and to store electric energy in form of chemical energy. H2 storage&production are relevant.

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  Chiara MACCATO / Alberto GASPAROTTO (DiSC)
Nanomaterials for sensing, environmental and sustainable applications

The research activity developed in our group deals with the preparation of nanomaterials (hybrid and metal oxide-based ones) by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) techniques and/or wet chemical approaches that stand as attractive synthetic tools to finely tune the chemico-physical properties of the resulting nanostructures. The obtained nanosystems are also tested as attractive multifunctional platforms for sensing and sustainable energy applications, with particular regard to the use of (photo)electrochemical processes.

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  Giovanni MATTEI (DFA)
Metamaterials for controlling light-matter interaction at the nanoscale

The research activity is focused on designing innovative nanostructures for controlling light-matter interaction at the nanoscale. Engineering the optical properties of the nanomaterials (plasmonic and/or dielectric) and their coupling with quantum emitters allows to obtain novel functionalities like: (i) enhanced emission quantum efficiency; (ii) coherent emission (nanolasing) or single-photon sources for quantum technologies.

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  Alessandro MARTUCCI / Massimo GUGLIELMI (DII)
Solution processed nanostructured materials for functional applications

In our group we design, synthetize and characterize nanomaterials in the form of nanocrystals or thin film coatings starting from liquid solution, for application in the field of photonics, gas sensing, energy saving and catalysis. We are interested in novel materials that are cheap, widely available, non-toxic and for specific application also biocompatible. Moreover, we focus on fabrication methods that can be easily scaled up and applied to industrial production.

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Functionalized nanostructures for the biosensing and energy fields

Nanostructures are obtained by assembling nanoparticles synthesized by laser ablation in solution of bulk materials. This allows obtaining stable colloidal solutions to be used, with a tailored functionalization, in different fields. Functionalized plasmonic nanostructures are for example used as targeting agents of tumor antigens with the SERS effect exploited as a diagnostic and imaging technique. Other ablation syntheses are used for example for inks of precursors of perovskite solar cells.

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  Michele MERANO (DFA)
The optical response of two-dimensional crystals

Two-dimensional (2D) materials are attracting tremendous scientific and technological interest. They are single-layer atomic crystals with remarkable mechanical, electronic and optical properties absent in their bulk counterparts. These properties are widely tunable owing to the materials’ atomic thickness. They can be integrated into devices, or stacked layer-by-layer to form heterostructures with new functionalities. Our lab studies the optical properties and the applications of 2D materials.

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  Alessandro PATELLI (DFA)
Materials nano-structuring by plasma-surface interaction at atmospheric pressure

Atmospheric pressure plasma offers a green a sustainable route to obtain an highly reactive environment at ambient temperature. Surface functionality or morphology control up to the deposition of oxides enables its use from tissue engineering up to photo-electrochemical oxidation. A deep study of plasma-surface interaction can lead further to unexplored applications as ion and electric field source, enabling ion-exchange from vapor to solid phase or the control of self-assembling processes.

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  Gian Andrea RIZZI (DiSC)
Photo-anodes and photo-cathodes for water-splitting, sensing and catalysis

Photoelectrochemistry is one of the oldest investigated techniques for the conversion of sunlight into usable energy. A photo electrochemical cell typified by Honda’s electrochemistry, is focused primarily on the storage of light energy as high-energy chemical products. The same type of photo electrochemical cell can be used as well for sensing or water remediation. The active materials used for these application are typically narrow band-gap semiconductors.

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  Andrea SANSON (DFA)
Tailoring thermal expansion for advanced functional materials

Thermal expansion is critical in many technological applications and its control represents a challenge for the materials design. The most promising route to achieve the control of thermal expansion is the use of non-conventional materials with Negative Thermal Expansion (NTE) properties. The research activity is focused on the study of the physical-chemical phenomena connected to NTE and of the possible methods for controlling thermal expansion, such as chemical intercalation, chemical substitution, nano-size effects.

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  Andrea SARTOREL (DiSC)
Photoactive materials for catalysis

The research in my groups is directed towards the photocatalytic transformation of ubiquitous raw materials such as water and carbon dioxide into solar fuels or commodity chemicals. The fabrication of photoactive materials and electrodes follows a bottom-up design, combining organic chromophores and molecular catalysts. I collaborate with groups at UniPD from inorganic chemistry, industrial engineering and physics.

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  Francesco SEDONA (DiSC)
On-surface synthesis of carbon-based materials

The Surface Supramolecular Chemistry Group's activity deals with UHV on-surface synthesis and STM characterization. The atomic control of 1&2D carbon-based materials (e.g. graphene nanoribbons, graphyne wires, etc.), is pivotal for applications in organic electronics, catalysis and sensing. The transfer from the metal surfaces to technologically relevant substrates (e.g. silicon, plastics etc.) will be the basis of such key enabling technology.

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Ab-initio simulation of adsorption processes

The comprehension of adsorption processes of atoms and molecules on different substrates is essential for designing and optimizing a broad variety of materials and devices, and for interpreting scattering and atomic force microscopy experiments. We investigate such processes by ab-initio simulations, which are based on the fundamental natural laws and on the properties of the constituent atoms, without introducing any specific assumption or model.

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  Keti VEZZU' (DII)
Interplay between physicochemical properties and dynamics in energy materials

The physicochemical and electrochemical properties of the nanostructured functional components are crucial to modulate the viability of electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices (e.g., batteries, fuel cells, electrolyzers, CO2 electroreduction systems, redox flow batteries). Advanced approaches are developed, both experimental and computational, to unravel the interplay between synthetic parameters, materials properties, functional mechanisms and device performance and durability.

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