Our research group is devoted to the synthesis and characterization of novel and advanced functional materials for energy applications, in particular perovskites for photovoltaics, ion conductors and catalysis materials, with the aim of investigating the structure-properties correlation. We make large use of several synthesis approaches to explore the preparation of new and optimized materials as well as of state-of-the-art structural determination techniques such as x-ray synchrotron diffraction, neutron diffraction and Pair Distribution Function analysis. (see below)
Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Perovskites
We are currently investigating the hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites as top-performing materials for solar cells. Our research foucuses on the development of new materials and the realization of lab-scale solar cells. In addition, significant efforts are devoted to the comprehension of the structural features that mostly affect the functional properties of the prepared materials. Such project is carried out in collaboration with Prof. Quadrelli of the Organic Chemistry division of the Chemistry Dept. and with Prof. Patrini of the Physics Dept of the University of Pavia.
The research activity in this field focuses mainly on the study of the structure–properties correlation in oxygen and proton conducting oxides. Materials are prepared by means of solid-state synthesis and sol-gel synthesis and are characterized by means of in-house techniques and neutron scattering. In particular, we have carried out extensive in-situ studies by means of Neutron Diffraction (ND) under “operating-conditions”, i.e., at working temperatures and under various and pertinent gas fluxes. One of the core of our research on this class of materials is done by means of Pair Distribution Function (PDF) analysis in order to study the correlation on the local scale between conducting and non-conducting polymorphs and look at the role of the local structure on the diffusion mechanisms and conductivity.
In the Materials Chemistry Group we are working on novel catalysts for efficient hydrogen photogeneration from biomass as well as to the effective use of these materials in organic synthesis. We develop g-C3N4 based compositions and composites achieving state of the art hydrogen evolution rates thanks to a careful selection of critical parameters affecting the catalytic performance. We also extended the modification of polymeric carbon nitride to organic syntheses, for example through an effective generation of singlet oxygen. Recent activity is focused on the development of new composites enabling a more active charge carrier separation. This research activity is carried out in collaboration with Prof. Antonella Profumo and Dr. Andrea Speltini from Pavia University.