Our research group is devoted to the synthesis and characterization of functional materials (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)

Research Projects

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.

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Ion Conductors

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.

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The interest of our group on HTSC dates back to the YBCO “age”. After the discovery of iron-pnictides we focussed on these new and fascinating systems. We have investigated the SmFeAsO1-xF and NdFeAsO1-xFx systems with the aim of deepen the correlation between chemical stoichiometry and samples properties (see our JACS publications in 2009 [LINK] and 2010 [LINK] ). More recently our interest moved to the study of chemical doping effects on these systems. As a result, we are investigation transition metal (TM) doped compounds of the 1111 and 122 systems and in particular we are considering the role of chemical and hydrostatic pressure in such series [LINK].
Samples are prepared in our laboratories and characterized by means of in-house techniques and several advanced techniques available at synchrotron and neutron facilities. Also extensive use of high-pressure SQUID is currently done in collaboration with other groups.
Research on the iron-pnictides was founded by Cariplo’s Foundation through the project “Chemical Doping Effect in Iron Pnictides HTSC”. Finally, in the last few year we focussed on hydrocarbon based HTSC after the discovery of superconductivity in K3picene.

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