The research aims at the synthesis by soft-chemistry methods of morphology-controlled oxide nanoparticles (e.g. TiO2 , ZnO, MoO3) and tuneable porous systems (macro/mesoporous silica or Metal Organic Frameworks, MOF), and at the study of their (photo)catalytic mechanism (formation and interfacial reactivity of paramagnetic defects) by spectroscopic and spectromagnetic techniques. In particular, the possibility of tailoring size, anisotropy and surface functionalities of these systems by employing catalysts (acid or bases), soft templates (e.g. amphiphilic surfactants), capping molecules or particular solvents, has been exploited for the modulation of the inorganic-organic interfaces. This play a crucial role in determining their properties and implementation for the development of advanced hybrid materials commonly utilized for water/air depollution, CO2 photoconversion in renewable fuels and Na-ion batteries.
The research focus on the preparation by bottom-up approaches of oxides (mainly ZnO and SiO2) nanoparticles and polysilsesquioxanes (PSQ) with controlled morphological and surface features, employed in a wide range of applications (i.e. automotive, high performance dielectrics, gas-barrier).
In particular, since 2008, these materials have been exploited by our group, in collaboration with other academic and industrial partners (i.e Pirelli Tyres, SAES Getters), for the preparation of novel polymer nanocomposites mainly utilized in tires application. In this context, the results of the activity have provided a relevant scientific and technological impact, leading to the production and implementation of a material developed in the NanoMat@Lab in the industrial plant.
Currently, the group is working on the application of these designed fillers in other multifunctional nanocomposites (conductive composites for low-k or high-k materials, O2 barrier coatings) where, besides a peculiar functionality, remarkable mechanical strength, low deformability and high thermal stability are required.
The group has also easy access to: