The current research interests are essentially focused on the development of organic materials for applications in photonics and optoelectronics; the main topic is the design and synthesis of semiconducting materials for alternative energy applications.
Organic solar cells (both bulk heterojunction solar cells and crystalline organic solar cells) are the main target and the research activity involves two different kinds of applications.
Bulk heterojunction solar cells (BHJSCs) are experiencing an impressive growth, both for the continuous increase of photoconversion efficiency (PCE) and for the increasing numbers of research groups and industrial players involved in this subject. The still increasing values of PCE are the result of a careful design of the active materials composing the core of BHJSC. The third generation of semiconducting materials for BHJSC is give by internal donor-acceptor conjugated polymers. The design of new electron-acceptors and the correct synthesis of donor-acceptor polymers based on them are currently undertaken exploiting the know-how in the field of fluorinated materials and also exploring alternative synthons. The fabrication of solar cells and their analysis is carried out in collaboration with Italian and European research centres and companies.
Crystalline organic solar cells are a less studied alternative to BHJSC, to overcome some of their intrinsic limits. Crystalline organic materials, based on substituted acenes, are a viable solution to get materials with higher mobilities and with a lower density of defects. Acting on the dimension and electronic properties of the peripheral substituents groups it is possible to tune the semiconducting properties, absorption and emission energies and to act on crystal packing. For the fabrication of crystalline organic solar cells Organic Beam Molecular Deposition (OMBD) is the most suitable approach, allowing the controlled growth of crystalline organic multilayers and nanostructures.
This activity is carried out with other researchers of this Department and with the ISMAC centre of CNR.
A significant effort is also devoted to the analysis of degradation phenomena is organic solar cells, to investigate the phenomena responsible for their thermal and photodegradation and to develop strategies to increase their durability.