Energy storage and production

Nanostructured materials grown by low-energy assembling of gas-phase synthsized nanoparticles are characterized by a nano-porous morphology with high and accessible surface area. Supersonic Cluster Beam deposition, via co-deposition from multiple sources, offers the possibility to prepare virtually any kind of nanocomposite mixture comprising carbon or metal oxides or noble metal nanoparticles, and to deposit these with micro-patterning capability on a broad range of substrates, including soft and thermal sensitive materials. These features provide a unique opportunity for the exploration of novel systems for energy conversion, harvesting and storage based on nanostructures.  

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Nanoparticles and thin films for solar cells and light-matter interaction

This work involves nanoparticles for photovoltaics and light-matter interaction from a more fundamental point of view. I am using (plasmonic) metal and semiconductor (quantum dot) nanoparticles to enhance light trapping in thin film solar cells. For this research Atomic Force Microscopy, Luminescence, UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, XPS, UPS is used. Besides this research in novel concept photovoltaics we study the plasmonic behaviour of nanoparticles embedded in semiconductors with electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and femto second laser spectroscopy. For this research we use a dedicated gas aggregation magnetron sputter cluster source to fabricate the nanoparticles. This is combined with a thin film magnetron sputter deposition system, with which almost any nanoparticle-thin film composite can be fabricated. Many of the advanced characterisation experiments are performed in international collaborations.

Referent: Marcel Di Vece

Participants: Alessandro Podestà, Paolo Piseri, Paolo Milani, Cristina Lenardi

Last publications show all

Wavelength-Dependent Nonlinear Optical Properties of Ag Nanoparticles Dispersed in a Glass Host

Ferrari, Piero; Upadhyay, Sneha; Shestakov, Mikhail V.; Vanbuel, Jan; De Roo, Bert; Kuang, Yinghuan; Di Vece, Marcel; Moshchalkov, Victor V.; Locquet, Jean-Pierre; Lievens, Peter; Janssens, Ewald: J. Phys. Chem. C 121 (2017) 27580-27589 [DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b09017]

Porous Carbon-based materials for electrochemical energy storage

Nanostructured carbons with high surface-to-volume ratio hold chemical inertness, good electrical conductivity and low density that are beneficial in a number of emerging energy storage technologies. The coupling of a gas-phase technique for the preparation of aerosols of carbon nanoparticles with free jet supersonic expansions for the formation of molecular beams enables the deposition of carbons materials with high porosity and controlled nanostructure. Here, this approach is used for (i) the fabrication of carbon thin films and nanocomposites (e.g. C-Ni and C-Ti) with enhanced interfacial properties, (ii) for the study of the electrochemical processes at the interface between porous carbon and electrolytic media (e.g. ionic liquids) and (iii) for the integration of carbon-based electrodes into miniaturized energy storage devices (e.g. microsupercapacitors).

Referent: Luca Giacomo Bettini

Participants: Paolo Piseri, Paolo Milani, Francesca Borghi, Alessandro Podestà

Cluster-assembled materials for solar energy conversion

Materials assembled by the low kinetic energy deposition of clusters formed in the gas-phase show highly controllable properties (e.g. crystallinity, stoichiometry, surface roughness and porosity) thus representing systems of major relevance towards the development of technologies for solar energy conversion. Here, cluster-assembling in high-vacuum is used (i) to produce semiconductive thin films based on both metal oxides (e.g. TiO2 and WO3) and quaternary compounds (e.g. CZTS), to (ii) study the structural, electrical, optical and interfacial properties of porous nanocrystalline seminconductors, and to develop (iii) prototypical devices for photovoltaics and photoelectrochemical water splitting.

Referent: Paolo Piseri

Participants: Luca Bettini,…

Nanostructured metal oxide photocatalysts

High surface nanostructured metal oxides are object of intense research efforts for their ability to convert light into chemical energy through photocatalytic processes. The production of highly active photocatalytic materials requires the engineering of materials characteristics at the nanoscale in terms of size, crystallinity, composition, surface chemistry and porosity. Here, nanostructured materials with selected properties are produced by means of Flame Spray Pyrolysis and studied towards the development of photocatalysts for the degradation of organic compounds and the production of hydrogen.

Referent: Paolo Piseri

Participants: Luca Bettini,…