Confinement effects in mesoporous materials
Mesoporous solids (pore width 2-50 nm) offer a unique environment, in which structure and properties of guest species are remarkably affected with respect to bulk. One prominent example is the spontaneous condensation of nitrogen in mesopores at pressures lower than its saturation vapor pressure. We address confinement effects mainly using small-angle scattering techniques. This method, mostly performed at large scale facilities using in situ approaches, allows comprehensive assessment of both structure and morphology of host and guest systems in a direct fashion. Presently, we focus on the phase change behavior of confined fluids and on the characterization of carbon-sulfur cathode materials for Li-S batteries applications.
Functional nanostructured electroceramics
Among electroceramics, perovskite oxides are experiencing nowadays a renaissance in many fields of the renewable energy sector. The versatility of this class of materials is mainly given by their ease in accommodating nonstoichiometry without compromising their structural stability. In our group we prepare nanostructured perovskite oxides in form of particles, thin film or powders with improved textural properties and assess their structure-function relationships employing electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Current projects deals with the synthesis mesoporous perovskites for heterogeneous catalysis applications using sol-gel and polymer-based approaches.