CEA - Fotocatalisi e chimica per l'energia e l'ambiente
Main Research Goals
Highlights of Main Results:
Shape controlled TiO2 Nanoparticles for Photocatalityc and Solar Energy harvesting Applications
Shape and size controlled nanomaterials with very low polydispersity are highly desirable whenever the dependence of properties at nanometric levels influence their functional properties and the properties of their assemblies. Regarding TiO2 nanomaterials, the wide heterogeneity of: i) types of TiO2-based nanoparticles till now developed, exhibiting a rich dimensional and morphological variety, ii) surface and/or interfacial molecular states, iii) assembly/aggregation of nanoparticles in nanostructured and nano-enabled systems, hinders a comprehensive evaluation of the influence of the properties at nanoparticles level on the functional behavior of ensemble of nanoparticles. In this department we have designed a set of synthesis procedures for the obtainment of size and shape controlled TiO2 nanoparticles. With these controlled nanomaterials we were able to correlate surface properties at molecular level to the corresponding crystallographic facet exposed of anatase nanocrystals. Studies on the influence of functional properties are underway.
Photocatalitic, Self Cleaning and Self Sterilizing TiO2 Thin Films
The TiO2 thin films (left on glass support with STM images) produced with a patented sol-gel technology have good photocatalytic activity (right: NO abatement), photoinduced super-hydrophilicity, self cleaning and self sterilizing properties
Photocatalitic Metamaterials: TiO2 inverse opals
Nanostructured devices have a big promise for the engineering of new materials whose properties depend on the nanostructure and not only on their chemical composition (metamaterials). These materials can have applications in many technological fields, like photonics (negative index materials, photonic crystals) and solar energy conversion. Very recently in our department was demonstrated that TiO2 photonic crystals can improve the performance of light driven processes like photocatalysis and solar energy conversion by making use of their unique properties, in particular slow photons.