Surfaces and interfaces: nanofabrication, imaging, and spectroscopy

The research activities are focused on the use of nanotechnologies to design and realize materials with optimal properties for clean energy conversion and storage, nanomechanics, and molecular spintronics. 

The investigated systems include two-dimensional materials, oxides, supported organic molecules, plasmonic materials and many more. 

See also: Green@Nano.

Specific activities on two-dimensional materials concern, e.g, the modification of graphene by the introduction of deformations and defects, aiming at the optimization of hydrogen storage capacity. Graphene is also combined with layered chalcogenides to modify its frictional properties, or intercalated with metal layers to tune the superexchange interactions between supported organic molecules and ferromagnetic substrates. 

Black phosphorus is a further object of intense research activities, which point at assessing the modifications induced by thermal treatments and metal doping. 

The interactions between plasmonic nanoparticles and other compounds are investigated for application in photocatalysis and photovoltaics. The intense resonant excitations in the visible range infer important functionalities, such as an increased reactivity and a variation of charge carrier concentration. 

The Institute laboratories host advanced growth facilities, based on reactive molecular beam epitaxy, magnetron sputtering – also combined with inert gas-aggregation for the growth of mass-selected nanoparticles -, electron-beam and optical lithography.

The atomic scale properties of the investigated compounds are assessed by high-spatial resolution imaging techniques, like scanning probe microscopies and transmission electron microscopies (TEM), coupled with high-energy resolution spectroscopies, exploiting also synchrotron radiation.

A specific research line concerns the development of frontier TEM approaches.

The possibility to combine scanning tunneling microscopy measurements and calorimetry has also been recently implemented.

The available optical characterization techniques provide a basis for ultrafast studies at shared facilities. Simulations based on density functional theory provide an extremely important guide for material design and for the interpretation of the observed behavior.

See also: HPC@Nano.


To learn more on specific topics of Surfaces and interfaces: nanofabrication, imaging, and spectroscopy at Cnr Nano, please contact the Principal Investigators listed below. For general info, please contact Stefania Benedetti,

Running Projects