The research group of Dr. Barreca has an internationally recognized know-how in the fabrication and modification of nanoarchitectures with variable dimensionality by chemical vapor deposition (CVD), either thermal- or plasma-enhanced (PE-CVD), Radio Frequency (RF)-Sputtering and their original combinations. In this regard, attention is also devoted to the synthesis of molecular precursors, endowed with high volatility, stability to air/moisture and clean decomposition patterns under both CVD and PE-CVD conditions.
Hybrid Systems obtained through the alternation of semiconducting inorganic nano-particles (CdSe, PbSe) and organic semiconducting oligo-poly-conjugated molecules, bearing proper functionalization, were prepared.
By means f the Layer-by-Layer technique (LBL), self-assembled materials, organized as thin films on conductive and transparent surfaces, were prepared for Organic Photovoltaic applications (OPV). The materials combine the properties of both organic and inorganic semiconductors, but they have the advantage of being more flexible than the usually employed inorganic semiconductors and more resistant against oxidative degradation than the organic ones.
Activities are focused on functional materials (metals or ceramics with protonic-anion and mixed conductivity) for fuel cells (SOFC), electrolysis cells (SOEC) and stacks. In addition to the formulation of new materials, a detailed study of the effects of composition, microstructure and degradation phenomena on performance is carried out on state-of-art materials.
The research aims at improving performance of devices by addressing degradation phenomena also through innovative cell designs.
Nowadays, more than 90% of hydrogen production comes from fossil fuels, as estimated by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Therefore, the systems of purification of hydrogen from by-products such as CH4, H2O, CO and CO2 represent a crucial step of the entire manufacturing process.
The increasing demand for alternatives to fossil fuels lead scientists to search for new materials to be used as energy vectors. Nowadays, it is generally accepted that hydrogen is the best solution to this issue. One of the reasons why hydrogen is not yet commonly employed in everyday life lies in the lack of a safe, practical and effective method for its storage. A possible solution that meets the above requirements is given by intermetallic hydrides, which can be charged with hydrogen at high-pressure to form stable hydrides, then releasing hydrogen by heating the host intermetallic.