Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Research projects started in 2017

Porous polymeric nanocomposites for daylight-induced catalytic degradation of water pollutants

1 scholarship  - Student: Federica Costantino
Joint research project between Istituto Italiano Tecnologia (IIT), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and University of Notre Dame du Lac

The aim of the PhD project is to develop active porous polymeric materials for water remediation applications. The research will focus on the photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants, such as dyes, pesticides and drugs, under day light by nanocomposite fibrous materials with controlled band gap energies. The nanocomposites will be obtained by combining deposition of metallic or carbon seeds by supersonic cluster beam or pulsed laser deposition on porous polymers with in-situ growth of hybrid nanostructures upon heating or light irradiation of the composite material.

The PhD candidate will explore some combinations of the seeds-nanomaterials in order to achieve the optimal photocatalytically active material under daylight. The candidate will develop the porous materials, will deposit the appropriate seeds and will subsequently develop the hybrid systems. The candidate will fully characterize the physicochemical and optical properties of the developed materials and will perform the degradation experiments of defined pollutants.

Despina Fragouli Luca Gavioli Emanuele Cavaliere Prashant Kamat
Dr. Despina Fragouli
IIT tutor
Prof. Luca Gavioli
UCSC tutor
Dr. Emanuele Cavaliere
UCSC tutor
Prof. Prashant Kamat
ND tutor

Development of nanostructured platforms for breathonomics: from surface science to devices

1 scholarship - Student: Sonia Freddi
Joint research project between Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and KU Leuven

Among forefront applications of nanostructured carbon materials such as graphene (GR) and nanotubes (CNT), breathonomics is challenging physics, chemistry and device engineering to develop extremely sensitive, selective, and stable platform to recognize ppb amount of target molecules in the environment. In this project, platforms based on CNT and GR will be developed to discriminate potential pathologies through pattern recognition in molecular fingerprint of breath samples. This objective will be realized through properly developed devices based first  on CNT and then on graphene layers. Layers characterization will involve electron and Raman spectroscopies, as well as scanning probe spectro-microscopies. All materials will be functionalized with selected molecules to make them more selective to specific target molecules. Algorithms for fast data retrieval and handling will be developed to feed statistical analysis packages for molecular fingerprint detection.

Luigi Sangaletti
Prof. Luigi Sangaletti
UCSC tutor
Prof. Steven De Feyter
KU Leuven tutor

Controlling multi-band materials via orbital manipulation

1 scholarship - Student: Paolo Franceschini
Joint research project between Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and KU Leuven

Many materials of great scientific and technological interest have an intrinsically multi-orbital electronic structure which leads to a variety of remarkable phenomena, such as metal-to-insulator phase transitions, superconductivity, exotic magnetic phases and multiferroicity.

The aim of this project is to identifying operative protocols to control the electronic properties and induce phase transitions. The key idea is that, by manipulating the occupation of different orbitals, we can change the conduction properties of the systems inducing metal-insulator transitions and orbital-selective Mott states where only the electrons in some orbitals are localized. The control of the orbital occupation will be realized by combining laser manipulation and suitable nanostructuring. These ideas will be tested on prototypical correlated materials, such as vanadium oxides (V2O3, VO2, LaVO3).

Dr. Claudio Giannetti
UCSC tutor
Prof. Jean Pierre Locquet
KU Leuven tutor
Dr. Mariela Menghini
KU Leuven tutor

Classical and noncommutative geometry applied to Quantum Hall Effect and other condensed matter problems

1 scholarship - Student: Maximiliano Sandoval
Joint research project between Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

The present project proposes some mutually intermingled research paths, mostly focussed towards classical and noncommutative geometry together with applications to modern physics issues, notably condensed matter physics, with an emphasis on Quantum Hall Effect (QHE) and its related topological aspects. TKNN-duality vs. T-duality. Braids and their application to solid state physics (QHE). Jain’s composite fermions, cyclotron braid groups. Stable bundles, generalized theta functions and knots.

Solid background in functional analysis, differential geometry and topology and in the mathematics of classical and quantum mechanics is required.

Prof. Giuseppe de Nittis
PUC tutor
Prof. Mauro Spera
UCSC tutor