Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Research projects started in 2018

Scholarships financed by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

In 2018 there have been 4 scholarships financed by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore:

Advanced optical investigations of halide perovskites and their chemical transformations

1 scholarship - Student: Stefano Toso

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Background and motivation

The project will tackle two novel aspects. The first centers on synthesizing chemically complex hybrid perovskite nanostructures and thin films using solution chemistries. This includes mixed cation and mixed anion hybrid perovskite quantum dots, nanowires and nanoplatelets. Hybrid perovskites are important materials for the creation of next generation solar cells. Recent studies have shown that solution-processed hybrid perovskite solar cells can exhibit power conversion efficiencies exceeding 20%. There is similar interest in hybrid perovskite nanostructures where corresponding quantum dot solar cells have achieved power conversion efficiencies exceeding 13%. Despite widespread application of these materials for use in solar energy conversion, much is not understood about the basic photophysics of these materials. Consequently, the second novel aspect of the proposed work will be to conduct detailed spatially-resolved optical measurements of hybrid perovskite photophysics. For mixed cation and anion materials this includes efforts to understand light-induced cation/anion phase segregation. For analogous nanostructures such as nanowires this entails measurements of single wire excited state progressions and absorption/emission Stokes shifts.  Of note is that a debate exists regarding existence of a Stokes shift as it is not immediately predicted by certain theoretical models of the perovskite electronic structure.

The main goals of the project are:

  • Accessing the photophysics of halide perovskites
  • Optical properties of single nano-objects

Supervisors

Prof. Liberato Manna, Italian Institute of Technology (Italy)
Prof. Masaru Kuno, University of Notre Dame (U.S.A)
Dr. Francesco Banfi, Univesrità Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)

Prof. Liberato Manna
IIT tutor
Prof. Masaru Kuno
ND tutor
Dr. Francesco Banfi
UCSC tutor

Time-resolved nanoscopy

1 scholarship - Student: Iuliia Ruzankina

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Background and motivation

Joint research project between Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), University of Notre Dame du Lac (ND) and KU Leuven.
The aim of the PhD project is to develop a microscopy-oriented research platform combined with time-resolved optical spectroscopy to study single nanostructures and surface inhomogeneities with a spatial resolution of below 100 nm and a temporal resolution of the order of 100 fs.
One of the goal of this projects will be to harness the capability of super-resolution imaging methods that now can provide spatial resolution that is well below the diffraction limit (nanoscopy), approaching virtually molecular resolution.  In particular we will concentrate on label-free and white light super-resolution microscopy based on the detection of evanescent waves. Atomic force microscopy techniques will complement the optical microscopy platform to characterize the mechanical/chemical aspects of the investigated physics. Since these microscopy/nanoscopy techniques comes with novel requirements for the time-resolved optical spectroscopy, new schemes to adapt the standard pump and probe techniques to the microscopy environment will be implemented.
Finally, it will be important to pay attention to the data interpretation strategies, also in view of the data storage and management needed in experiments where a great deal of spectroscopic information is potentially available in each pixel of an image.

Supervisors

Prof. Gregory Hartland, University of Notre Dame (USA)
Dr. Eduard Fron, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Prof. Gabriele Ferrini, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)

Info

ghartlan@nd.edu
eduard.fron@kuleuven.be
gabriele.ferrini@unicatt.it

Prof. Greg Hartland
ND tutor
Dr. Eduard Fron
KU tutor
Prof. Gabriele Ferrini
UCSC tutor

Quantum field theory, holography and AdS/CFT

1 scholarship - Student: Nicolò Zenoni

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Background and motivation

Anti de Sitter / Conformal Field Theory (AdS/CFT) correspondence gives us a unique opportunity both to study strongly coupled field theory systems in a controlled setting and to address fundamental questions in quantum gravity with quantum field theory tools. Candidates are expected to carry out a PhD in Theoretical Physics in Quantum Field Theory and Gauge/Gravity duality.

The main goals of the project are to acquire a solid knowledge in theoretical physics in order to conduct independent research in the following topics:

  • Renormalization group flows in quantum field theory and holography,
  • Non-relativistic field theories and their holographic duals,
  • Supersymmetric theories at strong coupling,
  • Black Holes and gravity duals of quantum information concepts such as entropy and complexity,
  • Conformal field theories and anomalies.

The candidate is also expected to proactively carry out the research project, interacting with the theory staff of UCSC, KU Leuven and other Universities (e.g. University of Milano Bicocca, University of Pisa, and possibly others).

Supervisors

Roberto Auzzi and Giuseppe Nardelli, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)
Nikolay Bobev, KU Leuven (Belgium)

Info

roberto.auzzi@unicatt.it
giuseppe.nardelli@unicatt.it
nikolay.bobev@kuleuven.be

Prof. Roberto Auzzi
UCSC tutor
Prof. Giuseppe Nardelli
UCSC tutor
Prof. Nikolay Bobev
KU tutor

Size-resolved aerosol particle deposition to european broadleaved forests

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Background and motivation

Airborne particulate matter (PM) is a subject of major concern in Europe because it has been attributed to the most severe health effects. Vegetation is likely to play an important role in mitigating this source of air pollution because of the large surface area offered by leaves to filter PM out of the air. Many studies aimed at quantifying the dry deposition of PM to vegetation, particularly in forests. However the characterization of the exchange processes are still incomplete. PM deposited on leaves, for example, can be re-suspended in air, while the only process that represents the ultimate removal of PM from the atmosphere is the washing off by precipitation dripping from leaves to the soil. Up to now only a couple of models attempted to include the above-mentioned processes in their formulation, but their description is far from truly mechanistic and should be still validated. The aim of this PhD project is the micrometeorological characterization of the size-resolved PM deposition and resuspension processes to European broadleaved forests under different climatic conditions with related possible physiological interactions. The research will consist of a combination of experimental and observational work both in the field (eddy covariance) and in the Lab (wind tunnel or growth chambers) with the aim to improve the actual deposition models.

Supervisors

Prof. Giacomo Al. Gerosa: tel + 39 030 2406724
Prof. Bart Muys: tel +32 16 32 97 26

Info

giacomo.gerosa@unicatt.it
bart.muys@kuleuven.be

Prof. Giacomo Gerosa
UCSC tutor
Prof. Bart Muys
KU tutor