University of Padua

Dating back to 1222, the University of Padova (UNIPD) is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious seats of learning.

In the international rankings UNIPD performs among the best Italian universities. In the 2019 QS ranking, UNIPD falls in the top-100 world universities in the «Natural Sciences» and «Engineering» subject areas.

UNIPD manages ca. 100 European research projects, most of which are funded within Horizon 2020. These projects provided an EU contribution of more than 30 M€; they involve 23 Departments and 2 Research Institutes of UNIPD.

UNIPD hosts 14 projects funded by the European Research Council (ERC).
ERC projects study ground-breaking topics and are led by excellent scientists, who chose UNIPD to carry out their outstanding research activities.

In addition to Horizon 2020 projects, UNIPD has obtained funds from research programs (both EU and non-EU) in all the different panorama of research topics, including arts and humanities. The great variety of projects financed by research programs is a clear indicator of the excellent research performance of UNIPD.

Internationalisation policies of UNIPD:

Mission: (i) strengthen the international vocation of the University and (ii) increase the number of students and researchers/professors from abroad, with the purpose to promote diversity and improve the position of UNIPD in international rankings.
↳ International Mobility.
↳ International university cooperation.
↳ Project counselling and management (Education and training projects).
↳ Networking.
Focus on: (i) targeted activities (within UNIPD); and (ii) agreements and relations with top-level Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), especially within international networks.

Chemistry of Materials for the Metamorphosis and the Storage of Energy “CheMaMSE”:

Host: Section of Chemistry for Technology in the Department of Industrial Engineering
Team Leader: Prof. Vito Di Noto
Group members:
↳ Five permanent research staff: Prof. Vito Di Noto, prof. Gianni Cavinato, Dr. Giuseppe Pace, Dr. Enrico Negro, Dr. Fosca Conti
↳ Four Post-docs: Dr. Keti Vezzù, Dr. Angeloclaudio Nale, Dr. Gioele Pagot, Dr. Chuanyu Sun
↳ Three scholarship holder: Mr. Yannick Bang, Mr. Federico Brombin, Mr. Giovanni Crivellaro

Laboratory “Chemistry of Materials for the Metamorphosis and the Storage of Energy – CheMaMSE”

Research Topic: Synthesis, characterization and tests in prototype devices of advanced functional materials for application in electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices (e.g., secondary batteries, fuel cells, redox flow batteries).

Facilities: chemical and structural analysis (EA, ICP-AES, HR-TGA, TMDSC, DMA, XRD, FT-IR); “ex-situ” electric measurements (BES, CV, …), battery assembly, charge/discharge tests.

CheMaMSE know-how covers all the fundamental steps involved in the value chain.

Current activities:
↳ Development of cathodes and anodes for secondary batteries running on Li, Mg, Na and other alkaline and alkaline-earth elements.
↳ Development of electrolytes (polymeric, single ion conductor, ionic liquids) for both Li-based and “beyond-Li” secondary batteries.
↳ Study of the interplay between the physicochemical properties and the conduction mechanism of electrolytes and cathodes of secondary batteries.

Competences/Products of CheMaMSE group:

Determination of the chemical composition of the «functional components»: Elemental analysis (EA) and Inductively-Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES).

Determination of the thermomechanical properties of the «functional components»:
High-Resolution Thermogravimetry (HR-TGA) → determination of the thermal stability.
Temperature Modulated Differential Scanning Calorimetry (TMDSC) → determination of phase transitions.
Temperature Modulated Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) → determination of the mechanical relaxations.

Determination of the short-range structure and functional groups of the materials: Vibrational Spectroscopies.

Several accessories are available:

Attenuated total reflectance (ATR) → for thin films and highly absorbing materials.
Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (DRIFTS) → powder samples, highly absorbing samples.

Study of the structure of the materials: Powder X-ray diffraction (XRD).

Two types of measurement have been implemented:
Regular reflection measuremements.
Transmission measurements → for samples which cannot be exposed to the atmosphere.

Determination of the morphology of “functional components”: SEM, HR-SEM and HR-TEM.

To investigate:
↳ The surface of the electrolytes and electrode materials and of the “interface systems”.
↳ The different domains in the nano- and mesoscale.

Determination of the chemical composition and oxidation states of “functional components”:

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF).

Determination of the electric response of the «functional components»: Broadband Electrical Spectroscopy (BES).
Home-made instrumentations are adopted to explore the following phase space:
↳ Environmental control: -190°C<T < 450°C;
↳ Frequency range: from 10-5 Hz to 20 GHz;
↳ Relative humidity: Dew Point from 20 to 99°C, at 20 < T < 140°C;
↳ Gas pressure range: 1 < P < 130 bar.
A variety of physical phenomena can be studied, including interphase boundaries, phase transitions and electrical relaxations.
The charge conduction mechanism can be studied at a high level of detail

Electrode inks are distributed on the appropriate substrate by means of a CAD dispenser, yielding the electrocatalytic layers.

«Ex-situ» electrochemical testing allows to study the electrode configurations in «ideal» conditions, neglecting most mass and charge transport issues. The following figures can be determined in detail:
↳ Overpotential and reaction mechanism of the process of interest.
↳ Features of the electrochemically active surface area.
↳ Tolerance to contaminants.
↳ Tolerance to accelerated ageing protocols.