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On January, 17th, 2013 the third Annual CNST Ph.D. Welcome Event was held.
Following Prof. Balzani and Bruno Murari, this time the guest was Prof. Giuseppe Zerbi of Politecnico di Milano.Prof. Zerbi started his career in the group of Nobel Prize Giulio Natta, and throughout his career published more than 500 papers and received countless awards. Most of his career focused on polymers and their ground state properties. Zerbi gave an historical overview on the progress in polymer science from the 50’s to now and kindly accepted to answer a couple of questions.
Researchers from CNST of IIT, in collaboration with Konarka and Politecnico di Milano, discovered a new mechanism at the heart of the physics governing Organic Solar Cells (OSC). Theoretical calculations predict efficiencies of up to 20% for OSC, but experimental evidence shows different results.
By studying a new class of promising materials, which recently brought OSC to the new record efficiency of 10%, Grancini and co-authors found where the hidden energy may lie. They discovered that in such class of materials the conversion of light into electrical power happens via an ultrafast process, a mechanism which is different from what was expected and experimentally verified in other materials of common use in OSC. This discovery could open a new point of view in the engineering of molecules and organic compounds for organic solar cells.
The study was published on Nature Materials (Nature Materials 12, 29–33 (2013) doi:10.1038/nmat3502).
Among the photovoltaic systems which promise low cost fabrication methods, hybrid solar cells (where metal oxides are interfaced to organic materials) are of great interest and dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) are a realistic option with market-appealing power conversion efficiencies above 12%. However, they still remain an interesting playground for scientists, engineers and technologists as many issues regarding the devices’ working processes still have to be fully unveiled. On top of this, long term stability is a crucial problem for the actual taking off of the technology.
Prof. Pierangelo Metrangolo received the award for best oral presentation at the fourth "International Symposium on Fluorous Technologies 2011 " which was held at City University of Hong Kong, from November 30 to December 3, 2011.
The presentation, titled Surfactants PROTEIN AT THE WATER / FLUOROUS INTERFACE (co-authors: M. Baldrighi, G. Cavallo, M. Linder, A. Milani, E. Monogioudi and G. Resnati), is the result of the collaboration between Politecnico di Milano, Italian Institute of Technology (CNST) andVTT-Technical Research Centre of Finland.