Nanomaterials for Energy Applications

Group Leader: dr. Andrea Baldi

In the Nanomaterials for Energy Applications (NEA) Laboratory at DIFFER we use nanotechnology to improve the performance of energy conversion and energy storage materials. In particular, we explore new synthetic routes for the preparation of metallic and hybrid metal-semiconductor nanoparticles used to enhance solar-to-fuel generation. Furthermore, we study the effect of exciting plasmon resonances on metal nanoparticles used in heterogeneous catalytic processes. Finally, we study energy storage processes in nanostructured materials using a combination of in-situ microscopy techniques.

Nanomaterials, roughly defined as structures between 1 and 100 nanometers, offer a wide range of unique properties, making them an ideal playground in the search for new functionalities in energy research. For example, light absorption in solar cells and solar-to-fuel devices can be enhanced with the help of properly sculpted nanoparticles. Similarly, plasmon resonances can activate different reaction pathways at the surface of metal nanoparticles and modify their selectivity in heterogeneous catalysis. Finally, nanostructured energy storage materials can provide faster and longer lasting electrodes for future battery technologies.