PRIN 2022 / Martucci


Acronimo: ENTI
Titolo: Engineered nano-heterostructures for a new generation of titania photocatalytic films
Responsabile scientifico: prof. Alessandro MARTUCCI - Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale-Università degli Studi di PADOVA
Coordinatore: prof. Plinio INNOCENZI – Università degli Studi di SASSARI
Partern-Unità di ricerca: Università degli Studi di PERUGIA, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale-Università degli Studi di PADOVA, Università degli Studi dell’AQUILA
Bando: PRIN 2022 - Decreto Direttoriale n. 104 del 02-02-2022
Durata: 28/09/2023 – 27/09/2025 (24 mesi)
Budget totale progetto: € 338.734,00

Abstract del progetto

The preparation of highly efficient photocatalytic thin films, when excited by visible radiation, is an important scientific and technological challenge. Titania is one of the most effective photocatalytic materials under UV light but exhibits only a weak absorption in the visible because of its large bandgap. Therefore, much work has been devoted to enhancing the visible light absorption capability reducing at the same time the fast recombination of the photo-generated electron-hole pairs. The recent classification of titania micro-powders as class 2 cancer agent by inhalation (H351), reduces the possibility of developing applications based on titania nano-microparticles. Titania thin films prepared by solution processing represent a valuable non-toxic alternative.

The purpose of the project is obtaining heterojunctions heterostructures (HH) of a new generation by combining 2D-layered transition metal dichalcogenides (2D-TMD) and noble metal nanoparticles (NMPs) into highly ordered mesoporous titanium oxide layers.

Mesoporous titania films characterized by a high surface area and an organized porosity in the 2-5 nm range, represent an ideal platform for embedding in the same matrix 2D materials and NMPs to form a highly responsive photocatalytic heterostructure. To tailor the light absorption of the system within the ideal bandgap between 400 and 760 nm, increasing at the same time the photocatalytic activity, a precise theoretical guided synthesis to select the best performing heterostructures will be used. It would be studied the heterojunctions formed by titania NMPs and 2D-TMD materials, modelling at the same the nanoparticle - 2D material interfaces. Potential candidates, such as MoS2, MoSe2, WS2, will be used in combination with Au and Ag nanoparticles, to test the heterostructure capability to absorb light in the visible increasing at the same time the photocatalytic performances.

The final step of the project will be the engineering of two prototypes: (i) a self-cleaning, anti-pathogens coating, (ii) a portable gas sensor able to perform exhaled breath-analysis and (iii) developing a scalable industrial process, comprising an "all-in-one" method to be patented.