Nanoscale Materials Laboratory

Welcome to the Nanoscale Materials Lab

The Nanoscale Materials Laboratory, jointly established on the basis of an official agreement by the Department of Physics of the University of Trieste and Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste, hosts researchers and students carrying out experimental activities in the fields of Surfaces, 2D Materials and Atomic Clusters Physics, in close collaboration with scientists from Elettra. Besides the other instruments the nmLab host ENAC (Exact Number of Atoms in each Cluster) the size-selected nanocluster source.
Since 2000 more than 80 students have carried out experimental work at the Nanoscale Materials Laboratory in preparation of their Master's degree thesis in Physics, as well as in the framework of the PhD programs of the Doctoral Course of Nanotechnology and Physics. In addition the Laboratory hosts the Training Activity of the course Laboratorio di Fisica dei Nanomateriali for the undergraduate students in Physics of UniTS. 


Research Highlights | Publications

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The smallest Silver oxide

Surprisingly bulk-like structural motifs appear in Silver-oxides already in the sub-nanoscale regime. Thanks to the new size-selected cluster source developed in the Lab we measured at the SuperESCA beamline the unusual process of Ag oxidation at T=20 K.

F. Loi et al., J. Mater. Chem. A 27, 14594 (2022)

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Unusual reversibility of molecular break-up

Pentacene molecules adsorbed on Ir(111) can undergo a reversible deydrogenation process that can be engineered to produce polyacenes, via on-surface synthesis.

Selected for the back cover of  Vol.12, Iss. 1

D. Curcio et al.Chemical Science 12, 170 (2021)

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It's a matter of transparency to van der Waals forces

The van der Waals interactions between light adsorbates with polar (Carbon Monoxide) and non-polar (Argon) character and a metal surface are partially screened by graphene which shows a translucency parameter equal to 0.507. 

F. Presel et al., ACS Nano 13, 12230 (2019)

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Epitaxial graphene boosts photocatalysis in titania nanoparticles

The choice of an interfacial layer of epitaxial graphene to support titania nanoparticles has been revealed as a key ingredient to dramatically increase their capability to split water and produce hydrogen. 

D. De Angelis et al., Carbon 157, 350 (2020)

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The role of carbon monomers and dimers in graphene growth

We show that the growth kinetics are controlled by a complex interplay between the diffusion of the carbon precursors on the growing graphene islands and their desorption. 

F. Presel et al.Nanoscale 10, 7396 (2018)

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Molecular twisting, lifting and curling

Coronene molecules undergo major conformational changes during surface-assisted dissociation on Ir(111): they tilt upward, then they undergo  a rotation and they settle to form a dome-shaped nanographene.

D. Curcio et al., J. Am Chem. Soc.  138, 3395 (2016).

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nmLab 2022

Nanoscale Materials Lab News

20 september

Luca was awared the PhD in Physics.

We are really glad to inform you that Luca Sbuelz graduated in Physics at the University of Trieste by discussing his research results centered on the development and on the first experiments using ENAC, the new size-selected cluster source of the lab. The thesis is entitled  "Study of physical properties of mass selected atomic nanoclusters deposited on solid surfaces”.
Luca has been the driving force to have ENAC working amazingly well at the SuperESCA beamline of Elettra to start our new adventure on the third-dimension of the periodic table.
Best wished to Luca for its new job !

Tante grazie Luca !!!



14 october

The first "Master in Chemistry" from the Lab

It is with great joy that we announce that Nicolas Fonda, student of the Master of Science in Chemistry program of the University of Trieste,  has completed his master's degree by discussing the experimental results he obtained with us: "An x-ray absorption study of size-selected clusters: a combined experimental and theoretical approach"
We are really glad to continue this collaboration with the new PhD research program he is going to follow at the University of Udine.

Thanks Nicolas !!!


21 october

We succeded twice in a single day !
A special and unforgettable day for the Lab

Today we celebrate Deborah Perco and Andrea Berti who managed to defend their Master thesis in Physics in the final public examination.
Deborah discussed her work entitled "Generation of sub-nanometer size-selected iron clusters and study of their oxidation process by means of X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy". Andrea presented the results of his research entitled "Growth and characterization of a novel two dimensional material: platimum dioxide"
It is the first time that the lab obtain a final overall grade of

220/220 cum double laude !!!! 

Proud of our master's students

(soon becoming our PhD students)

Deborah Thesis

Andrea Thesis

Nanoscale Materials Lab News Archive


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Last Updated on Saturday, 05 November 2022 20:40