Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - INTERNEW (Innovative interfaces for energy-related applications)

The general objective of the project is to build up an extended research international partnership focused on the developing of new heterointerfaces to be applied for specific energy-related applications, their advanced characterization at the nanoscale level with state-of-the-art techniques and their integration in prototype devices.

Through the exchange of experienced and early stage researchers and through the realization of different activities the twofold objective of developing new energy-related nanomaterials and strengthening the networking activities of the Consortium must be addressed, in view of future long lasting collaborations and joint research projects at international level.

From the scientific point of view, the project focuses on the development and investigation of a new class of composite nanomaterials for specific energy-related applications. In most cutting edge applications related to energy harnessing, harvesting and storage, nanomaterials are playing mayor role in enhancing and optimizing device performances, while maintaining affordable production costs for their effective exploitation. Production of nanomaterials by design allows possibility of fine tuning the morphological and structural properties of complex structures, which result in new and/or modified functionalities at the nanoscale and at the macro scale, as a consequence. Critical role in determining such new properties is played by the interfaces among different nanomaterials, which regulate most of the physical and chemical characteristics of the new materials, like electronic band structure, optical properties, electron transport properties, etc. As a few examples, Lithium ion intercalation in Li-ion batteries, electron transport in excitonic solar cells, and charge injection phenomena in photoelectrochemical systems are mostly regulated by the status of the interface at the nanoscale of suitably prepared nanomaterials addressing specific tasks like, for instance, regulating physical and/or chemical sorption, intercalation, and electrochemical reactions, inhibiting charge recombination through charge screening during electron transport, fastening exciton dissociation and charge injection from visible light absorbers (being either organic dyes and metal-organic dyes or inorganic quantum dots). For these reasons accurate and complete characterization of hetero-interfaces is a major issue for the development of advanced materials for energy applications. Two Work Packages have been devoted to these scientific activities, namely WP1, focusing on the production and characterization of new heterointerfaces, and WP2 dedicated to the integration in devices of three different categories: (i) excitonic solar cells (XSCs), (ii) Li-ion batteries and (iii) photocatalysts.

More in detail, the work performed so far has been focused several topics. First of all, the fabrication and characterization of metal oxide-metal oxide and carbon-metal oxide heterostructures to be tested as photocatalysts and as active electrode materials in Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors has been carried out, and the deposition of metal oxide onto carbonaceous materials has been pursued for fabricating catalyst materials for the oxygen evolution reaction. Moreover, metal oxide hetero-nanostructures has been fabricated for improving the efficiency of solar cells, showing an increase the photogenerated electron-hole pair lifetime. Carbon-nanotube-based and graphene-based Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells have been fabricated and characterized, as well as interfaces of epitaxial manganite films, with the aim of correlating the structural and compositional parameters with the functional properties of the heterostructures and of the fabricated devices. In parallel, the interaction of photo-active silicon nanoclusters with graphene has been investigated, with the aim of pursuing their potentialities in the fabrication and integration of a new class of organic-inorganic hybrid materials for solar energy conversion. Graphene has been exploited in the development of new photoanodes for excitonic solar cells as well. Finally, Lithium-Sulfur batteries has been introduced in the batteries lines developed among the partners, with the goal to determine the basic configurations and the possible improvements and to deeply study the lithiation/delithiation kinetics mechanisms and the properties of the materials prepared so far in terms of stability and charging capabilities.

INTERNEW lies at the intersection of very different scientific and technical fields belonging to nanotechnology, materials synthesis, nanoscale characterization and device fabrication strategies, whereby the challenge lies in the controlled fabrication of new nanomaterial to be applied in energy-related end-user devices. INTERNEW brings together internationally recognized groups with a global spread, and expertise covering the various aspects of innovative research and development as well as the training of the next generation scientists with extensive multidisciplinary skills. By analyzing the aims and scopes of H2020, INTERNEW is pursuing the development of top level research on one of the most critical fields in the EU and worldwide scenario of sustainable development. INTERNEW will pave the way for technological exploitation of new prototype devices, with potential benefits not only from the viewpoint of fundamental science, but also for social life and development of a “green society”, which is exactly what H2020 is expecting.
The European industry is currently under significant competitive pressures from developed and low-wage economies, which makes it inevitable to keep abreast with the trends of scientific and industrial research in other continents. International cooperation, as conceptualized in INTERNEW, with industrialized nations like Canada and Korea will establish new ties in the field of renewable energy technology, which had wide-reaching implications in different sectors of the modern society. This partnership can enable the development of new products and transfer of technology to new markets.

Reported by



Life Sciences
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top