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TRANS-NANO Report Summary

Project ID: 614897
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Italy

Mid-Term Report Summary - TRANS-NANO (Advancing the Study of Chemical, Structural and Surface Transformations in Colloidal Nanocrystals)

The broad aim of this proposal is to investigate chemical and structural transformations in nanomaterials. There are multiple reasons for doing this. First, when materials are shrunk to nanometer sizes, they behave differently than when they are in the macroscale size, so there is a fundamental interest in it. Second, as more and more applications are claimed for nanomaterials, one needs to ascertain how potential products that incorporate nanoscale components will behave over time, as these components might age or transform much faster than expected or even evolve towards unforeseen behavior. Third, if we fully understand how materials behave at the nanoscale, we can then use this knowledge to develop new fabrication tools. During the first 30 months of life of this ERC project, we have made substantial progress on all these aspects. First, we have developed new standardized nanoscale materials that we have used as testing grounds for a wide series of external stimuli that we have applied to them (heating, exposure to ionizing radiation or oxidative/reducing environment, etching agents, acids/bases and metal cations/anions). We have carefully studied how these materials have evolved under the various stimuli, also depending on the initial structural and compositional characteristics and shape of these “testers”. From these experiments we have then learned new ways to approach applications ranging from light emitting devices, photodetectors, gas sensors, electrodes for batteries, flexible conducing components, and systems for sequestering toxic heavy metals from contaminated liquids. The next phase of the project will see more extensive application of these materials and procedures to fabricate devices such as transistors based on single nanosheets/nanowires and cost-effective solar cells built from innovative formulations of nanocrystal inks, and possibly even more elaborate nanoscale devices. We will also continue to make progress on deciphering the behavior of nanoscale objects, especially at the level of motion/displacement of individual atoms inside crystals.

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