School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Chiara Defilippi


PhD student



Project title: Synthesis of novel nanomaterials for applications in key energy related catalytic and electro-catalytic processes

Summary: Chiara's research focuses on the study of novel nanomaterials, ranging from design, synthesis, characterization and their applications, as alternative systems to more expensive and/or scarcer catalysts for catalytic and electro-catalytic processes, such as Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER) or ammonia decomposition.

In particular, her project deals with metallic ceramic nanoparticles (such as metal nitrides and metal carbides).

Metallic ceramics, as suggested by their name, possess an intriguing combination of properties that place them between classical ceramics and pure metals. Indeed, they show high resistance against corrosion, high melting points, extreme hardness, strength and, in some cases, brittleness; but also, they can possess magnetic properties.  More interesting, they have similar electronic structures than noble metals and, compared to their parental metals, they show comparable or superior catalytic activity.

All these characteristics make them an exciting choice or a complementing alternative to classical systems, e.g.  pure elements and metal oxides.