The central endeavor in our laboratory is identifying and detailing key structure-property relationships in molecular or polymeric materials. In our investigations, we exploit experimental techniques and theoretical modelling, that we jointly adopt to characterize the structure and the properties of crystalline, semicrystalline or amorphous, organic, inorganic, metal-organic and hybrid materials. On the application side, we are interested in organic and metal-organic electronics, spintronics, sustainable energy production and storage, biomaterials for health care, and molecular toxicology.
The experimental techniques are mainly based on X-ray diffraction (WAXD, SAXS, single crystal diffraction). X-rays and other radiations (neutrons, electrons, muons) are used at large scale facilities, for example at the Paul Scherrer Institute, in Villigen (CH). Spectroscopic and calorimetric techniques, such as impedance spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry, are also employed. These enable investigating the dynamics and morphologies of the samples. With respect to modelling, a broad range of methods are adopted: ab initio molecular quantum mechanics, quantum crystallography, and molecular dynamics with atomistic and coarse-grained models.
Where necessary, these methods can be combined within a multi-scale approach. These methodologies are used to predict and rationalize the structure of macro- and nano-crystals and their surfaces, or otherwise of amorphous materials and polymer solutions. The focus is on bulk properties (electro-optic, magnetic, mechanical) as well as on surface properties (adsorption and adhesion phenomena).