I studied Physics Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Milano, Italy), where I earned a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree. Both of them consisted mainly of solid state physics classes, with a particular focus on semiconductors (for electronics and photonics application) and magnetic nanostructures. My first experience in research was at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (Grenoble, France), where I spent 10 months working as a trainee for my master thesis project.
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The aim of this research project is to investigate the connections between structural and chemical properties in catalytic systems with the use of surface x-ray scattering techniques.
Establishing relationships between structure and activity is a main question in fundamental and applied heterogeneous catalysis research owing to the complex structures they display. It is well known from ex situ structural characterisation that the morphology, composition and crystalline structure of the catalysts evolve during catalytic reactions. The main scientific challenge for understanding such processes is the ability to accurately determine the behaviour/structure of the surface or species at the surface under operating conditions.
In this project the student will have the unique opportunity to exploit the combination of an high brilliance synchrotron source with the capabilities offered by the use of surface X-ray scattering techniques to investigated in real time the behaviour of catalytic materials in reaction conditions.
For this purpose a high pressure flow reactor will be designed, commissioned and applied to Operando Grazing Incidence Small-Angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) and Grazing Incidence X-ray Diffraction (GIXD) experiments in order to collect structural and chemical information over a range of length scales, from sub-angstrom positional information of atoms up to nanoscale organization.
This system aims to be the first of its kind, capable to reach operational pressure conditions during GISAXS/GIXD experiments and will be developed in the frame of a collaboration between UCL@Harwell and the I07 surface and interface diffraction beamline of Diamond Light Source.
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