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Research Zernike (ZIAM) News Seminars

dr. Guiseppe Portale: Polymers for energy: interplay between structure and properties

When:Mo 12-05-2014 13:15 - 14:15


Functional polymers bearing specific chemical groups are interesting for their biological, electronic, optical and transport properties both in solution as well as in the solid state. In particular, extensive research efforts are devoted to the development of polymers for renewable energy applications. The understanding of the structure-property relationships of novel compounds is a crucial step to develop novel architectures in a more controlled fashion.

The first part of the talk will be devoted to ion conducting polymers (ionomers). T he microstructure of ionomers is still a controversial topic. The structure of classical and novel ionomer membranes will be discussed in terms of a new structural model that describes the local structure of water inside membranes as locally flat “film-like” structures. Recent studies on the microstructural changes of ionomer membranes under controlled temperature and humidity conditions that mimic the real environment of a realistic fuel cell will be illustrated.

In the second part of my talk, I will focus on the structural investigation of polymers and polymer/nanoparticles self-assembled systems in thin films. The effect of adding block copolymers on the active layer of organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices has been proven to be a successful synthetic approach to increase the efficiency of OPVs and overcome the annealing step. Self-assembly of metal-polymer core-shell nanoparticles followed by thermal degradation of the polymer shell can be used to "print" large area metal nano patterned structures that shows promising applications for plasmonic solar cells.