Fuel Cells and Water Remediation


The main issue in this field is in fact the necessity of reducing the amount of precious metal catalyst and of finding protonic exchange polymeric membrane alternative to expensive NAFION. Fuel Cells for portable applications can take advantage from dry plasma technologies

Over the last decade, heterogeneuos photocatalysis has shown tremendous promise for the effective degradation of organic pollutants in water. Recently, immobilization of photocatalyst (e.g., TiO2 and ZnO) nanopowders on suitable substrates has attracted growing interest because it eliminates costly post-treatment separation processes and allows multiple catalyst recycling.

Oil/water separation materials have received considerable attention in recent years because of environmental problems associated with oily wastewater and oil spills.

Electrocatalytic layers

High performance electrocatalytic hydrocarbon thin films containing Pt nano-clusters can be deposited by simultaneous plasma polymerization of a monomer and sputtering of a Pt target. The proposed synthetic approach largely simplifies the PEMFC electrocatalyst fabrication process with respect to conventional methods.

The strategy carried out in our lab consists in a one-step simultaneous metal sputtering and plasma polymerization from a suitable monomer forming the embedding matrix. This approach allows for choosing the metal catalyst/or oxide independent from the matrix, which limit aggregation of the catalyst detrimental for eletrocatalyst performance

Protonic Membrane layers

Proton exchange membranes for fuel cells are typically made of a perfluorinated polymer matrix bearing phosphonic acid (–PO3H) or carboxylic acid (–COOH), or more often, sulfonic acid (–SO3H). The role of the electrolyte membrane in the fuel cell is to provide the transport of protons from the anode where the protons are produced, to the cathode where they are consumed by reduction with oxygen into water. It is essential to miniaturize conventional fuel cells components for portable devices. deposition from vapor phase, as PECVD or iCVD is advantageous since are dry processes compatible with microelectronic miniaturization

Photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants

The research is focused on the atmospheric plasma deposition of thin films containing photocatalyst nanoparticles and characterized by high photocatalytic activity and recyclability.Thin films containing TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles are deposited on different substrates by aerosol-assisted process in which a dispersion of preformed nanoparticles in a suitable solvent are in injected in aerosol form in an atmospheric cold plasma

Oil/water separation

The research is focused on the optimization of unique atmospheric plasma processes for the preparation of novel filtration or absorbing materials exhibiting opposite wettability behavior towards water and oil and consequently suitable for the effective separation of oil from water through selective filtration or absorption, respectively. Preparation of filtration materials for oil/water separation by atmospheric pressure plasma deposition of superhydrophobic/superoleophilic coatings on different substrates, such as fabrics, meshes, membranes.

Optimization of unique atmospheric plasma processes able to modify the outer and inner surfaces of porous absorbent materials, such as polymeric sponges, to achieve simultaneous superhydrophobic/superoleophilic properties

Facilities & Labs


Francesco FracassiFrancesco


Associate Professor



CNR Researcher



CNR Researcher

Antonella MilellaAntonella


Associate Researcher


  1. A.M Coclite, P. Lund, R. Di Mundo, F. Palumbo, Novel hybrid fluoro-carboxylated copolymers deposited by initiated chemical vapor deposition as protonic membranes, Polymer 54 (1), pp. 24-30. (2013)DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2012.11.004
  2. Dilonardo, A. Milella, F. Palumbo, J. Thery, S. Martin, G. Barucca, P. Mengucci, R. D’Agostino, F. Fracassi, Plasma deposited Pt-containing hydrocarbon thin films as electrocatalysts for PEM fuel cell, Journal of Materials Chemistry, 20 (45), pp. 10224-10227 (2010),DOI: 10.1039/c0jm01300e
  3. Fanelli, AM. Mastrangelo, N. De Vietro, F. Fracassi, Preparation of multifunctional superhydrophobic nanocomposite coatings by aerosol-assisted atmospheric cold plasma deposition,   Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters, 7 (1), pp. 84-88. (2015), DOI: 10.1166/nnl.2015.1943
  4. Fanelli, AM. Mastrangelo, F. Fracassi, Aerosol-assisted atmospheric cold plasma deposition and characterization of superhydrophobic organic-inorganic nanocomposite thin films, Langmuir, 30 (3), pp. 857-865, (2014)

Latest News

Technology Trasfer in Nanotechnology

Technology Transfer in Nanotechnology: Challenges and Opportunity

Lecce, 18/19 ottobre 2018

CNR NANOTEC c/o Campus Ecotekne

JRC in collaboration with the National Research Council (Cnr) is organising a workshop on Technology Transfer in Nanotechnology,

which will take place in CNR Nanotec (Lecce, Italy) on 18 and 19 October. This workshop is organised in the framework of the TTO-CIRCLE initiatives.   The aim of this event is to explore how technology transfer activities can be used as a mechanism to help EU industry, particularly Start-ups and SMEs, and Government in deploying and adopting Nano-technology. Practical examples will be presented to illustrate the potential of technology transfer in this area.   The workshop will gather technology providers, industry executives, technology transfer officers, policy makers and financial intermediaries to share experiences and lessons learned. One of the key objectives is to discuss policy implications at all levels that could help accelerating the adoption of Nanotechnology by the European manufacturing industry. More informations: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/communities/community/european-tto-circle/event/technology-transfer-nanotechnology Download Locandina

Nanotechnology Transfer Day

26 Luglio 2018 - Lecce

CNR NANOTEC c/o Campus Ecotekne Siglato l’accordo lo scorso maggio tra CNR NANOTEC e Pairstech Capital Management, ha preso il via la collaborazione con PhD TT per la valutazione della ricerca

E’partita la collaborazione con PhD TT per la valorizzazione della ricerca sulla base dell’accordo siglato lo scorso Maggio tra CNR NANOTEC e Pairstech Capital Management, società di gestione patrimoniale che fornisce agli investitori istituzionali e privati un insieme di veicoli di investimento, al fine di valorizzare i risultati della ricerca svolta all'interno dell'Istituto.

Giovedì 19 Luglio dalle ore 11 alle ore 14 nella sede del CNR Nanotec di Lecce si è tenuto un incontro sul trasferimento tecnologico nel settore delle nanotecnologie applicate al settore biomedicale.

L’evento è stato organizzato dall’ufficio di Trasferimento Tecnologico del CNR Nanotec che ha inaugurato con questa giornata un ciclo di eventi mirato a presentare agli attori dell’ecosistema dell’innovazione nel settore delle nanotecnologie i vari modelli e alcune best practice di trasferimento tecnologico. In questa prima giornata il dott. Heber Verri e la dott.ssa Paola Urbani hanno presentato il nuovo modello di trasferimento tecnologico PhD TTãIndex Model.

PhD TT è una realtà italiana completamente indipendente specializzata in trasferimento tecnologico, è un acceleratore organizzato per il Go to Venture Practice, orientata al mondo delle Lifes Sciences.

PhD TT ha sviluppato un nuovo modello di trasferimento tecnologico: il PhD TT©INDEX MODEL dedicato alla generazione di valore dell'innovazione, focalizzato alla riduzione dei rischi delle opportunità di investimento a sostegno della ricerca.

I ricercatori intervengono attivamente nell'analisi iniziale di fattibilità e nella costituzione della futura società (start-up), con l'obiettivo di attrarre capitale di rischio utile a sostenere la fase del trasferimento tecnologico nella visione della "Research for go-to-market".

Il modello PhD TT nasce da un bisogno del mercato, quello di far dialogare due mondi estremamente diversi tra loro: il mondo della ricerca e il mondo degli investimenti.

PhD TT supporta tutte le attività in collaborazione con il TTO - CNR Nanotec con un team di lavoro esperto e grazie a un comitato scientifico-economico qualificato.

In occasione dell'evento del 19/7 u.s. al CNR Nanotec di Lecce, PHD TT ha presentato il proprio track record, dove si sono potuti valutare in dettaglio i casi di successo di intervento del PhD TT©INDEX MODEL.

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Disordered serendipity: a glassy path to discovery

A workshop in honour of Giorgio Parisi’s 70th birthday

September 19-21, 2018 - Roma

Sapienza University

With the occasion of celebrating Giorgio Parisi 70th birthday, the conference "Disordered serendipity: a glassy path to discovery" brings to Rome many among the world-leading experts in the field of complex systems. In order to properly represent the many fields of research where Giorgio Parisi gave a relevant contribution in his studies of disordered systems, the conference covers a broad spectrum of topics: from  fundamental and rigorous analysis of the statistical mechanics of disorder systems to applications in biology and computer science. These subjects are deeply interconnected since they are characterized by the presence of glassy behavior.



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