Multifunctional Oxides & Smart Coatings

A wide range of metal-oxides exhibit intriguing properties and multiple functionalities. These materials are the subject of many experimental and theoretical studies, since they have found broad applications in different fields from microelectronics to catalysis, energy saving and production. At the same time, the sensitive nature of chemical and physical properties of metal-oxides to the microstructure and interfaces has created challenges and opportunities to materials and physics research communities. Synergistic research efforts of material growth, processing, characterization, and theoretical modeling of microstructures and properties are active in the following topics:

  1. High-K and dielectrics
  2. Transparent conductive oxides, TCOs
  3. Smart coatings

Oxides (high-K, ceramics and TCOs)

Exploitation of oxides thin films and nanoparticles (ZnO, In2O3, NiO, Er2O3, high-K, TCOs,..) requires growth optimization and study of their magnetic, optical and electrical properties as well as elucidation of the correlation structure-nanodimension-properties-functionlity. To this aim, activities are focused on:

  1. Developing and understanding novel MOCVD and plasma growth processes to improve materials quality, also through the synthesis and testing of novel MOCVD growth precursor
  2. Optimization of oxides growth by plasma oxidation and sputtering processing. Various plasma configurations (remote plasma, radiofrequency, ECR, ..) are investigated.
  3. Post growth processing by annealing and plasmas to tailor optical and electrical properties
  4. Oxide surfaces functionalization for diverse areas of applications in catalysis, corrosion, gas sensing, and micro- and optoelectronics.
  5. Design, growth and optimization of new transparent oxide and nitride based thin films and multilayers with tuned optical and electrical properties.

Our strategy for materials and processes optimization is based on the exploitation of

In-situ real time multidiagnostics to control and understand reactions kinetics and dynamics in gas phase as well as on the surface of the growing oxide.

Th3e in-situ measurements are corroborated by extensive characterization by XRD, AFM, SEM, XPS, Raman spectroscopy, conductivity measurements.

Representative achieved results can be summarized as:

  1. Plasma assisted MOCVD processes for depositing novel Er2O3, HfO2, and ZnO thin films and nanostructures with tailored optical and electrical properties
  2. Analysis and tailoring of interfaces in perovskite oxides based heterojunctions
  3. Charge and sheet resistance tailoring in TCOs through post-growth processing
  4. Optimization of ITO microstructure and conductivityby remote plasma processing


Smart Coatings

Smart coatings are capable of adapting some properties dynamically to an external stimulus in its environment (i.e. pressure, light, heat, etc.,) and react in a predictable and possibly reversible fashion. Potential applications of such coatings is in various research fields including controllable biofuel cells, bioelectronic devices, stimuli responsive biosensors and biomaterials, drug delivery.

Strategies used to advance research in the field consist of:

  1. pH-responsive coatings- co-deposition by low pressure plasma enhanced vapour deposition fed with acid and/or basic precursors.
  2. Pulsed plasma of NIPAM and alikes can lead to Thermoresponsive coatings.
  3. ZnO- or TiO2-containing coatings showing changes in water contact angle upon UV light irradiation. The coatings are deposited using aerosol-assisted plasma processes in which dispersions of ZnO or TiO2 nanoparticles are injected in aerosol form in the atmospheric plasma

Facilities & Labs

NanoChem @ URT Bari




CNR Director of Research



Associate CNR Director of Research



CNR Researcher



Associate Professor

mariamichelgiangregorio_researcherMaria Michela


CNR Researcher



CNR Technician



CNR Researcher



CNR Researcher

Francesco FracassiFrancesco


Associate Professor


  1. M.M. Giangregorio, G.V. Bianco, P. Capezzuto, G. Bruno, M. Losurdo, H2 and N2 Remote Plasma Processing of Wurtzite-Like Oxides: Implications for Energy Applications, Plasma Process. Polym. 13, 147–160 (2016). DOI: 10.1002/ppap.201500210
  2. S. Battiato, · M. M Giangregorio, · M. Ri. Catalano, ·R. Lo Nigro · MARIA LOSURDO, · G. Malandrino, Morphology-controlled synthesis of NiO films: the role of the precursor and the effect of the substrate nature on film structural/optical properties, RSC Adv., 2016, 6, 30813 DOI: 10.1039/c6ra05510a
  3. Bruno, M. M. Giangregorio, G. Malandrino, P. Capezzuto, I. L. Fragala`, M. Losurdo, Is There a ZnO Face Stable to Atomic Hydrogen? Adv. Mater. 21, 1700-1706 (2009)DOI: 10.1002/adma.200802579
  4. Maryline Moreno-Couranjou, Fabio Palumbo, Eloisa Sardella, Gilles Frache, Pietro Favia, Patrick Choquet Plasma Deposition of Thermo-Responsive Thin Films from N-Vinylcaprolactam, Plasma Processes and Polymers, Vol 11, Issue 9, pages 816–821, 2014, DOI: 10.1002/ppap.201400019
  5. 5.Eloisa Sardella, Pietro Favia, Elena Dilonardo, Luigi Petrone and Riccardo d’Agostino, PE-CVD of Acid/Base Coatings from Acrylic Acid and Allylamine Vapours, Plasma Processes and Polymers,Vol. 4, Issue Supplement 1, pages S781–S783, 2007, DOI: 10.1002/ppap.200731904



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