Ph.D. project title:

Nano-scale mechanical characterization in nano-materials and micro-devices for energy transition

Doctoral programme description:

The energetic and green transitions will require the development of advanced materials having specific properties (mechanical, electrical, thermal etc.) drastically superior to the conventional counterparts thanks to a topologically and physically engineered nature (physical property). In this context, advanced micro- and nano-materials and micro-devices with increased performance and sustainability represent a fundamental key to achieving the abovementioned objectives. In this highly topical context, under the need, intrinsically linked to the development of new materials, to characterize their expected behaviours (also depending on the environment in which they will be called to operate), the proposed doctoral project will develop new advanced methods of characterization micro / nano-mechanics, all about high-speed nanoindentation techniques, for the nanomechanical analysis of two main classes of advanced materials:

  • polymer microcapsules engineered for the smart-delivery of substances and/or reagents in green applications of innovative products, in collaboration with research cooperation centers and leading companies in the sector;
  • micro / nano-structured materials and topologically optimized, obtained through additive manufacturing, with potential applications in producing innovative electrodes for lithium batteries, lab-on-chip, in parallel to getting high specific strength and stiffness, in collaboration with prof. Lorenzo Valdevit of the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

The activities will include using advanced micro / nano-fabrication processes (e.g. 3D printing using double photon lithography), available at the Roma Tre University engineering department (STM group: https://stm.uniroma3.it/). They will specifically focus on the study of complex interactions that take place at the interface with engineered thin coatings and with the structural and microstructural elements of the material themselves. In addition, the student will have full access to the equipment available at the Interdepartmental Electron Microscopy Laboratory (LIME http://www.lime.uniroma3.it/) and will spend a research period (equal to six months) at the University of California Irvine (CA, USA), Institute for Design and Manufacturing Innovation (IDMI https://manufacturing.uci.edu/), in UCI.