Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy

Caterina Ducati

Caterina Ducati portrait

Reader in Nanomaterials

Laurea Università Statale di Milano
PhD University of Cambridge

+44 (0)1223 334566

High Resolution Electron Microscopy of Nanomaterials

My main research interest is nanomaterials, and in particular the relationship between their structure and their electronic and optical properties, for applications in photovoltaics, photocatalysis and electronics. We investigate nanomaterials, nanocomposites and devices at a range length scales using the advanced imaging and analytical techniques available at the Wolfson Electron Microscopy Suite.

Nanostructured metal oxides

We study nanostructured transition-metal (Ti, Zn, Sn, W) oxides to understand how the properties of individual nanoparticles affect the behaviour of nanoparticle assemblies, composites and devices. We access information on 2D and 3D morphology, crystallography, composition, electronic structure, defects, surfaces and interfaces, and aim at identifying the link between nanoscale and macroscopic properties. We work on hybrid solar cells, dye and perovskite-sensitized, bulk heterojunction solar cells, electrochemical cells, sensors and electronic devices. We are also interested in the synergy of semiconducting and metallic particles for light-activated applications.

Carbon nanotube and inorganic nanowire growth

Since the beginning of my PhD, I have been working on the characterization of carbon nanotubes and semiconductor nanowires, investigating their growth process and focusing on the rôle of the metal catalyst that assists their synthesis.  This work has recently extended to the growth of 2D nanomaterials by chemical vapour deposition, in particular to study how the metallic substrate mediates nucleation and how grain boundaries affect the quality of the overlayers. 

High-resolution TEM image of a crystalline ruthenium oxide nanorod synthesized in solution
High-resolution TEM image of a crystalline ruthenium oxide nanorod synthesized in solution
  • G. Divitini, O. Stenzel, F. Di Fonzo, C.S. Casari, V. Russo, A. Li Bassi, V. Schmidt and C. Ducati, "Nanoscale analysis of a hierarchical hybrid solar cell in 3D", Advanced Functional Materials, in press May 2014.
  • A.D. Gamalski, P.W. Voorhees, C. Ducati, R. Sharma, S. Hofmann, "Twin plane re-entrant mechanism for catalytic nanowire growth", Nano Letters, 14, 1288 (2014).
  • S. Guldin, P. Kohn, M. Stek, J. Song, G. Divitini, F. Ecarla, C. Ducati, U. Wiesner, and U. Steiner, "Self-Cleaning Antireective Optical Coatings", Nano Letters, 13, 5329-5335 (2013).
  • O. Nicoletti, F. de la Pena, R. K. Leary, D. J. Holland, C. Ducati, and P. A. Midgley, "Three-dimensional imaging of localized surface plasmon resonances of metal nanoparticles", Nature, 502, 80 (2013).