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Cristina Femoni

Associate Professor

Department of Industrial Chemistry "Toso Montanari"

Academic discipline: CHIM/03 General and Inorganic Chemistry


Keywords: Transition metals Nanoparticles Crystal structures Carbonyl metal clusters Molecular nanocapacitors

The main scientific interests and expertises, started during the Ph.D. period and matured further on, lie in the synthesis and characterization of high-nuclearity transition metal clusters stabilized by carbonyl ligands.

During her research activities Prof. Femoni has synthesised and characterized numerous new cluster species, made of metals like Ni, Pd, Pt, Co, Rh, Cu, Ag, Au, Fe. The synthesized species are both homo- and bi-metallic, and some of them contain other heteroatoms such as Sn, Sb, C, P and so on, whose role is to add additional stability to the clusters. Species containing Ni, Pt and Rh are the ones of highest nuclearity, owing to their high metal-metal bond energy and to their ability to strongly coordinate the CO ligands. This is the case, for example, of the Ni32Pt24 and the latest Rh33 clusters. Mixed systems, however, can still originate clusters of high dimensions, even entering the nanosize regime, as for the Au28Fe14 and Au34Fe14 compounds.

The interest in the metal-clusters field is justified by the fact that such compounds can be of potential interests in many areas. First of all some of them, mainly the highest-nuclearity species and/or the ones containing heteroatoms, can be multivalent and exist in more than one oxidation state, thus they can behave as molecular capacitors. They may also possess interesting magnetic properties. Second of all, especially homometallic Pt clusters have shown interesting self-assembly properties in the solid state, giving rise to crystalline infinite wires with semi-conductor properties. Third, metal clusters can represent valid precursors for preparing catalysts with specific characteristics, especially the ones containing more than one type of metal. Last but not least, as cited above, high-nuclearity clusters can reach nanometric dimensions and therefore, owing to the fact that their structure is known at molecular level, they constitute precious precursors and models for the preparation and study of metal nanoparticles.

Beside her main scientific activity, Prof. Cristina Femoni has been working with other research groups for the X-ray structural characterizations of their compounds, thank to the competences acquired during her post-doc studies and developed by working with Dr. Steiner at Liverpool University (UK).


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