The group’s research activity is focused on the investigation of soft materials, in particular novel liquid crystals, polymers and biosystems, of potential interest for innovative applications in the fields of nano- and bio-technologies, such as electronic and photonic devices, materials for integrated optics and sensors, nano-patterning and nano-lithography, high mechanical-performance materials, biomaterials for nanomedicine and biosensing.
The research is based on the study of the relationships between the peculiar macroscopic properties of these materials and their structure at the nanoscale. To this end, a key role is played by X-ray diffraction and scattering techniques (XRD, SAXS, XRR, GIXRD, GISAXS) used as the primary tool of experimental investigation. Investigated soft materials include: thermotropic liquid crystals, metallorganic liquid crystals, liquid crystal polymers, dye-doped liquid crystals, polymer dispersed liquid crystals, polymer-based hybrid nanocomposites, block copolymers, lyotropic liquid crystals of biological interest.
The group, led by Prof. Oriano Francescangeli, operates in the field of soft condensed matter and nanotechnology. It includes researchers with different background and expertise (physics, chemistry, engineering) working in a collaborative environment on highly multidisciplinary research topics.