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The group has its research focus on optical and electrical properties of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, on metal nanostructures, graphene, and on hybrid systems that benefit from advantageous properties of those materials. Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals can be excellent light emitters or absorbers, and the optical properties like for example the light emission wavelength, direction and polarization can be controlled via the nanocrystal size, shape and composition.

This makes them very interesting as active material in light emitting, lasing, or photovoltaic devices, and we are exploring novel approaches for proof of principle prototypes. On the other hand, metal nanostructures are very good conductors and can strongly interact with light in the visible and infrared spectral regions due to the presence of free electrons that can perform plasmon oscillations, which opened the field of nanoplasmonics.

Recently, graphene has attracted great interest as a 2D material with very appealing conductive, plasmonic, and mechanical properties. We aim at combining the favorable properties of these materials in order to investigate complex optoelectronic systems and to pave the way for novel architectures for components in photodetectors, optical communication, photovoltaics, plasmonics, and nanoscale electronics.


Our paper on phase transitions in low dimensional layered double perovskites has been selected for the cover of The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.


Recent activities

  • Metamaterials: We develop layered Metal/Insulator/Metal structures as photonic and plasmonic cavities, and demonstrate that their resonances correspond to Epsilon-near-zero modes.[V. Caligiuri et al., Nano Letters 2019, 19, 3151-3160]. A semiclassical treatment of the optical resonances of this material system gives further insight into their physical behavior, and allows for a more facile calculation of their resonance frequencies. Coupling of multiple cavities leads to splitting of the resonances such that their frequencies can be tailored within the visible spectral range,[V. Caligiuri et al., Nanophotonics 2019] which can be employed to design Epsilon-near-zero bands, and to amplify the photoluminescence emission of fluorophores placed in vicinity of the cavities.[V. Caligiuri et al., ACS Photonics 2018, 5 (6), pp 2287–2294]. With the emitters inside the insulator layer of the cavity the directionality and spectral resonance profile of the cavity resonances can be transferred to the emission properties [V. Caligiuri et al., Adv. Opt. Mater. 2019, 8, 1901215]. In collaboration with the Nicolò Maccaferri at the University of Luxembourg we demonstrated ultrafast optical switching using such Epsilon-near-zero cavities by exploiting pump-induced changes to the refractive index of the materials [J. Kuttruff et al., Communication Physics 2020, 3, 114].

  • Layered Metal-Halide Perovskites: These emergent materials consist of organic/inorganic bilayer architectures and demonstrate many interesting properties such as quantum confinement and strong exciton binding energies. Similar to other van-der-Waals crystals, single flake-like structures can be mechanically exfoliated and deposited on a variety of different substrates.  We study the optical and vibrational properties of two-dimensional layered perovskites by photoluminescence and Raman spectroscopy, and revealed high photoluminescence quantum yield from single flakes [Dhanabalan et al., Nanoscale 2019, 11, 8334], and the directional properties of the vibrational modes [Dhanabalan et al., ACS Nano 2020, 14, 4689]. Due to their peculiar optical properties, it is possible to modify the emission color of Lead-Bromide layered perovskites by low external pressures in the MPa range(A. Castelli et al., Advanced Materials 2018)In the low-dimensional family of the Cs2AgBiBr6 double perovskites, we discovered phase transitions that involve both organic and inorganic layers, and with density functional theory calculations we gained insight to the optical properties and revealed an extraordinarily flat conduction band. [Martìn-Garçia et al., J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2020].

Journal Covers

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We have labs for optical and electrical sample characterization, as well as access to the IIT clean room, Materials Characterization, Nanochemistry, and Electron Microscopy facilities. In our ultrafast spectroscopy lab we have femtosecond pulsed laser sources (Coherent Legend Elite), time-resolved photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy (Edinburgh FLS920) and custom made setups for measuring amplified spontaneous emission and micro-PL. For photoconductive characterization we use micromanipulator probe stations in ambient (Karl Suss) and cryogenic (Janis Research) environment that can be coupled to various light sources and lasers spanning the spectral range from UV/VIS to NIR for photoelectrical characterization. Piezo-controlled mibots (Imina) reaching nanometer control can be used for probe contacts with optical and electron microscopes.

Current Projects

  • Coordinator of the H2020-MSCA-RISE project COMPASS 691185 (2016-2020)
  • EU ATTRACT project “Tailored metamaterials for Extremely High-Resolution Imaging and Sensing” (TEHRIS) (2019-2020)
  • Italy-Israel bilateral project “Artificial Intelligence and Data Management for Colloidal Quantum Dot Materials Research” (AI-4-QD)


  • Prof. Pingheng Tan, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Semiconductors
  • Prof. Davide Comoretto, University of Genoa
  • Dr. Alexander Weber-Bargioni, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, California, USA
  • Prof. P. James Schuck, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • Dr. Cinzia Giannini, IC-CNR, Bari, Italy
  • Prof. Iwan Moreels, University of Ghent, Belgium
  • Prof. Antonio De Luca, University of Calabria, Italy.
  • Prof. Sandrine Ithurria, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, Paris France.
  • Prof. Antonio De Luca, University of Calabria, Italy.
  • Prof. Sandrine Ithurria, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, Paris France.


Roman Krahne was appointed Guest Professor at the Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Sciences