ISGS eSeminar, May 2023

Colloidal chemistry to advance catalysis 

and energy technologies 

Raffaella Buonsanti 
Laboratory of Nanochemistry for Energy Research, Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Ecole Politechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Sion CH-1950, Switzerland


Affordable clean energy and climate action are two of the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations to be achieved by 2030. The vast majority of energy technologies relies on nanomaterials and their progress is strongly connected to the ability of materials chem-ists to tune their property and function-dictating features (i.e. size, composition, composition, morphology).

In this talk, I will present our recent group efforts towards the synthe-sis via colloidal chemistry of atomically defined nanocrystals (NCs) with properties of interest for catalysis and energy conversion.

The first part will focus on our studies on the synthesis development and formation mechanism of Cu NCs. I will illustrate how these NCs with precisely tunable shapes, sizes and interfaces serve as ideal platforms to advance our current knowledge towards improved selec-tivity in the electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction. I will then share our results evidencing that these NCs can sustain their catalytic activi-ty and selectivity at technologically relevant conditions, therefore might also offer practical solutions.

The second part will be dedicated to our colloidal atomic layer deposition (c-ALD) method to grow tunable oxide shells around different inorganic NC cores. I will discuss the formation mechanism of the shell by sharing our re-cent insights into the surface chemistry. I will also demonstrate some of the enabled applications, such as the im-proved stability of colloidal inks, which is particularly important in the context of quantum dot-based LEDs and so-lar cells, and the enhanced resistance against harsh environment, which is relevant for catalytic applications.

It is our pleasure to invite you to join the ISGS eSeminar for May 2023, which will be delivered by Professor Ra-faella Buonsanti on Wednesday 3 May. Raffaella is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at EPFL. She leads a multidisciplinary research program which spans from nanoscience to materials chemistry and electrocatalysis. Her many awards include the Swiss Chemical Society Werner Price in 2021 and the Royal Chemical Society ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship in 2019. Please click here and here to learn more about her other achievements and interesting career journey, including her contributions to both the professional and social fabric of our sol-gel and materials science community.


Date: Wednesday 3 May 2023


  • ZOOM (eSeminar link), Meeting ID: 307 291 6432 Passcode: 7Vr3%3Fk


  • 08:00 – Ottawa, USA, East Coast
  • 09:00 – Brazil (São Paulo) and Argentina
  • 12:00 – UTC
  • 13:00 – UK, Portugal
  • 14:00 – Central Europe, Sweden, Norway
  • 15:00 – Romania, Israel, Eastern Europe, Ukraine
  • 15:00 – Russia (Moscow, St Petersburg)
  • 20:00 – China, Singapore, Malaysia
  • 21:00 – Japan, Korea
  • 22:00 – Australia (East Coast)