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Research Fellows Directory

Marco Sacchi

Dr Marco Sacchi

Research Fellow


University of Surrey

Research summary

Self-assembled supramolecular networks find applications in several different areas as materials for electronic and photonic devices as well as nanostructured materials for catalysis and sensor technology. The focus of my fellowship’s research is to rationalize the forces and the dynamical properties that govern the 2D self-assembly process on surfaces. In particular, in my research I employ first-principles computational methods based on density functional theory (DFT) to characterize the thermodynamics and the energy barriers that govern the self-assembly of organic molecules on solid surfaces. In this context, I have recently investigated the adsorption, diffusion and bonding of cyclopentadienyl (Cp), pyrrole and thiophene on copper. The results of these calculations show that Cp adsorption yields a largely ionically bound Cp species with strongly anionic characteristics. In contrast to other ionically bound systems mutually repulsive dipole-dipole interactions do not strongly influence the adsorbate motion, resulting in a system able to form thermally stable, high-density organic thin films (highly desired in molecular electronic applications).

In collaboration with researchers at the BP institute in Cambridge I am exploring new ways of exploiting halogen bonding for forming nanostructured 2D materials. By employing DFT calculations I could accurately predict the geometry and phase stability of halogen-bonded cocrystal monolayers on graphite.

With researchers at the University of Reading I am currently studying the adsorption of macrocyclic aromatic polysulfones on gold surfaces. These large box-like molecular precursors have the potential to be employed as receptors for electron reach species, with interesting application in sensor technology.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Rationalizing the Driving-Forces and Dynamics of Supramolecular Self-Assembly

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Nov 2014 - Oct 2019

Value: £463,517.47