Research database

interface - AtomIc scale eNgineering of metal halide perovskiTEs suRFace towards exceptionally stAble and highly seleCtive photoElectrodes for CO2 conversion into fuels

24 months (2025)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
Nationally funded research - PRIN
Funding body:
Project identification number:
PoliTo role:


CO2 conversion to valuable products is essential for climate-change mitigation and renewable energy production. The photoelectrocatalytic (PEC) CO2 reduction approach driven by solar energy and electricity is a competitive solution. The surface chemistry of the photocatalyst drives the CO2 chemical conversion. Hence, poor control of actives sites on the surface is the typical reason for the low selectivity, inefficiency, and rapid system degradation. Besides, the photoreduction in aqueous solution is highly desirable in order for the project to be environmentally friendly. Therefore, the development of water stable photocatalysts with a high catalytic activity and selectivity for the transformation of CO2 is the key strategy to accomplish this goal. Metal halide perovskite (MHP) materials have the potential to revolutionize the field, by virtue of their ease of synthesis, excellent light harvesting, efficient photon-to-carrier conversion and transport within nm-to-micron lengths. Several perovskite materials have already been synthesized and developed with excellent optoelectronic properties fulfilling the technology requirements. However they suffer from poor resistance to moisture, a still open issue that also hinders the commercial development of MHPs for photovoltaics. The Achilles heel that mostly triggers the material decomposition is believed to lay on the exposed interfaces/material surface. INTERFACE project proposes a unique combination of vapor phase treatments to simultaneously address two key challenges for the burgeoning of the MHP technology: i) producing water-stable systems and ii) acquiring atomic scale control over the MHP exposed surface. In terms of immediate and impactful outputs, INTERFACE aims to address these challenges by engineering MHP surface in thin-film form by adding specific chemical functionalities through plasma assisted-modification and atomic layer deposition (ALD) of conformal ultra-thin layers of protective/active partner materials. These modifications will be specifically tailored to enhance their stability in water adding hydrophobic barriers and to increase their PEC activity and selectivity towards CO2 reduction towards superior hydrocarbons by adding specific catalytic active sites to the MHP surface or coupling atomically engineered co-catalysts. The simultaneous chemical and spectroscopic investigation will enable the understanding and manipulation of complex interfaces for the rational development of a stable, highly efficient PEC system at reduced environmental impact. To achieve the ambitious goals, we will combine the expert and complementary know-how of a team of recognized Italian scientists which is essential for a timely breakthrough. This forms an incredible asset for the success of the project, and also a tremendous push for pioneering new knowledge and innovative approaches across different fields, with repercussions ways beyond photocatalysis.





ERC sectors

PE8_11 - Sustainable design (for recycling, for environment, eco-design)
PE5_3 - Surface modification
PE4_4 - Surface science and nanostructures

Sustainable Development Goals

Obiettivo 9. Costruire un'infrastruttura resiliente e promuovere l'innovazione ed una industrializzazione equa, responsabile e sostenibile|Obiettivo 13. Promuovere azioni, a tutti i livelli, per combattere il cambiamento climatico*


Total cost: € 356,800.00
Total contribution: € 249,800.00
PoliTo total cost: € 65,886.00
PoliTo contribution: € 46,136.00