Barbara Bonelli

Full Professor
Department of Applied Science and Technology (DISAT)

  • Member of Interdepartmental Center PolitoBIOMed Lab - Biomedical Engineering Lab


Research interests

Co2 reduction
Co2 storage
Emerging contaminants
Groundwater remediation
Wastewater treatment
Water splitting


Barbara Bonelli è Professore Ordinario di Fondamenti Chimici delle Tecnologie. E' Coordinatrice del Corso di Dottorato in Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali, Membro del Comitato Esecutivo della Scuola di Dottorato e della Giunta Dipartimentale. Referente della Commissione Comunicazione del Dipartimento. I suoi principali interessi di ricerca sono la sintesi e la caratterizzazione di (nano)materiali porosi per lo stoccaggio di gas (H2, CH4, CO2); la catalisi eterogenea e la fotocatalisi, con particolare riferimento alla rimozione di contaminanti emergenti. Su tali argomenti ha pubblicato oltre 189 lavori con un h-index complessivo pari a 34.


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Scientific branch

(Area 0003 - Chemical Sciences)


ERC sectors

PE4_17 - Characterisation methods of materials
PE5_12 - Chemistry of condensed matter
PE4_18 - Environment chemistry
PE4_10 - Heterogeneous catalysis
PE5_6 - New materials: oxides, alloys, composite, organic-inorganic hybrid, nanoparticles
PE4_1 - Physical chemistry
PE5_2 - Solid state materials
PE4_2 - Spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques
PE5_1 - Structural properties of materials
PE5_3 - Surface modification
PE4_4 - Surface science and nanostructures
PE5_4 - Thin films


Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Awards and Honors

  • Abilitazione Nazionale I fascia conferred by MIUR, Italy (2013)
  • Certificate of Appreciation for Valuable Contribution conferred by ACS (American Chemical Society), United States (2013)


  • Other roles - Consorzio INSTM, Italia (2001-)
  • Effective member - Società Chimica Italiana, Italia (1997-)

Editorial boards

  • CATALYSTS (2018-), Guest Editor of magazine or editorial series
  • MOLECULES (2018-), Editor of magazine, editorial series, encyclopaedia


  • Europacat2017 (27/8/2017-31/8/2017), Program committee
  • NANO VIII (4th International Symposium on Nanoporous Materials) (7/7/2017-12/7/2017), Program committee
  • V International Workshop Oxide 2012&AIZ day (23/9/2012-27/9/2012), Participation to the organizing committee
  • VII International Symposium on Group Five Elements (8/5/2011-11/5/2011), Program committee
  • V Congresso Nazionale AICING 2006 (3/9/2006-5/9/2006), Participation to the organizing committee

Roles as evaluator or expert

  • Matera+. 2014


PhD Boards

  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2021/2022 (38. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2020/2021 (37. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2019/2020 (36. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2018/2019 (35. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2017/2018 (34. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2016/2017 (33. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2015/2016 (32. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2014/2015 (31. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2013/2014 (30. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2012/2013 (29. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2011/2012 (28. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
  • SCIENZA E TECNOLOGIA DEI MATERIALI, 2010/2011 (27. ciclo)
    Politecnico di TORINO
MostraNascondi collegi passati

Courses of Study Boards



MostraNascondi A.A. passati

Bachelor of Science

  • Chemistry. A.A. 2017/18, INGEGNERIA DELL'AUTOVEICOLO (AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING). Titolare del corso
  • Chemistry. A.A. 2018/19, INGEGNERIA DELL'AUTOVEICOLO (AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING). Titolare del corso
  • Chemistry. A.A. 2019/20, INGEGNERIA DELL'AUTOVEICOLO (AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING). Titolare del corso
  • Chemistry. A.A. 2020/21, INGEGNERIA DELL'AUTOVEICOLO (AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING). Titolare del corso
  • Chimica. A.A. 2021/22, INGEGNERIA AEROSPAZIALE. Titolare del corso
  • Chimica. A.A. 2022/23, INGEGNERIA GESTIONALE. Titolare del corso
MostraNascondi A.A. passati

Other activities and projects related to teaching

BB's teaching activity is mainly in the fields of chemistry for engineering and of physical-chemistry applied to nanomaterials. On the ground of her teaching activity, BB authored the textbooks “Appunti di Chimica”; “Esercitarsi per l’esame di Chimica”; “Let’s practice for the chemistry exam” and “ChemistrYES!” for the C.L.U.T. editor (Torino, Italy).

Besides teaching Chemistry to 1st year students in Engineering (International Course in English), from 2012 to 2017 she has been in charge of two teaching modules (taught in English) in the II level courses “Micro and nanotechnologies applied to biomedicine, environment and energy” and “Physical properties at nanoscale, nanomanipulations and nanoprocesses”.

From AY 2012-2013 to A.Y. 2018-2019, she has been responsible of the III level course “Physico-chemical properties of materials for nanotechnologies” (taught in English) for PhD students in the scientific areas of chemistry, physics and materials science and engineering.

Since AY 2019-2020, she is responsible of the III level course “Synthesis methods to tailor the surface and the structure properties of advanced materials”.

Since AY 2019-2020, she is in charge of a 8 h teaching module in the PhD course “Applied Spectroscopy Methods” (Responsible prof. A. Fina).



Research groups/teams


Research projects

Projects funded by competitive calls

Projects funded by commercial contracts

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Supervised PhD students

  • Najeebullah Channa. Programme in Scienza E Tecnologia Dei Materiali (cycle 38, 2022-in progress)
  • Nicola Blangetti. Programme in Scienza E Tecnologia Dei Materiali (cycle 35, 2019-in progress)

Other activities and projects related to research

• Main activities/responsibilities: from 2010 to current.
The Surf-CheM is made of experts of advanced spectroscopic techniques and of materials synthesis and characterization and fruitfully collaborates with several national and international research groups working in the fields of heterogeneous catalysis, gas adsorption and storage, biomedical applications, etc.
She is currently responsible of the MSCA-IF - Lush Art project: Luminescent solar heterostructures for artificial photosynthesis (GA n. 843439; start date the 16th of March 2020-end date the 15th of March 2022). In 2019, she has been Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology delivering two seminars for PhD students at the Department of Chemistry, in the framework of the MITOR project LIGHT Harvesting Antenna systems for solar Applications.
Her main research activities/interests are listed below.
1a) Synthesis and characterization of GO/rGO reinforced MOFs for CH4 storage and delivery (as Principal Investigator of the WP1 in the on-going ENI contract 1117/2019).
1b) Physico-chemical characterization of (porous) nanomaterials for catalysis and adsorption/storage of gases (e. CO2, H2, CH4) by means of advanced Infra-Red (IR) techniques: adsorption of probe molecules for materials surface characterization; Variable Temperature IR spectroscopy; XPS and UV-Vis spectroscopies; porosimetry; TEM and SEM analysis; X-Ray Diffraction; microcalorimetry; TPDRO (Temperature Programmed Desorption, Reduction, Oxidation) technique; thermogravimetry; differential thermal analysis and calorimetry; etc. Briefly, probe molecules are simple moieties in gas/vapour phase (e.g. CO, CO2, NH3, H2O), which can be dosed at the surface of solids (e.g. silica, zeolites, metal oxides, etc.) within vacuum lines. When the probe interacts with an adsorbent surface, its IR features are modified (with respect to those of the free molecule) and can be monitored by IR. Indeed, IR spectroscopy of adsorbed probe molecules allows inferring some relevant surface properties of the adsorbent (e.g. type and abundance of acid/base sites; coordination and oxidation state of surface metal ions) by the IR spectra of the probe/adsorbent system: for instance, it is a powerful means to study the properties of (high surface area) solids, like those used as heterogeneous catalysts. Indeed, one of her main interests is the physico-chemical characterization of heterogeneous catalysts.
The Variable Temperature IR (VTIR) spectroscopy technique was established at Politecnico by BB, after she spent two months as Visiting Researcher at the Universidad de Las Islas Baleares (Spain) working on the use of advanced IR spectroscopic techniques in Prof. C.O. Areán’s group in 2002. Briefly, VTIR cells allow the simultaneous measurement of IR spectrum, Temperature and Pressure in closed thermodynamic systems. The VTIR technique allows ferreting out some thermodynamic quantities (enthalpy and entropy of adsorption) with ideal gas-solid systems (ex. CO2/H-ZSM-5; NH3/H-ZSM-5) without the need of (more time demanding) calorimetric measurements, for instance. Few VTIR cells are currently available all around the world. Most of them allow the measurement of weak interactions (e.g. H2/zeolites; CO/zeolites) and require either homemade equipment (usually working at temperatures as low as the nominal boiling point of N2) or very expensive equipment (working at temperatures as low as the nominal boiling point of He). Cells working at low temperatures are useful to study weak gas/solid interactions.
BB has extended the use of VTIR technique to the study of stronger interactions (e.g. CO2/zeolites; NH3/zeolites), by the use of a commercial cell (available in the Vibrational Spectroscopy at Politecnico) working in the temperature range between the ambient and 600 °C. She also teaches the VTIR technique during an 8 h module within the III level Course “Applied Spectroscopy Methods”.
1c) Synthesis and physico-chemical characterization of nanomaterials for catalysis and photocatalysis, including mesoporous titanium dioxide (both undoped and doped) for the abatement of water pollutants of environmental concern (EC) under solar illumination. This subject has been developed in the last years, when BB has been involved in several activities concerning the removal of dyes, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, etc. from polluted water. In this context, BB has been the Principal Investigator of an INSTM unit in the project “DeN – Technology development of innovative strategies for the abatement of N-containing pollutants in water” funded by the CARIPLO foundation. She has been co-Editor of the Elsevier Book “Nanomaterials for the detection and removal of wastewater pollutants”; she authored several papers on the subject and the recent paper “Effects of the Brookite Phase on the Properties of Different Nanostructured TiO2 Phases Photocatalytically Active Towards the Degradation of N-Phenylurea”, Freyria F.S., Blangetti N., Esposito S., Nasi R., Armandi M., Annelio V., Bonelli B, ChemistryOpen/Wiley, 2020, 9(9) 903-912, doi: 10.1002/open.202000127 has received an invited cover feature and has been selected by Wiley to appear in the Hot Topic: Mesoporous Materials selection ( and in the Society Volumes: Italy selection (
1d) Synthesis and physico-chemical characterization of CoAPO and Co/Mn oxides as water oxidation catalysts (WOC). This activity started in 2009, when she was involved in the European project SOLHYDROMICS on the synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts mimicking natural catalysts for the WO reaction. On the subject, she co-authored several papers and recently co-authored the Springer book “Testing Novel Water Oxidation Catalysts for Solar Fuels Production”.
1e) Synthesis, modification and physico-chemical characterization of imogolite nanotubes (NTs). Imogolite is a hydrated alumino-silicate with formula (OH)3Al2O3SiOH occurring as single-walled NTs with (a very hydrophilic) inner surface, lined by SiOH groups, and an outer surface bearing the amphoteric properties of an Al oxohydroxide. Imogolite occurs in nature as a minor fraction of volcanic soils, but can be obtained by sol-gel synthesis, as well. With respect to (more famous) CNTs, imogolite NTs are easily dispersed in water, are insulating and can be functionalized at both the inner and outer surface in mild conditions. Nonetheless, imogolite NTs are less toxic than CNTs, as shown in an interdisciplinary paper ("Imogolite: An aluminosilicate nanotube endowed with low cytotoxicity and genotoxicity", Rotoli, B.M., Guidi, P., Bonelli, B., Bernardeschi, M., Bianchi, M.G., Esposito, S., Frenzilli, G., Lucchesi, P., Nigro, M., Scarcelli, V., Tomatis, M., Zanello, P.P., Fubini, B., Bussolati, O., Bergamaschi, E., 2014, Chemical Research in Toxicology/ACS, US, 27(7) 1142-1154. Bonelli, Rotoli and Guidi equally contributed to the work. Doi: 10.1021/tx500002d)
Her activity concerns not only the study of the physico-chemical properties of proper imogolite NTs, but also their chemical modification, in particular the synthesis and properties of methylimogolite (NTs), a new type of imogolite-like material with formula (OH)3Al2O3SiCH3, where the inner surface is hydrophobic, while the outer one is unchanged with respect to proper imogolite. Methylimogolite NTs have higher surface area, higher thermal stability and more interesting physico-chemical properties than proper imogolite NTs. They are obtained by means of a patented procedure (“Nanotubi di imogolite di sintesi, chimicamente modificata, e procedimento per la loro preparazione” Bottero I., Garrone, E., Bonelli, B. 2007, Italian patent TO2007A000765 deposited on February 20, 2009), based on the use of a commercial Si precursor. Such smart procedure allowed the hydrophobization of a porous aluminosilicate, i.e. a process not easily achievable with other porous aluminosilicates, like zeolites, and to obtain actually a new type of solids with no other counterpart in the nanoworld.
As an expert of imogolite and imogolite-like materials, in April 2017 she has been Visiting Professor at the Universidad Catolica de Temuco (Chile) and Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH); she was invited to contribute with two Chapters to the Elsevier book “Nanosized Tubular Clay Minerals” and had been Invited Speaker during the IMOGO2017 conference (Puerto Varas, Chile, 10-13 October 2017).
Another subject she developed is doping with Fe both imogolite and methylimogolite NTs, a process leading to semi-conductive materials with catalytic activity in. This was the subject of two PhD Theses supervised by her (Dr E. Shafia’s and Dr E. Bahadori’s Theses). She was invited to deliver a talk on the subject during the French-Italian Days of Nanoscience (Bardonecchia, Italy, 31 January, 2 February 2018) and an invited lecture during the XVI Latin American Conference on the Applications of the Mössbauer Effect (Santiago de Chile, 18-23 of October 2018).

1f) Synthesis and characterization of magnetic metal nanocomposites for biomedical applications. She co-authored a WO patent (“Production of Magnetic Metal Nanoparticles embedded in a silica-alumina matrix” Esposito, S., Marocco, A., Bonelli, B., Pansini, M. International Patent WO2015/145230°1 deposited on October 1st, 2015) and will develop the subject in the framework of the PolitoBIOMed interdepartmental lab. Her activities at PolitoBIOMed interdepartmental lab concern the development of nanomaterials for the concentration, separation and diagnostic of relevant biomolecules (nucleic acids; cancer antigens) occurring in complex matrices (biological fluids, blood) and also the production of model nanomaterials of potentially dangerous powders, occurring in the environment as a result of incinerators emissions, for instance. Indeed, she has a remarkable experience in the field of nanomaterials based on carbon, silica and iron oxides. Concerning the latter subject, she is the corresponding author of an interdisciplinary paper, which was chosen as feature article in its issue ("Hematite nanoparticles larger than 90 nm show no sign of toxicity in terms of lactate dehydrogenase release, nitric oxide generation, apoptosis, and comet assay in murine alveolar macrophages and human lung epithelial cells", Freyria, F.S., Bonelli, B., Tomatis, M.,* Ghiazza, M., Gazzano, E., Ghigo, D., Garrone, E., Fubini, B., 2012, Chemical Research in Toxicology/ACS, US, 25(4) 850-861).


Last years publications

PoliTO co-authors

Publications by type

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Society and Enterprise

Patents and other intellectual properties

  • Uso di allumino-fosfati contenenti metalli di transazione (ME-APO-N) per la scissione (splitting) termica dell'acqua in condizione molto blande. national Patent - Responsabile Scientifico
  • Metodo diretto di sintesi SOL-GEL di nanotubi a parete singola di alluminio-silicato aventi superficie interna funzionalizzata con gruppi organici. national Patent - Responsabile Scientifico