The FNR Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis rewards young researchers making an impact. 2021 winner Giuseppe Bengasi engineered porphyrins – chemical compounds – for functional applications. The colourful material could one day turn solar light and electricity into clean hydrogen.
Bengasi worked with porphyrins, a chemical compound common in nature. They for example play a key role in photosynthesis in plants or in the respiration for humans. This is due to their unique chemical and physical properties.
“If you form a chains out of porphyrin units, you obtain a new compound with amazing electrical and chemical properties. Single porphyrins are in insulant, while long chains of porphyrins are a highly conductive material. It can be compared to bricks: There is not much you can do with a single brick, but with a lot of bricks you can make a very strong wall.” – Giuseppe Bengasi
The long chains of porphyrins are known as porphyrin tapes. In Giuseppe’s PhD project, the team invented a process that for the first time made it possible to create thin films made of conductive porphyrin tapes.
Discover more in the video below!
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