Liberato Manna

Liberato Manna Research Professor
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)
Via Morego, 30 16163 Genova, Italy.

Colloidal Inorganic Nanocrystals: their Synthesis, Assembly and the Study of their Chemical and Structural Transformations

Colloidal inorganic nanocrystals (NCs) are among the most exploited nanomaterials to date due to their extreme versatility. Research on NCs went through much advancement in the last fifteen years, for example in the synthesis, which opened up the possibility to control their size, shape and topology in chemical composition. An additional step forward was the creation of a wide range of superstructures from the assembly of such NCs, which can be thought of as new types of artificial solids. This, coupled with the possibility to replace the native ligands on the surface of the NCs with shorter molecules, down to single atom ligands, has conferred unique electrical features to films of NCs that make them attractive for low cost alternatives to many technologies. Progress also came from the study of chemical transformations in nanostructures, most notably via cation exchange, which involves replacement of the sublattice of cations in a crystal with a new sublattice of different cations, while the sublattice of anions remains in place. The present lecture will highlight the recent progress (with emphasis on the contributions from our group) on synthesis, assembly and in the study of chemical and structural transformations in NCs.


Dr. Liberato Manna received his MSc in Chemistry from the University of Bari (Italy) in 1996 and his PhD in Chemical Sciences from the same University in 2001. During his PhD studies, and later as postdoctoral fellow, he worked at the University of California Berkeley (USA). In 2003 he moved back to Italy, as staff scientist at the National Nanotechnology Lab of CNR-INFM in Lecce, (Italy) where he became later responsible for the Nanochemistry Division in 2006. In April 2009 he moved to the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova as head of the Nanochemistry Department. Since November 2010 he is also professor of Quantum Nanoscience at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at TU Delft (Netherlands). His research interests are the advanced synthesis, structural characterization and assembly of inorganic nanostructures, with emphasis on the development of complex, three dimensional nano-hetero-structures for applications in energy, photonics and biology. He pioneered the field of shape control of nanoparticles, with nanorods, branched nanocrystals and nanoparticle heterostructures, their surface functionalization, as well as the assembly of nanocrystals such as rods and octapods in ordered superstructures. As of January 2013 Liberato Manna has about 170 publications in chemistry, materials science and nanoscience, contributed to 15 book chapters, and holds ten patents and fourteen patent applications in nanotechnology. Among the various prizes, he received the “Lawrence Berkeley Lab (LBL) Technology Transfer” award in 2002, the “INFM young investigator” award in 2007, the “R&D 100” award in 2009 as a member of the LBL Berkeley team for “Nanocrystal Solar Cells”, the “Journal of Materials Chemistry Lectureship” award in 2011 and the 2013 ACS “Early Career Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry”. He was recently ranked among the top 100 Chemists worldwide of the last decade by Thomson Reuters (ISI). He is (and has been) involved in several EU projects, including one (2005-2008) in which he was coordinator. Also, in 2009 he was recipient of a European Research Council (ERC) starting research grant for carrying out research on nanocomposite architectures, and in late 2013 he was recipient of a European Research Council (ERC) consolidator research grant on the study of chemical transformations in nanocrystals.