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iMAT Lecture: Hydrogen storage in single metal nanocrystals

Dr. Andrea Baldi, Group Leader, Nanomaterials for Energy Applications DIFFER, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

2017.12.12 | Lise Refstrup Linnebjerg Pedersen

Date Thu 14 Dec
Time 15:15 16:00
Location Aud I, 1514-213, Department of Chemistry, Langelandsgade 140, 8000 Aarhus C

Dr. Andrea Baldi, Group Leader, Nanomaterials for Energy Applications DIFFER, Eindhoven, The Netherlands


Many energy- and information-storage processes rely on phase transformations of nanomaterials in reactive environments. Compared to their bulk counterparts, nanostructured materials exhibit fast charging and discharging kinetics, resistance to defects formation, and thermodynamics that can be modulated by size effects. However, in ensemble studies of these materials, it is often difficult to discriminate between intrinsic size-dependent properties and effects due to sample size and shape dispersity. Here, we use a wide range of in-situ transmission electron microscopy techniques to reconstruct the absorption of hydrogen in individual palladium nanocrystals. Using electron energy-loss spectroscopy, dark-field imaging and electron diffraction, we shed light on the role of surface energy, crystallographic defects, and lattice strain on the thermodynamics and kinetics of phase transformation in these nanostructured systems [1-3]. Our results provide a general framework for studying phase transitions in individual nanocrystals and highlight the importance of single-particle approaches to the characterization of functional nanomaterials.

[1] Baldi et al., Nature Materials 13, 1143–1148 (2014)

[2] Narayan et al., Nature Materials 15, 768-774 (2016)

[3] Narayan et al., Nature Communications 8, 14020 (2017)



Andrea Baldi received his Master in Chemistry from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and his PhD in Physics from the VU University Amsterdam. During his PhD he studied the properties of metal hydride thin films for hydrogen storage and smart windows applications. In 2011 he won the Young Energy Scientist Fellowship from the Dutch physics institute (FOM), which funded his tenure as a visiting researcher in the group of prof. Jennifer Dionne at Stanford University. At Stanford he developed imaging and spectroscopic techniques in an environmental TEM to study phase transitions in nanomaterials for energy storage. Since 2015 he has returned to the Netherlands as a tenure-track senior scientist at the newly founded Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) in Eindhoven, where he leads his research group on Nanomaterials for Energy Applications.