Christian Durante

Picture of Christian Durante

Christian Durante is Assistant Professor in Physical Chemistry at the Department of Chemical Sciences (DiSC) of the University of Padova (UPD), where he works as a member of the Electrocatalysis and Applied Electrochemistry Group (EAEG) headed by Prof. Armando Gennaro. EAEG is one of the worldwide leading groups in the field of electrocarboxylation, electrocatalytic activation of carbon-halogen bonds and dissociative electron transfer mechanism.
Christian Durante received his degree in Industrial Chemistry at UPD in March 2003, carrying out a thesis on electron transfer in mono- and bimetallic Fe and Cr complexes in the research group of Prof. A. Ceccon. This research subject has been further deepened in the following years during his PhD in Chemical Sciences, which he obtained in March 2007. In these years he developed the synthesis and the electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical characterization of heteropolymetallic complexes of iron, rhodium and chromium. During his PhD he developed a whole series of spectroscopic techniques (UV-Vis, near-IR with fiber optic detector, IR ) coupled with an electrochemical cell for the fundamental investigation of intramolecular electron transfer kinetics in donor-acceptor systems at low temperatures. The interest for these complexes falls in a more wide project that aims at finding new raw materials for molecular devices and new catalysts for homogeneous organic reactions of alkynes (cyclotrimerization). Immediately after PhD, he joined the group of Prof. A. Gennaro at UPD as an assistant researcher (postdoc) and held that position until december 2010, when he became Assistant Professor in Physical Chemistry at DiSC. As assistant researcher, C. Durante has improved his electrochemical skills and has widened his research activities, in particular in molecular electrochemistry, both organic and inorganic and in environmental electrochemistry. In the latter field he has deeply investigated the reduction of halogenated VOCs at Ag and Cu electrodes and the abatement of heavy metals, Cr in particular, from industrial wastewaters. He has also studied the electrocatalytic activities of Ag and Cu towards the carboxylation reaction of several aromatic halides, investigating also the role of proton transfer and hydrogen atom abstraction as side reactions in the electrocarboxylation process. Within the group of Prof. Gennaro, he is currently developing a new research line in the field of electrocatalysis applied to energy production and storage. He is interested in the fundamental investigation of catalytic effects associated to the size and morphology of metal NPs and alloyed NPs, loaded on nitrogen doped carbon-based electrodes. In 2011 he spent a research period in Alicante, Spain, as visiting researcher in the group of Prof. Vicente Montiel (Alicante University), where he adopted SECM (scanning electrochemical microscopy) as fast screening technique of metal alloy electrocatalyst for the reduction of carbon-Halogen bond. He collaborates with several European leading groups in the field of surface science (Prof. Granozzi at UPD; Prof. Wandelt at Bonn University, Germany) and fuel cell (Prof. Oliver Schneider and Prof. Julia Kunze at TUM Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Germany). He is presently involved in two European Project CathCat and Decore dealing with the development of novel electrodic material for applications in fuel cell and batteries.
His actual research activities can be summarized as follows:

  • Doped carbon material as innovative support for electrocatalyst in fuel cell and batteries;
  • electrocatalytic activation of halogenated organic probes at catalytic electrodes (Ag, Cu, Pd) and dissociative electron transfer mechanisms;
  • electrochemical preparation of nanostructured materials for applications in photonics and catalysis;
  • catalytic properties of nanostructured electrodic materials;
  • carbon dioxide activation in electrocarboxylation reactions for an environmentally friendly electrosynthesis of important chemical intermediates and drugs;
  • advanced oxidation processes (ozonization and electrochemical oxidation on BDD and DSE electrodes) for the remediation of water pollution;

He is a member of the Italian Chemical Society and the International Society of Electrochemistry. He teaches material electrochemistry and laboratory courses of physical chemistry to undergraduate and graduate students in material sciences and industrial chemistry. He is the author of 47 papers (hindex=18), published in peer-reviewed international journals, and more than 50 presentations in national and international conferences. Furthermore, he is the author of an Italian patent and a book chapter.