ESR8: Episode One

A good way to understand if you are in the right place is to realise how much you feel at home.

When I moved here to Paris at the end of last August, I felt I couldn’t be luckier. After few months, my colleagues have become my friends. Together we share our ideas for electrochemical experiments and aperò scientifiques and the green walls of the Lavoisier building don’t seem so bizarre anymore. On leaving Padua for a city I had never visited before I felt a mix of excitement and anxiety. But I quickly came to understand why so many people love to live here – the city is huge but not too chaotic, and mostly is full of nice concerts, cultural events and people interested in these activities.

I have always found cross-sectorial research fields thrilling so I’m delighted to be part of SENTINEL and to investigate electrocatalysis phenomena with both electrochemical and optical methods. The goal of my research is to couple interferometric microscopy with electrochemisty to get complementary information and an understanding of how single nanoparticles can be modified during reactions such as hydrogen evolution or how hydrogen nucleates bubbles which can affect the catalyst itself. Interpreting the data can be challenging, because it is not straightforward or easy to link the single entity responses with the average electrochemical ones unequivocally. But this is the part I like the most because it keeps me curious.

I can’t wait to meet the other SENTINEL friends and professors again soon. Our first workshop in February was full of amazing discussions and ideas about electrochemistry and about how important is to communicate science properly. For sure the pandemic has made it difficult to organise another meeting between us in person but on the other hand we have met online every week for a journal club where we have enjoyed the chance to learn more about our topics even during the lockdown. So let’s get started on our new experiments whilst we look forward to our next meet up in real life!

Paolo Ciocci

Find out more about Paolo Ciocci.