• Controlled olefin polymerization catalysts (Macromolecules 2004, 37, 8201)

  • Molecular kinetics of olefin polymerization (JACS 2010, 132, 13651)

  • Structure-activity relationships in molecular catalysis (Macromolecules 2012, 45, 4046)

  • Computational modeling of industrial Ziegler-Natta catalysts (J. Catal. 2012, 286, 103)

  • Microstructural study of PP ‘chain shuttling’ (Macromolecules 2007, 40, 7736)

HomeResearchMain Lines

Main Lines


Fundamental and applied studies of ‘classical’ Ziegler-Natta catalyst systems

  • Structural elucidation of the catalytic surfaces in MgCl2-supported Ti-based catalysts for polypropylene.
    The traditional approach of LSP, based on a combination of 13C NMR polymer analyses for active site ‘fingerprinting’ and Quantum Mechanics modeling, is integrated with collaborations in surface science (Profs. M. Terano and T. Taniike, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, JAIST), multinuclear solid-state NMR (Prof. A. Kentgens, U-Nijmegen), CW and FT ESR spectroscopy (Profs. E. Giamello and M. Chiesa, U-Turin), (micro)calorimetric study of chemisorption processes (Prof. M. Tolazzi and Dr. A. Melchior, U-Udine), largely in the framework of DPI projects.
  • HTC&HTE investigations of tailored catalyst systems and processes (bilateral research agreement with Sabic).  


Fundamental and applied studies of molecular olefin polymerization catalysts

  • Experimental and computational studies on the chemo-, regio- and stereoselectivity of the main classes of metallocene and nonmetallocene catalysts.
    13C NMR polymer microstructure analyses and computational modeling are combined with solution NMR investigations of active cations and ion pairs (in collaboration with Prof. A. Macchioni, U-Perugia).
  • Mechanistic and QSAR study of (novel) metallocene catalysts (in collaboration with Prof. Alexander Voskoboynikov, Moscow State University, also in the framework of the DPI program).


New/improved activators, co-catalysts, scavengers

  • HTE and solution NMR investigations on methylaluminoxane (MAO) and its modification, pre-catalyst activation chemistry, trans-alkylation of transition and main group metal-alkyls, conditions for and mechanism of reversible trans-alkylation (‘chain shuttling’) (in collaboration with Prof. A. Macchioni, U-Perugia).
  • HTE search for novel ‘non-interacting’ scavengers.


Molecular kinetic studies of catalytic olefin polymerizations

  • Counts and structural elucidations of active sites by means of quenched-flow and chain end labeling methods.
    This fundamental line is aimed to determine ‘true’ chain propagation constants and activation parameters for a variety of molecular and heterogeneous olefin polymerization catalysts.


Advanced applications of NMR spectroscopy to polyolefin microstructure analysis

  • Implementation and application of new methods exploiting high-temperature NMR cryoprobe technology.
    The potential of this novel NMR tool is being explored between the two extremes of ultra-fast microstructural assessment downstream to HTE olefin polymerization platforms, and long acquisitions for the detection of ‘ultimate’ microstructural details (e.g. regiodefects, chain-ends, long-chain branches, etc.)


Integrated HTE&HTC tools and methods for catalyst screening

  • Implementation and applications of innovative protocols for the fast kinetic assessment of homogeneous and heterogeneous olefin polymerizations.
    The general objective is re-focusing high-throughput methodologies from trial-and-error catalyst discovery to catalyst fine-tuning and process optimization.
    Note: an Academic Spin-off company (HTExplore s.r.l.) has been created in January 2013 for the commercial applications of this line.


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