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International Research Centre «Smart Materials»

Contract number
Time span of the project

As of 30.01.2020

Number of staff members
scientific publications
Objects of intellectual property
General information

Name of the project: From nanodesign to nanodiagnostics: creating a «full cycle» laboratory

Strategy for Scientific and Technological Development Priority Level: а

Goals and objectives

Research directions: Synthesis, diagnostics (using mega-class devices facilities: synchrotron and neutron sources) and modeling structural, electron and oscillation qualities of nanostructured materials, nanoparticles and poropus materials as well as their interactions

Project objective: Developing a leading world-class laboratory for computer design, chemical synthesis and spectral nanodiagnostics of intelligent nanostructured porous materials

The practical value of the study

  • We have found previously unknown features of structure and mechanism of work of active centers of metals in prospective catalysts that have industrial importance. The first example is the Cu-CHA zeolite that is used for selective catalytic reduction of ecologically ecologically hazardous nitrogen oxides that are present in exhaust gases of cars. The second example is catalysts based on palladium that are used for important industrial reactions of selective hydration of alkynes and alkadienes.
  • The Laboratory has developed of state-of-the-art experimental measurements of nanostructured materials at large scientific facilities (synchrotron radiation sources), conducted ex situ, in situ and Operando with high temporal resolution. They are supplemented by intelligent data processing using software and processes developed by our team that are intellectual property objects.

Education and career development:

  • We have published 9 book chapters and 4 articles that cover a broad range of topics including general overview of types of spectroscopy and their usage in diagnostics of nanostructures, X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray emission spectroscopy, applications of XAFS methods in diagnostics of MOF and zeolites with copper.
  • The Laboratory has developed a study program in physics and functional materials and we were granted the right to run a masters program in physics in 2016–2018.
  • Working with students: three international masters students of the European MaMaSELF program came to Rostov-on-Don for conducting their thesis research. The next level in their academic career is    postgraduate research within the bilateral agreement between the Southern Federal University and the University of Turin (Italy). This program has already been completed by three young scientists two more postgraduate students are still continuing their research.
  • 2 doctoral dissertations and 4 candidate dissertations have been defended.
  • A group of young scientists has obtained world-class level competences in synthesis of nanostructured functional materials, their diagnostics using modern optical and X-ray spectroscopy in the in situ and the operando modes as well as conducting thorough analysis using AI elements and supercomputer modeling of active centers in materials.

Organizational and structural changes:

  • We have created a research center for the full cycle of research (synthesis – diagnostics – modeling).
  • The Laboratory has created modern equipped chemical laboratories and materials diagnostics laboratories. A specialized supercomputer for theoretical modeling has been launched. Two groups of participants of the projects have been formed. The groups develop a virtual laboratory training environment: one group enhances software for analyzing XAS data and the other group introduces elements of machine learning and AI into experimental data processing.

Other results:

  • We have organized 6 international schools-conferences for young scientists devoted to materials and modern methods of their diagnostics:

1. The International seminar with school elements for young scientists «Smart nanomaterials and X-ray optics 2014. Modeling, Synthesis, Diagnostics» (Kaliningrad, Russia);

2. The International school-seminar «Smart Nanomaterials. X-ray optics 2015. Modeling, Synthesis, Diagnostics (Rostov-on-Don, Russia);

3. The International joint school-seminar «Smart nanomaterials and X-ray optics 2016. Modeling, Synthesis, Diagnostics» (Kaliningrad, Russia);

4. The 6-th International School for Young Researchers «Smart Nanomaterials» IWSN2017 (Rostov-on-Don, Russia);

5. The International school-seminar for students, postgraduates and young scientists «Smart materials and mega-class research facilities» (Rostov-on-Don, Russia, 2018).

6. The 7th International School for Young Researchers «Smart Nanomaterials» IWSN2018 (Rostov-on-Don, Russia).

  • We have strengthened our leading position as a user of major scientific facilities, mainly synchrotron (ESRF, MAX-II, Elettra) and neutron sources (ISIS, FRM-II, ILL).
  • We have conducted 59 experiments with participation of the leading scientist: 14 experiments in 2014, 11experiments in 2015, 15 experiments in 2016, 12 experiments in 2017, 7 experiments in 2018. 
  • As of January 2019 our scientific contributions are presented in 75 articles published in peer-reviewed journals from the Web of Science ranking, average impact-factor of these journals is 6,198. Members of our group were invited to deliver oral presentations at important scientific forums such as EuropaCAT, XAА S and Faraday Discussion.


  • University of Turin (Italy), ESRF synchrotron (France), Kurchatov Institute (Russia), Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry, Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia): joint research, student exchange, collaborative scientific events, joint publications
  • Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Oslo (Norway), ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Haldor Topsoe (Denmark): joint research, student exchange
  • Chimet Arezzo (Italy): kpomt researcj, collaborative scientific events
  • Federal Research Center «Crystallography and Photonics» of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia): joint research, exchange of young researchers
  • (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute – MEPhI (Russia): joint research, exchange of young researchers, joint scientific projects

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Borfecchia E., Lomachenko K.A., Giordanino F., Falsig H., Beato P., Soldatov A.V., Bordiga S., Lamberti C.
Revisiting the Nature of Cu-sites in Activated Cu-SSZ-13 Catalyst for SCR Reaction. Chemical Science 6: 548–563 (2015).
Guda S.A., Guda A.A., Soldatov M.A., Lomachenko K.A., Bugaev A.L., Lamberti C., Gawelda W., Bressler C., Smolentsev G., Soldatov A.V., Joly Y.
Optimized Finite Difference Method for the Full-potential XANES Simulations: Application to Molecular Adsorption Geometries in MOFs and Metal-ligand Intersystem Crossing Transients. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 11(9): 4512–4521 (2015).
Lomachenko K.A., Borfecchia E., Negri C., Berlier G., Lamberti C., Beato P., Falsig H., Bordiga S.
The Cu-CHA deNOx Catalyst in Action: Temperature-Dependent NH3-Assisted Selective Catalytic Reduction Monitored by Operando XAS and XES. Journal of the American Chemical Society 138(37): 12025–12028 (2016).
Bugaev L., Guda A.A., Lazzarini A., Lomachenko K.A., Groppo E., Pellegrini R., Piovano A., Emerich H., Soldatov A.V., Bugaev L.A., Dmitriev V.P., Bokhoven J.A. van, Lamberti C.
In Situ Formation of Hydrides and Carbides in Palladium Catalyst: When XANES is Better than EXAFS and XRD. Catalysis Today 283: 119–126 (2017).
Tulchinsky Y., Hendon C.H., Korzynski M.D., Stubbs A.W., Kagan J.J., Melot B.C., Lomachenko K.A., Borfecchia E., Lamberti C., Hudson M.R., Brown C.M., Dincă M.
Reversible Capture and Release of Elemental Halogens with a Redox Active Metal-Organic Framework. Journal of the American Chemical Society 139(16): 5992–5997 (2017).
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