Welcome to the research group of Prof. Leone Spiccia

Welcome to Prof. Leone Spiccia's research group at the School of Chemistry at Monash University. We are based in the Clayton campus of Monash University in Clayton, Australia.

Our research interests are divided between renewable energy and diagnostics. Our current research efforts are focused on the area of dye-sensitised and perovskite solar cells, water splitting cells and nanoparticles for cancer imaging.

A unique, exciting opportunity exists for gifted candidates interested in undertaking their PhD in the field of materials chemistry at Monash University within the global international research program funded through ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES)

Position description

23 Feb 2017 - Congratulations to Manjunath on his first ACES/Monash paper that has just been accepted for publication in Chemistry of Materials: Vertically Aligned Interlayer Expanded MoS2 Nanosheets on a Carbon Support for Hydrogen Evolution Electrocatalysis by M. Chatti, T. Gengenbach, R. King, L. Spiccia, and A. N. Simonov, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b00114.

11 Jan 2017 - The award of Doctor of Philosopy has been conferred upon Shannon A. Bonke for the thesis "Towards Light Driven Water Splitting". International thesis assessment from a leader in the field awarded perfect marks. Doctor Shannon A. Bonke has been with Spiccia group since 2012, first completing a Honours Degree of Bachelor of Science with a mark of first class and now a Doctor of Philosophy.

6 Jan 2017 - Shannon A. Bonke has joined Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie as a postdoctoral research fellow within the Institut Nanospektroskopie in Berlin, Germany. There research combining electrocatalysis and electron paramagnetic resonance will be undertaken with Doctor Alexander Schnegg and Professor Klaus Lips in the Berlin Joint EPR Lab and the BESSY-II synchrotron facility.

18 Dec 2016 - Vale, Leone.

25 Nov 2016 - Manjunath Chatti won the best poster award in RACI Inorganic Symposium 2016, held at University of Melbourne. Congratulations Manjunath!
Poster title: Efficient Hydrogen Evolution Catalysis by Vertically Aligned MoS2 Nanosheets Prepared by Microwave Synthesis.

15 Nov 2016 - An article has been accepted today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society focused on quantifying the catalytic parameters of cobalt, nickel and manganese oxides electrodeposited from borate buffer solutions. The article is now on the ACS website.
Parameterization of Water Electrooxidation Catalyzed by Metal Oxides Using Fourier Transformed Alternating Current Voltammetry. Shannon A. Bonke, Alan M. Bond, Leone Spiccia and Alexandr N. Simonov, J. Am. Chem. Soc. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b10304

11 Oct 2016 - Congratulations to Dijon on his first ACES/Monash paper that reports on integration of a metallic catalyst into a dye-sensitised photocathode for the H2 generation. DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2016.10.029

22 Sep 2016 - The Water Splitting / Synthetic Energy Systems team was back in Canberra for the Full Centre Meeting of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Electromaterials Science (ACES), hosted by Australian National University. Alexandr N. Simonov and Maxime Fournier were discussion leaders, Dijon A. Hoogeveen delivered a talk, while Shannon A. Bonke and Manjunath Chatti were also in attendance.

13 Sep 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke has had an interview about artificial photosynthesis with Nic Healey from 2SER Breakfast Radio, broadcast in Sydney, Australia. The interview is available in full on the station website: Are plants the answer for renewable fuels?

8 Sep 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke has had an article published in The Conversation explaining the concept of Solar Fuels to the non-scientific audience. In a sentence the argument is that solar panels cannot power society without storage, but using their power to reassemble fuel and burn it again at night creates a clean and infinite fuel supply.
The article Let’s chemically rebuild fossil fuels to create sustainable energy can be read in full here

7 Sep 2016 - Members of the Water Splitting / Synthetic Energy Systems team attended the Advancing energy sustainability by governance leadership in artificial photosynthesis meeting at Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Organised by Professor Thomas Faunce, the meeting discussed the requirements for a Global Artificial Photosynthesis Project. Shannon A. Bonke and Dijon A. Hoogeveen delivered talks and Manjunath Chatti was also in attendance.

23 Aug 2016 - Manda Xiao’s PhD thesis titled “High performance hybrid thin film solar cells” was ratified.

29 Jun 2016 - Iacopo Benesperi participated to the 2016 edition of the HOPV conference in Swansea, where he presented a poster with the title "Polypyridyl Iron Complex as Hole Transporting Material for Organic-Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cells".

15 June 2016 - 3rd year Monash Chemistry student Jarrah Clarke has just completed his research project at Spiccia's group under supervision of Maxime Fournier, Dijon Hoogeven and Alexandr Simonov. Following a recent study from our group (Bonke, S. A., M. Wiechen, D. R. MacFarlane and L. Spiccia (2015). Renewable fuels from concentrated solar power: towards practical artificial photosynthesis. Energy Environ. Sci. 8: 2791-2796), he constructed a 1.5 A electrolyser and powered it with a photovoltaic cell working under concentrated solar light. Field tests were undertaken on the roof of the new GCF building at Monash Clayton Campus.

5 May 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke arrives at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie for measurements at the BESSY-II synchrotron facility with Doctor Marc Tesch, within the research group of Professor Emad F. Aziz.
Following this he will work with Doctor Alexander Schnegg within the HZB Institut Nanospektroskopie for almost one month.

7 Mar 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke joins the research group of Professor Patrick R. Unwin at the University of Warwick for two months. All involved thank the ED-RACI and RSC-EIG for contributing funding through the award of a travel grant.

4 Mar 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke has attended the 2016 Gordon Research Conference on Solar Fuels in Lucca, Italy. He has delivered a talk at the associated GRS seminar and presented a poster on the record 22% solar to hydrogen energy conversion efficiency published in Energy & Environmental Science 2015.

2 Mar 2016 - The group welcomes Ganesharajah Mayoorini, a new Ph.D. student in the coordination chemistry group, who will work on sensors based on electrochemically sensitized luminescence.

11 Feb 2016 - Dr Alexandr N. Simonov was a speaker and won the award for best talk at the 11th International Electromaterials Science Symposium, held at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Members of the Water Splitting / Synthetic Energy Systems team were in the audience at the symposium. Alexandr presented his work on photoelectrochemical water oxidation with TaON and metal oxide catalysts that was recently published in ChemElectroChem, Volume 2, Issue 9, pages 1270–1278, September 2015 (paper).

20 Nov 2015 - We are pleased to announce that Robbin Vernooij has won an award for the best poster at the RACI Victoria Inorganic Chemistry Symposium 2015. Poster title: vibrational spectroscopic studies of photoactivatable diazido Pt(IV) anticancer complexes.

12 Nov 2015 - Shannon A. Bonke has been awarded a grant through the Australia/UK (PhD) student exchange initiative offered by The Electrochemistry Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and The Royal Society of Chemistry Electrochemistry Interest Group. Shannon will be a visiting researcher at the University of Warwick, UK, working with Professor Patrick R. Unwin. The aim of the visit is to examine catalytic electrodes with scanning electrochemical techniques.

11 Aug 2015 - A new publication focused on solar powered water splitting has been published in Energy & Environmental Science. Therein a 22% solar-to-fuel energy conversion efficiency is reported, the highest efficiency to be reported within the scientific literature. The paper describes an optimised pairing of components to reach this record efficiency. The article can be found on the RSC website.
Renewable fuels from concentrated solar power: towards practical artificial photosynthesis. S. A. Bonke, M. Wiechen, D. R. MacFarlane and L. Spiccia, Energy Environ. Sci., 2015, 8, 2791-2796. DOI: 10.1039/C5EE02214B.

30 Mar 2015 - The group welcomes Jessica Ainger-Brown, a visiting student from University of Warwick, UK working on synthesis and characterisation of metal complexes as solid-state HTMs

8 Sep 2014 - The group welcomes Dieter Faltermeier, a visiting student from University of Heidelberg, Germany working on PAA/zwitterionic-coated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles as MRI Agents

3 Sep 2014 - Following Manda's paper on planar perovskite deposition method, a new paper with Fuzhi Huang as first author has been accepted by the Nano Energy journal, also showing a new and facile method for the deposition of a high quality planar perovskite layer, with efficiencies reaching 17%. The article can be read here.

25 Aug 2014 - The group welcomes Carmen Rühl, a visiting student from University of Heidelberg, Germany working on assemblies of hexadentate bispidine attached PAA-coated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles as PET Imaging Agents

18 Aug 2014 - The group welcomes Elina Fuks, a visiting student from University of Heidelberg, Germany working on novel redox mediators for dye sensitized solar cells.

28 Jul 2014 - The group welcomes Chun Kiu Ng, an undergraduate research project student working on demonstrating direct solar-to-fuel conversion using next generation solar cells and water splitting catalysts.

22 Jul 2014 - A new paper with Manda Xiao as first author has been accepted by the Angewandte Chemie journal and considered as hot paper, the group's first article on perovskite solar cells. The title of the paper is "A fast deposition-crystallization procedure for highly efficient lead iodide perovskite thin flm solar cells." Summary of the article:
We report that flat, uniform thin films of CH3NH3PbI3 can be deposited by a one-step, solvent-induced, fast crystallization method involving spin-coating of a DMF solution of CH3NH3PbI3 followed immediately by exposure to chlorobenzene to induce crystallization. Planar heterojunction solar cells constructed with these solution-processed thin films yielded an average power conversion efficiency of 13.9% ± 0.7% and a best efficiency of 16.2% under standard AM1.5G conditions.
The article can be read here.

23 Jul 2014 - Dr. Wanchun Xiang is leaving the group for his new position as researcher at Wuhan University of Technology in China.

7 Jul 2014 - Release of the group's new website.

23 May 2014 - In collaboration with the group of Xin Li at Harbin Institute of Technology a facile strategy has been developed to improve the performance of aqueous DSC, which uses octadecyltrichlorosilane (ODTS) to form an organic barrier layer (ODTS) on the titania surface. This layer suppresses electron recombination by preventing redox-active species from approaching the titania surface and has resulted in a record aqueous DSCs efficiency of 5.6%.
The resulting article, published on the Angewandte Chemie journal, can be read here.

11 Apr 2014 - A new paper, with Mathias Wiechen as first author, has been published on the Energy & Environmental Science journal as an invited review. The title of the paper is "Water oxidation catalysis by manganese oxides: learning from evolution". The article can be read here.

31 Mar 2014 - A new article has been published on the Small journal, reaching a front cover feature, regarding Zwitterionic-Coated "Stealth" Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications. Summary of the article:
Cloak of invisibility ‐ Studies on the ability of zwitterionic coatings to minimise the nonspecific adsorption of biomolecules to the surface of nanoparticles thereby enabling them to evade phagocytosis are reviewed. This approach represents a very promising route for the development of clinically-approved nanoparticle-based theranostic agents with fewer off-target effects.
The article can be read here.