August 31, 2022 - by CSCS

Carlo Antonio Pignedoli

Senior Scientist Institution Empa


  • 2001-2003 PhD in physics, University of Modena & Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • 2003-2007 Postdoc, IBM Research, Zürich Research Laboratory
  • 2007-Present Senior scientist, Empa

Area of research
Computational materials science.

Specialised in
Surface supported chemical reactions.

HPC means for me
To me, HPC represents the possibility to understand experiments, to anticipate them, or to conduct them in-silico, which might otherwise be impossible in practice.

Characterization of on-surface reactions in the fabrication of atomically precise nanographenes with non-hexagonal rings

On-surface synthesis is an important technique in organic molecule and polymer preparation. Experimentalists in the nanotech@surfaces Laboratory of Empa use this approach to fabricate novel carbon-based nanomaterials with outstanding electronic and magnetic properties. Carlo Pignedoli and coworkers use HPC to understand the key mechanism in the experimental fabrication process at the atomic level.

The combined theoretical and experimental efforts allowed for unraveling a novel and intriguing surface-catalyzed reaction: the selective formation of phenylene rings by cycloaromatization of two isopropyl-substituted arylenes on gold surfaces. The image shows an artistic representation of a key reaction step that precedes the cyclization, where the coupled substituents rotate along a newly formed C-C bond. (Image: Amogh Kinikar)