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Enzo Menna received his Laurea Degree in Chemistry in 1995, cum laude at the University of Padova, where he gained his PhD in 1998 with a project concerning the study on hydrogen bond formation by NMR measurements and quantum chemical calculations.
His present activity concerns the synthesis of organic materials.
In 1999, while completing his research about hydrogen bonding [Bagno et al. Chem Eur, 2000] he started working on the functionalization of fullerenes. Since then he developed a branch concerning the chemistry of Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs), an almost unexplored topic at that time. Main goal of his research has been the realization of soluble and functional CNT derivatives, through the development of functionalization and purification protocols, [Salice et al. Carbon, 2014; Cordella et al. Carbon, 2009; D’Este et al. Eur J Org Chem, 2006] also including continuous flow strategies (applied to fullerenes too) [Salice et al. J. Flow Chem., 2014; Salice et al. Chimica Oggi-Chemistry Today, 2012; Silvestrini et al. Eur J Org Chem, 2011; Salice et al. Chem Commun, 2011; and one patent]. The products that were obtained have allowed the study of physico-chemical properties of CNTs in solution and the incorporation in solid matrices and have disclosed the possibility to use CNTs as nanofillers while enabling controlled polymerization strategies [Gambetta et al. Nature Phys, 2006; Manzoni et al Phys Rev Lett, 2005; Menna et al. Carbon, 2006; Salice et al. Chem Commun, 2013]. The incorporation in biocompatible polymer matrices has also been used to obtain scaffolds for the growth of neuronal cells [Scapin et al. Nanomed.-Nanotechnol. Biol. Med., 2015]. In this frame, he has been involved in the European FP7 Small or Medium Scale Collaborative Research Project “Nanocomposite and Nanostructured Polymeric Membranes for Gas and Vapour Separations - DoubleNanoMem” where he was in charge of the functionalization and characterization of CNTs as nano-fillers for the polymeric membranes. He also established a collaboration with VenetoNanotech ScpA and some academic research groups working in the biological and medical fields for the evaluation of the impact of carbon nanotubes on human health (ECSIN). His interest on CNT derivatives includes also non-covalent approaches, such as the endohedral functionalization, namely the encapsulation of fullerenes or photoactive organic molecules in the inner cavity of CNTs (project NanoSciERA 2006). [Milko et al. J Phys Chem Lett, 2013; Gao et al. Small, 2011; Loi et al. Adv Mater, 2010; Campestrini et al. Small, 2008].
Another non-covalent approach is the modification of CNTs through reversible supramolecular interactions.[Guldi et al. Chem Eur J, 2006; Salice at al. J Phys Chem C, 2014]
At the same time, Enzo Menna has also carried on projects dealing with the synthesis of C60 fullerene derivatives with potential applications in the field of materials science and, in particular, photovoltaics (PV) and photoactive materials [Salice et al. J. Mater. Chem. C, 2014; Possamai et al. Chem Eur J, 2005; Maggini et al. Chem Commun, 2002; Guldi et al. Chem Eur J, 2001; Zhang et al. Advanced Materials, 2001; Luo et al. Angew Chem, 2000]. In particular, the interest for organic and hybrid PV materials has led to the rise of a recent research line based on the modification of CNTs for the inclusion in bulk heterojunction (project FIRB-Futuro in Ricerca 2008) and DSSC devices (project PRIN 2010 - DSSCX) [Salice et al. J. Mater. Chem. C, 2015; Cataldo et al. Energy Environ. Sci., 2012]. Different photoactive organic materials, based on conjugated organic oligomers with strong two-photon absorption where synthesized for applications in the field of optical limiting and bio-imaging. [Fabbrini et al. J Am Chem Soc, 2004]
In summary, his overall publications concern NMR and theoretical investigations on hydrogen bond formation, the synthesis of bioactive polycyclic compounds, the chemistry of carbon nanostructures and advanced organic materials in general.
He is member of the Italian Chemical Society, of the American Chemical Society and of Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali - INSTM. He teaches organic chemistry and chemistry of organic materials. He has been supervisor for 2 PhD thesis, 11 master (five years) theses and 13 bachelor (three years) theses.