Anna Martinelli

Associate Professor; Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Surface Chemistry

Anna Martinelli works at Chalmers and is affiliated as an Associate Professor since December 2015. She holds a Master of Science degree in Physics based on studies initiated in Italy and then continued in Sweden. She pursued a PhD program with focus on materials science at the group of condensed matter physics at Chalmers (under the supervision of Prof. Aleksandar Matic) investigating ion conducting polymer-based materials. As a postdoctor Anna spent first a period at the University of Rome La Sapienza at the group of Prof. Bruno Scrosati studying Li-salt/ionic liquid mixtures of interest for use in Li-ion batteries, and then a period at the Institute Nationale Polytechnique de Grenoble (INP-G) to design, produce, and operate a fuel cell device for in situ µ-Raman spectroscopic measurements. At her current position at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of Chalmers Anna leads a research group focusing on the physico-chemical properties of pure ionic liquids, ionic liquid mixtures and ionic liquids in nanoscaled domains. Anna holds (and has received) research grants from, among others, the the Hasselbald Foundation, the Chalmers Areas of Advance (Materials Science & Energy), Formas, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Research Council (VR).

Anna teaches in the course Chemistry for Engineers (KTK-112) together with Kasper Moth-Poulsen and Magnus Skoglundh. This course is aimed to transfer the basic knowledge of inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. The course content is based on the book ”Chemistry3” by Burrows, Holman, Parsons, Pilling, and Price (2nd Edition). 

Anna teaches also in the course Chemistry and Materials (KBT-290), which includes functional and chemical aspects of crystalline materials and ceramics, composite materials, and nanoporous materials. Other teachers are Andreas Dahlin and Jan Froitzheim. In this course she is also the examiner. 

Anna has also held guest lectures for the course Energy Related Materials (TIF-260), given at the department of physics by Christoph Langhammer and Maths Karlsson.

Group members
PhD student Szilvia Vavra
PhD student Iqbaal Abdurrokhman
PhD student Eduardo Mourina Morais
Previous group members

PostDoc Olesia Danyliv (previous PhD student of Dr. Cristina Iojoiu, now at Rise)
PostDoc Mohammad Hasani (previous PhD student of Prof. C.A. Angell, now at Cambrex)
PostDoc Khalid Elamin (previous PhD student of Prof. Jan Swenson)
PhD student:  Negin Yaghini (now employed at ABB)
PostDoc:  Mounesha N. Garaga (now employed as postdoc at Halifax University)
PostDoc:  Moheb Nayeri (now employed at CIT, Chalmers Industri Teknik)
Master thesis students: Sanna Björkegren and Rose Fassihi (2012)
Bachelor Thesis students: Johanna Abrahamsson, Emil Andreasson, Niklas Hansson, David Sandström, Ellinor Wennberg (2014)
Advised Master thesis student: Emma Lundin (2015)

Research areas

IONIC LIQUIDS. Ionic liquids are molecular salts with a melting point close to room temperature. They are typically composed of bulky and asymmetric ions including pyrrolidinium, ammonium, or imidazolium cations, and triflate, sulfonate, or imide anions.  Ionic liquids are characterized by a high ionic density, a relatively low viscosity, a high ionic conductivity, and good thermal and chemical stabilities, and are therefore emerging materials for use in electrochemical devices like fuel cells, batteries, and solar cells. Protic ionic liquids represent a subclass that by virtue of having a protic group provide extended H-bonded networks and hypothetically exchangeable protons. A debated question in this field is to what extent the Grotthuss mechanism of proton motion contributes to the overall charge transport.
. The ionic liquid properties that I aim to investigate are primarily the mobility of the individual ions (which we probe by conductivity and self-diffusion measurements by NMR spectroscopy), the phase behavior (DSC), the nature of intermolecular interactions (probed by vibrational and NMR spectroscopy), and nano-structuration (SAXS). I am also interested in understanding how these properties change upon addition of a second component such as water or another amphoteric molecule.

WATER–IONIC LIQUID MIXTURES. While for many years the presence of water in ionic liquids has been considered an hostility, during the last decade a new research filed has grown that is based on the deliberate addition of water to mainly protic ionic liquids. In this context, I am interested in exploring the effect of added water, even at very small concentrations, to both the conducting properties and the nature of ion-ion interactions. The establishment of new molecular configurations can result in faster ionic mobility and, as a consequence, be beneficial for use in for instance PEM fuel cells. To achieve a thorough understanding of the structure-property correlation I employ a set of spectroscopic methods focused on NMR and vibrational spectroscopy, which we complement with diffusion NMR and DSC experiments.
SILICA BASED IONOGELS.  To address the issues of low operational temperatures and high production costs associated with the current PEM Fuel Cell technology, I am developing a new material concept based on the nano-confinement of ionic liquids into nano-porous silica. These materials can also be referred to as ionogels. In this new and rapidly expanding field I have investigated the sol-gel synthesis approach contributing significantly to the elucidation of the molecular coordination and orientation at the ionic liquid–silica interface by solid–state NMR. More recently, I have also investigated the performance of ionogels based on the swelling of nano-porous silica micro-particles by selected protic ionic liquids. These are mechanically more robust than the sol-gel derived ionogels and are versatile in terms of variable pore size and pore geometry as well as pore wall chemistry. Our most recent results are promising and indicate that we can control the improvement in ionic mobility by surface modifications.
Anna has national and international collaborations, mainly with: Prof. Brad Chmelka (University of California Santa Barbara, US) on the use of advanced solid state NMR methods, Prof. Luis Miguel Varela Cabo (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain) for complementary molecular dynamics simulations, Dr. Manuel Maréchal (CEA–Grenoble, France) for the use of small angle x-ray scattering, and Prof. Andreas Taubert (University of Potsdam, Germany) on the functionalization of silica surfaces for enhanced and selective ionic transport. Anna has also established a fruitful collaboration with the company AkzoNobel PPC through prof. Michael Persson (Chalmers, Sweden).
​June 2020: we congratulate Iqbaal and Szilvia for achieving the licentiate degree! 

October 2018: We congratulate Olesia for winning the Best Poster award at the EuCheMSIL conference in Lisbon!

August 2017: we welcome three new members to our group, i.e. Mohammad Hasani, Olesia Danyliv and Iqbaal Abdurrokhman.

August 2016: We congratulate Negin for an excellent thesis defence and thank Prof. Maria Forsyth for having been such a perfect opponent!

January 2016: We wish Mounesha a great future as a postdoc in Halifax, Canada.

December 2015: we congratulate Anna for having been appointed Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering!
November 2015: we congratulate Anna for receiving the Hasselblad Foundation grant for Female Researchers for an amount of 1.000.000 swedish crowns.
December 2014: We congratulate Negin Yaghini for having presented and defended her licentiate thesis!
August 2014: we wish Moheb good luck with his new job at Chalmers Industri Teknik (CIT)!
January 2014: We welcome Dr. Mounesha N. Garaga as a postdoc and new group member!
November 2012–January 2013: Anna spends a three-months period (1 + 2 months) visiting the group of Prof. Brad F. Chmelka. The financial support from the Barbro Osher Foundation and the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation is kindly acknowldged for making this possible.
November 2012: We congratulate Anna for receiving a research grant from the Swedish Research Council (VR) for an amount of 3.400.000 swedish crowns.
February 2012: we welcome Dr. Moheb Nayeri as a postdoc and new group member!
January 2012: We congratulate Anna for receiving the prestigious Ingvar Carlsson Award (ICA-4) from the Swedish Foundation for Strategis Research (SSF) for an amount of 3.000.000 swedish crowns.
December 2011: we welcome Negin Yaghini as a new member and PhD of our group!
September 2010: Anna starts a new group and new research activities at the department of chemistry and chemical engineering as an assistant professor. This with the generous financial support from the Chalmers’ Areas of Advance Energy and Materials Science of 8.000.000 swedish crowns.
The research activities ongoing in Anna’s group are mainly funded by the Chalmers’ Areas of Advance (Energy & Materials Science), the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), the Swedish Research Council (VR), the Hasselblad Foundation, and the J. Gust Richter Foundation. In addition, exchange periods abroad have been supported by the Barbro Osher Foundation, the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation, and BIOSUM.

Published: Wed 10 Jun 2020.