Merlyn Mathilda Thandu

Organic Chemist, Ph.D.


PhD Thesis





The research program of the graduate student will focus on the synthesis and characterization of new organic materials with potential application in the field of energy and environment.

In particular the aim of this project is to develop new materials that upon light irradiation are able to oxidize organic compounds and pathogens present in contaminated water. In this field titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been extensively studied over the last 35 years. Its mechanism of action rely on the production of reactive species of oxygen (ROS) triggered by irradiation with UV light. TiO2 proved to be very efficient but with an action limited to the water surface as the depth penetration of the UV radiation in the water bulk is only of few millimetres. In order to improve the performance of this type of treatment it is then necessary to use a material able to produce ROS by irradiation with visible light or, better, by blue light which is the most penetrating radiation in water.

Up to now only few researches have been conducted in photo catalytic water treatment using organic materials. These pioneering studies show that some new organic compounds and their derivatives have good efficiencies for environmental applications. In particular porphyrin and expanded porphyrin are promising compound to be test in this field. The research proposed for the graduate student internship  will focus on the synthesis of different porphyrogenic materials and on their water treatment performances. The best materials will be selected in order to be immobilized on different supports and then tested again for efficiency.

  • M. Thandu, C. Comuzzi, D. Goi, Phototreatment of Water by Organic Photosensitizers and Comparison with Inorganic Semiconductors, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHOTOENERGY, Article Number: 521367, 2015.

  • Thandu, C. Comuzzi, G. Rossi, D. Goi “Polymeric films for water photodisinfection”. In: M.R. Boni, P. Sirini, A. Chiavola, A. Polettini, R. Pomi, P. Viotti, A. Rossi. Book of Abstracts, (2016), X International Symposium on Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, SIDISA 2016. Rome, 19-23/06/2016, P/11, ISBN: 978-88-496-391-1.