Vai al contenuto principale

Materials for energy: superconductors, H2 storage, batteries and thermoelectrics


Materials for energy: superconductors, H2 storage, batteries and thermoelectrics


Academic year 2023/2024

Course ID
Marco Truccato (Lecturer)
Erika Michela Dematteis (Lecturer)
Degree course
Materials Science [0208M21]
Materials Science [0202M21]
1st year, 2nd year
Teaching period
First semester
Course disciplinary sector (SSD)
FIS/03 - physics of matter
ING-IND/22 - materials science and technology
Class Lecture
Type of examination

Sommario del corso


Course objectives

Energy production, harvesting, storage, use and saving represent crucial issues for the development of sustainable  economies and societies. The development of advanced materials along with their relevant technologies plays an important role in implementing effective solutions for these challenges. The present course is intended to face these problems by presenting the properties of a few classes of materials that are playing an increasing role in the life cycle of energy.

Among them, metallic low temperature superconductors as well as high-temperature superconducting oxides will be discussed from the point of view of their structure, properties, governing physics, main applications, economical opportunities and limits of their performances.   

Moreover, materials for energy storage,  energy harvesting and batteries will be discussed with special attention to hydrogen storage materials and thermoelectric materials. Principles for energy storage, energy harvesting and batteries will be described together with the strategies for the development of materials suitable for the applications.


Results of learning outcomes

  • Ability to describe the fundamental properties of various classes of superconducting materials and their respective fields of application, with special care to energy-related applications
  • Ability to master the basic concepts underlying the properties of superconducting materials
  • Ability to understand and manage fundamental physical models describing the properties of superconductors
  • Ability to describe the fundamental principles of hydrogen storage and energy harvesting.
  • Knowledge of the main hydrogen storage materials, thermoelectric materials and materials for batteries and knowledge of their properties
  • Understanding of the relationship between compositions, microstructures and properties of hydrogen storage materials and thermoelectric materials


  • BEHAVIOR OF NORMAL METALS: Pauli paramagnetism
  • PHENOMENOLOGY OF SUPERCONDUCTING MATERIALS: superconducting transition, critical magnetic field, critical current density.
  • THERMODYNAMICS OF THE SUPERCONDUCTING TRANSITION: difference in Gibbs free energy, entropy and specific heat between superconducting and normal state.
  • TYPE II SUPERCONDUCTORS: vortexes and their involvement in energy dissipation and in magnetic levitation.
  • CRYSTAL STRUCTURE AND ELECTRONIC PROPERTIES: Most common structures, role of oxygen doping in high-Tc superconductors, defect production for vortex pinning.
  • APPLICATIONS OF SUPERCONDUCTING MATERIALS: cables for electricity transport, power generators, electrical motors, levitation systems, electromagnets for research and medicine, digital circuits.
  • PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION OF SUPERCONDUCTING BEHAVIOR: The first London equation for non-dissipating electrons. The second London equation for perfect diamagnetism and magnetic penetration depth. Intuitive description of Cooper pairing.
  • Principles of energy storage
  • Description of batteries
  • Description of the different materials for hydrogen storage: metal compounds and relative metal hydrides; complex hydrides
  • Principles of energy harvesting
  • Description of materials for energy harvesting: thermoelectric materials

Course delivery

Following the guidelines of UniTO, lectures wil be only in person for this academic year, for a total amount of 32 hours.

Attendance to lectures is advised but not compulsory.

In case extra hours will be needed to recover lectures cancelled for unpredictabe reasons, they could be given also in remote mode, provided that they do not exceed 20% of the total amount of hours of the course.

No pratical classes are foreseen for this course.



Learning assessment methods

The exams will be in person.

Remote examinations can be requested by students only in the cases specified by the University rules, i.e. COVID-19 related health problems.

Examinations will be oral only and split into 2 sets of questions to be taken in series in the same session, each of them concerning the topics dealt with during each course module: i) superconductors, and ii) H2 storage, batteries and thermoelectrics.

Assessment criteria will be:

  • Ability to coherently and extensively organize a speech to introduce one of the topics of the course;
  • Critical thinking and capability to correlate different aspects of the course and to compare them with more general scientific knowledge;
  • Correct use of technical language;
  • Fluence in topic discussion;
  • Ability to discuss and prove mathematical formulae when requested.

Each of the 2 series of questions will results in independent marks expressed out of 30. 30 cum laude represents the maximum possibile outcome.

These 2 marks will be averaged after discussion beween the teachers in a non-deterministic way, where the mathematical average will represent the guideline, but the final outcome could also be slightly different following the contents of teachers' discussion.

Suggested readings and bibliography



A copy of slides is avaiable in Moodle:

Prof. Truccato:

Prof. Dematteis:


The students with special needs and disabilities can find information on the follow websites:



Further information

Class scheduleV

Lessons: from 03/10/2022 to 22/12/2022

  • Open
    Enrollment opening date
    29/06/2023 at 17:00
    Last update: 29/02/2024 13:49
    Non cliccare qui!