Who I am: My name is Clotilde Cucinotta and I am Italian. Besides science, I adore watching movies, exploring different cuisines with my friends, listening to Jazz or Classic music and reading. I am not particularly athletic, but love trekking and swimming in the sea.
Current research: electrochemical transformation is at the core of virtually all energy transformation processes, is present in almost every electronic device and regulates a multitude of biological phenomena, however, a comprehensive theory to model these phenomena and processes is yet to be developed. In 2018 I moved to Imperial College London with a EPSRC fellowship to develop more realistic models and a new methodology to simulate at the molecular level electrochemical devices and processes, modelling their electrical and chemical components in combination. My group and I use this to study a variety of different problems ranging from electrochemical water splitting to CO2 reduction, from materials stability to energy storage, from memristive switching to electrochemical gating. I have published about 30 articles and have about 45 invited talks.
Previous research: following my master in theoretical condensed matter physics and my PhD on modelling molecular self-assembly on semiconductor surfaces, I spent four years at ETHZ, where I pioneered new molecular dynamics techniques to model mass diffusion and chemical transformation in different materials. Here I also matured an interest for the energy problem, studying hydrogen storage in light weight alloys and energy conversion in SOFCs. Subsequently, I moved to TCD, and worked on different electron transport problems, as well as developed new models for environmental stability in 2D materials.
Career highlight: my EPSRC fellowship (£1.6M), which made possible to implement my idea of combining knowledge from molecular electronics and computational materials science to bring to the next level the molecular modelling of electrochemical systems in operation. From a science point of view, simulating and revealing new features in the molecular structure of key electrified interfaces has been a career milestone.
What I enjoy about my work: I love science and the rigour of its language. I enjoy exchanging ideas with the people I work with and to be part of innovative projects. This, and the sensation of excitement and inspiration which follows every new discovery or the understanding and exploration of unknown territories, is what drives my motivation. Network and funding: I am a founder and leader of the ICL Electrochemistry Network, which connects the large electrochemistry research community across ICL, and part of the steering committee of the Thomas Young Centre, which coordinates across London the activities of more than 100 theoretical research groups; In this quality have also organised many successful symposia and seminars. I am also part of exciting research projects in collaboration with industrial partners, for instance, I lead the computational WP of a BP-ICAM strategic project on hydrogen production, with several outstanding scientists from ICL, UoM and UIUC, to be awarded in Q1 2022, I am part of a project on CO2 management, founded by the Qatar science foundation, in collaboration with Shell.