Self-assembled dyes

We like to synthesize new organic chromophores, study their self-assembly, and use them in conversion of solar energy in chemical bonds. 

Stimuli-responsive polymers

We enjoy making and breaking supramolecular polymers through various stimuli. We particularly enjoy transient polymerizations.

Photocatalytic reactions

When we are not reducing protons or CO2, we like to develop novel photocatalytic reactions, which can be used in production of solar fuels or commodity chemicals.

Examples of ongoing research

Our main research interests are the design, synthesis, characterization, self-assembly, and application of π-conjugated molecular architectures for solar energy conversion and the development of novel photochemical reactions. 

Please check the following article to find out more about the main topic that we are currently pursuing: Cappelletti, D.; Barbieri, M.; Aliprandi, A.; Maggini, M.; Đorđević, L.*; "Self-assembled π-conjugated chromophores: preparation of one- and two-dimensional nanostructures and their use in photocatalysis" Nanoscale, 2024, 16, 9153-9168. (PDF).

We also like to develop novel photocatalytic systems for homo- and hetero-geneous production of solar fuels or commodity chemicals. Please look at our latest pre-print if you would like to know more: Stone, A.; Wang, X.; Fortunato, A.; Saggioro, E.; Snurr, R.; Arcudi, F.; Hupp, J.; Đorđević, L.*; "Cobaloxime-based homogeneous and metal-organic framework photocatalytic systems for selective reduction of acetylene to ethylene" ChemRxiv. 2024; doi:10.26434/chemrxiv-2024-rpl60 (PDF).

Previous post-doctoral research 

From 2018 to 2022, Luka was at Northwestern University (USA), where he was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Bio-inspired Energy Sciences (funded by the U.S. Department of Energy). The research was focused on novel supramolecular systems for photocatalysis and developing new photocatalytic reactions (Nature Chemistry 2022, 14, 1007;  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 144, 3127; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 8000;  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 18131). The work on photocatalytic systems was highly ranked by the Lincean Academy and, as a result Luka was awarded the "2020 Stanislao Cannizzaro International Prize in Chemistry and Physical Chemistry". More recently, the work and future vision on photocatalysis were highly ranked by independent and international peer review groups, and as a result Luka was selected as the "2021 Dream Chemistry Award Top 5" and "2022 European Young Chemists' Award Finalist"

During Luka's postdoc at the Universities of Trieste (IT) and Cardiff (UK) (2016-2018), he initiated new lines of inquiry through the preparation and characterization of novel heteroatom-doped molecules and nanomaterials. Luka prepared oxygen-doped polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, investigated their optoelectronic and redox properties, and prepared mixed valence conductive crystals (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 4106;  Org. Lett. 2020, 22, 4283).
During this period, Luka also prepared nitrogen-doped carbon-based dots and investigated ways to tune their properties (Nat. Nanotechol. 2022, 17, 112-130;  Nat. Protoc. 2019, 14; 2931;  Adv. Sci. 2021, 2100125). For example, he prepared nanoparticles that could be used as templates for formation of chiral supramolecular polymers (Nat. Commun. 2018, 9 (1), 3442) or to arrange multichromophoric arrays (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 12779;  Mater. Chem. Front. 2020, 4, 3640). This work was also the basis of the ERC Advanced Grant awarded to Prof. Prato in 2019 ("e-DOTS"). Moreover, the work in nanotechnology and photo-responsive systems (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60 (1), 313) was highly ranked in terms of scientific quality and, as a result, Luka was awarded the "2018 Primo Levi Award" and the "2020 Giacomo Ciamician medal". During this period, Luka also supervised a Ph.D. student, whose work was recognized as main author in Angewantde Chemie and Nature Communications articles.

Previous Ph.D. research 

In 2016, Luka obtained a PhD degree in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies, under the supervision of Prof. Davide Bonifazi. The PhD research work has contributed to (nano)structuration of organic nanomaterials in solution and surfaces (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 8150–8160;  Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2016, 18, 11858–1186). Luka proposed and developed new methods for transferring precise supramolecular nanostructures from solutions to surfaces based on organic and supramolecular chemistries. As a result of this work, Luka received the "2017 CINMPIS award for best PhD dissertation". During the PhD, he also spent one year as visiting scholar at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (USA), and his work there has led to one research article and two patents.


None of the research described here would have been possible without supportive collaborators, colleagues and advisors. Highlighted below are, in particular, ongoing and previous collaborations: