Maria Elena FRAGALA'

Associate Professor of General and inorganic chemistry [CHIM/03]


Associate Professor of General and Inorganic Chemistry (CHIM/03)

CoursesGeneral and Inorganic Chemistry and Laboratory at the B.D. course of Chemistry 

Main research topics:

1.Design and synthesis of new organometallic and organic-organic molecules at low-environmental impact as precursor sources for vapor deposition methodologies

2. Manufacture and development of new materials in the form of thin films and / or nanostructures based on oxides; 

  • Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and Metallorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD).
  • Chemical Bath Deposition (CBD)
  • Electrospinning (ES)
  • Chemical synthesis of nanoparticles 

3. Surface functionalization aimed at the manufacture of organic-inorganic hybrid materials; 

  • Covalent functionalization
  • Non-covalent functionalization

4. Synthesis (in solution) of supramolecular aggregates by stoichiometrically controlled non-covalent self-assembling processes;

5. Analysis and characterization aimed at the functional validation of materials;

  • Solid State: X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), RX Diffraction (XRD), Electronic Scanning Microscopy (SEM) associated with Electronic Dispersion Spectroscopy (EDX), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Solution: UV-Vis spectroscopy, circular dichroism, fluorescence 

6. Manufacture of nanostructured hybrid (polymer / inorganic) membranes for photocatalytic applications


ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9414-7780

Maria Elena Fragalà was born in Catania, Italy in 1972. She took her degree in Chemistry, with maximum qualification, at Catania University in 1995, by discussing a thesis titled “Study of Ion beams effects on the surface and molecular weight distribution of polymethylmethacrylate”. In 1996 she was awarded the Chemist Abilitation. On May 1999 she presented her Ph.D work in Chemistry Sciences with a thesis titled: ” Ion Beam Modifications On Ultrathin PMMA films”.
From November 1999 to October 2007 is Process Engineer for Front End of Line (FEOL) and Back End of Line (BEOL) products for Applied Materials srl, world wide leader in nanomanufacturing technology solutions with a broad portfolio of innovative equipment, service and software products for the fabrication of semiconductor chips, flat panel displays, solar photovoltaic cells, flexible electronics and energy efficient glass.
From October 2007 to October 2008, in collaboration with INSTM (Istituto Nazionale per la Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali), she was owner of a research project focus on synthesis, deposition and characterization of ZnO films, to be used as Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO), deposited by Metalorganic Chemical Vapour Deposition (MOCVD). From December 2008 is permanent researcher at Chemistry Department, University of Catania.
From January 2015 is Associate Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Chemistry Department of University of Catania.
The global research activity (academicals and industrial) of Dr. Maria Elena Fragalà is focus on fabrication and chemical/physical characterization of nanostructured materials (polymers, ceramics and metals) whose potentialities are appealing for a wide range of applications (microelectronics, optoeleptronics, sensing, energetics).
These materials have been obtained using different techniques: 1) spin coating of polymer and polymer/metal solutions; 2) MOCVD of ferroelectric (SBT, Ta2O5), nitride (TiN,) and oxide (ZnO) films; 3) CVD of semiconductors (Polycristalline Si, SiN, SiO2, WSi,) and metal (W); 5) Epitaxial Deposition of semiconductors (Si, SiGe); 6) Plasma Enhanced CVD (PECVD) of dielectrics (SiO2, SiN, doped SiO2); 7) Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) of metal (Al, Ti); 8) Electroplating (ECP) of metal (Cu).
Commercial and new synthesised precursors have been used
All these activities have been maturated in different scientific environments, academicals and industrial R&D.
The almost decennial experience, acquired working in the semiconductor industry, focused on process developing and control for the most advanced semiconductor R&D groups (STM, Intel, IBM, Siemens, AMD…), merges the need of new materials applicable in the new research frontiers with the roadmaps requirements of the emerging converging technology.
Maria Elena Fragalà has co-authored more than 90 papers published in peer-reviewed international journals dealing with both the study and modelling of ion beam interactions with polymeric materials and the synthesis and characterization of nanostructures materials whose properties (electronic, optical, catalytic) that can be tailored as a function of their dimensions, size distribution, and shape. Different synthesis routes have been exploited (Chemical Vapor Deposition, Sol-Gel, and their combinations). The obtained nanosystems are fully characterized by means of various investigation techniques such as XPS, SIMS, RAMAN, XRD, UV-Vis, FT-IR, AFM, SEM, and electrical measurements.
The most recent activity is based on new ceramic (ZnO, TiO2), hybrid organic-inorganic nanostructured materials and surface functionalization and engineering .


Academic Year 2021/2022

Academic Year 2020/2021

Academic Year 2019/2020

Academic Year 2018/2019

Academic Year 2017/2018

Academic Year 2016/2017

Academic Year 2015/2016