PhD student of the week: Tommaso Cavallucci

I’m a Condensed Matter Physics Ph.D. student at Scuola Normale Superiore. I attended my bachelor and master degrees at the University of Pisa, and I started my Ph.D. program immediately after the graduation.
My research project consist in a theoretical study, mainly by DFT calculations, of the electromechanical properties of graphene, in particular of the corrugated graphene grown on SiC. Since graphene is not piezoelectric, the electromechanical properties involve the curvature. The aim of my project is to understand how the coupling with an electric field can be used to manipulate the graphene curvature, in order to design devices for the hydrogen storage or the energy harvesting.
As a preliminary result of the calculations of the optimized structure of graphene on SiC, I found a stable state and a metastable state of the graphene layer with opposite curvature. These two states can be used as starting and final points for an induced transition in order to manipulate the curvature (see pictures below).