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The University of Southampton

Top honour for first year PhD student

Published: 11 July 2016
Lucas Verga

First year PhD student Lucas Verga has won the ‘best poster’ prize at a top Royal Society of Chemistry conference for his work on renewable energy.


He impressed the judges at the biennial conference of the RSC’s Theoretical Chemistry Group (TCG) in Nottingham with his research ‘Effect of graphene support on large platinum nanoparticles’ and was presented with his prize by the Chair of the RSC TCG, Professor Roy Johnston.

“I was delighted to receive this honour. The opportunity to present our work and receive positive feedback from international and UK scientists motivates us to keep developing our research,” he says.

Lucas is searching for efficient electrocatalysts for direct ethanol fuel cells, a clean, powerful and flexible way to generate electricity. He is working with Chris Skylaris, Professor of Computational Chemistry using quantum mechanical simulations to treat catalysts composed mainly of metallic nanoparticles.

Lucas comes from Brazil and has a physics degree and a Masters in Material Science from Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in São Paulo. “I wanted to come to the University of Southampton because it is one of the best 100 in the world,” he says. “Moreover, the type of large-scale quantum simulation necessary to the development of my project requires state-of-the-art computer software, such as the ONETEP code developed by Professor Skylaris and collaborators in other universities in the UK. Also, the University of Southampton currently has an excellent computational facilities, including a dedicated supercomputer, which allows the development of my research.”


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