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Biography

Francesca is a senior lecturer working in the Theory & Simulation of Condensed Matter group in the Department of Physics at King's College London. She received her M.S. degree cum Laude in Physics (Laurea) at the University of Genova in 1999 and gained a national qualification to become a high school physics teacher in 2000. She was awarded a PhD in 2003 from the University of Genova and went on to become a postdoctoral fellow at the International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. In 2006-2007 she was a postdoctoral associate of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. She joined King’s College London in 2007 and became a senior lecturer in 2013. 

Francesca is a member of the scientific committee of Energy Materials at the Thomas Young Centre and her profile can be found here.

Research

The core of Francesca's research is dedicated to addressing key processes in catalysis, energy storage, and environmentally-hazardous chemical reactions, combining classical and quantum numerical simulations, as characterization tools. Her goal is to understand the catalytic processes of materials at the nano-size regime, which are of fundamental importance in fuel cell chemistry, hydrogen storage materials, as well as role in ozone depletion (catalytic processes on ice systems in the mid and upper atmosphere), combining classical and quantum numerical simulations, as characterization tools.

Recently, part of her work on Nanocatalysis has been published for a general public, article available on Research Features https://researchfeatures.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Prof-Johnston-Dr-Baletto-UniBirmingham_King’s-College-Catalysis.pdf and she released a interview for South East consortium, https://www.ses.ac.uk/2017/05/24/modelling-magic/

Francesca has authored "Structural properties of nanoclusters: Energetic, thermodynamic, and kinetic effects" (RMP, 2005) selected by ScienceWatch in 2008 as "Emerging Research Front Paper in the field of Chemistry" and still today one of the most cited and relevant papers in the field of metallic nanoparticles. Interview available at http://archive.sciencewatch.com/dr/erf/2008/pdf/08octerfFerrET.pdf

Her research is funded by EPSRC, Fapesp/KCL and the Royal Society.