Research groups


Description of the research groups operating in the SIMAU Department.


Photonics and Optics of Soft Matter (1 PO, 2 PA)

The research activity concerns with optics of soft matter, specifically liquid crystalline materials and polymers. The main fields of investigation are nonlinear optics, optical storage, optical trapping and manipulation, optofluidics

Structure of Soft Condensed Matter Group (1 PO, 1 RTD, 1 DOTT)

The group studies the nanoscopic and supramolecular structure of thermotropic and lyotropic liquid crystals, liquid crystal polymers, liquid crystalline and polymeric composites, block-copolymers, for innovative applications in the field of optical data storage and processing and in biomedicine.

Solid state physics group (3 PA, 1 RU, 2 DOTT)

The research activity of the group is mainly experimental-applicative and concerns the study, by means of scanning and transmission electron microscopy techniques, X-ray diffraction and neutron scattering, of structural and chemical-physical characteristics of:
  • thin films made with different technologies;
  • nanostructured light alloys;
  • compounds and structures having properties of giant or colossal magnetoresistance;
  • nano-particles potentially toxic to man or the environment;
  • magnetic and nanomagnetic materials;
  • scintillator crystals;
  • supports (scaffold) for tissue engineering.
As far as magnetic materials are concerned, magnetic susceptibility and magnetization measurements are also carried out.

Chemistry group (1PO, 1PA, 1RU, 1RTD, 1ASS)

The main activities of the group concern:
  • synthesis and study of radical species reactivity and their precursors (nitroxides and nitrones) to be used as antioxidants (biological and polymeric) and as initiators of radical polymerization;
  • synthesis and structural characterization of new liquid crystalline nanosystems for drug, protein or genetic material delivery;
  • structural analysis by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) of organic material (cell cultures and tissue sections) and inorganic material of various origins.
One of the professor deals with Research in Didactics.

Applied Geology group (1PO, 2RU, 1 DOTT)

The research activity encompasses different aspects involved in the hydrogeological risk analysis (i.e. flood, landslides, pollution and erosion), water resources evaluation by means of quantitative techniques (hydrogeological surveys, tracer and isotope hydrology), the trial of new tracers for hydrogeological applications, fluvial dynamics and hydrology, isotopes and their variations in the hydrological cycle. Specific attention is paid to the methodological innovation (in particular concerning the development and experimentation of new techniques in tracer and isotope hydrology).

Geotechnical Group (1 PO, 1 PA, 4 RU, 1 ASS, 2 DOTT)

The Geotechnical Group is producing its research work in the classical fields of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering as well in the more recent field of Environmental Geotechnics, addressing subjects such as new geomaterials and the safety of contaminated lands. In particular, the research work on Soil Mechanics includes studies on the behaviour of geologically complex soils, often involved in large instability phenomena of both natural and man-made slopes. Most relevant subjects of Environmental Geotechnics are those of investigating contaminated lands, site-specific risk analyses, design of clean-up procedures and remedial measures, geotechnical stabilization and re-use of dredged materials. TheGeotechnical engineering research work is on topics of particular interest in Italy such as soil-structure interaction problems, numerical modelling of soils containing discontinuities, lime or cement soil stabilization and hydraulic barriers, static and seismic analysis of earth retaining structures and foundations. When needed, experimental activities rely upon the two departmental geotechnical  laboratories, a soil mechanics laboratory and an environmental geotechnics laboratory. The numerical work is carried out through up to date software codes (namely Pollute, Plaxis 2D and 3D and other codes for soil structure and foundation analyses)

Building Materials Group (1 PO, 2PA, 1 RU, 5 DOTT)

The group mainly deals with studying new formulations for building materials, expecially ceramics and polymers, with particular experience in mortars and concretes, evaluating the effects produced by additions of additives and particles or reinforcing fibers, ranging from nano to micro, in cement-based composites, studying the interactions among different components. Given the importance of environmental sustainability, the valorization of different industrial by-products in building materials as partial replacement of binders or aggregate/filler is studied. Innovative binders with geo-polymeric matrix are also developed. The corrosion of reinforcements in different binding matrices is evaluated, as well as the degradation of materials in Cultural Heritage and materials for innovative conservation. The effect of the materials on the energy efficiency of buildings is also studied as well as new materials able to improve the comfort and healthiness of living environments.

Corrosion and Materials Protection Group (1 PA, 1 RU, 1 TEC, 1 DOTT)

The group deals with the study of corrosive phenomena affecting metal materials and the strategies for their protection. The study methods are mainly based on exposure accelerated tests (carbonation chamber,salt spray and Kesternich cabinet) and on electrochemical tests, both in direct current and in alternating current. The investigations are also performed by optical and electron microscopy. Workstations are developed to study cathodic protection. Finally, the group handleszinc coatings obtained by hot-dipgalvanization and by electrodeposition from experimentalbaths with and withoutceramic nanoparticles.

Pollution Reduction and Characterization Group (1 TEC, 1 RES, 1 postDOC, 2 PhD st)

The group deals with the assessment of chemical risk and indoor air quality by means of direct measurements and by studying the interaction between the air and the materials. The group also carries out studyes aimed toward the sizing of industrial and civil filtering devices. In the civil field, new materials with self-cleaning properties are studied. The group deals also with the polluted sites characterization by mean of passive probes.

Biomaterials, Modelling and Solid Freeform Fabrication group (1 PA, 1 RTDa, 1 PTA)

The research unit works in the field of biomaterials as for regards the characterization and the manufacturing techniques. In particular, the research unit is involved in the anatomical modelling (CT and RMI images) and 3D printing as for regards custom made prostheses and tissue engineering scaffolds.

Chemical-Environmental and Sanitary Engineering group (1PO, 1RTD, 1 ASS, 2 DOTT)

The group of Chemical-Environmental and Sanitary Engineering works with the development, design and management of advanced technological systems and processes for treatment and valorization of urban and industrial wastewater and of liquid and solid wastes.

Urban Planning Area (1 PO, 1 PA, 1 RTDA, 1ASS)

The researcher team work on regional territory and study the relationship between the city and the countryside, with particular reference to the Town and Country Planning, urban area and district, peri-urban brownfields, landscape planning and historical identity frameworks of the territory. The applied research activities, activated with specific agreements, are mainly oriented to the Municipaly Urban Planning and territorial planning, to the urban public space innovation and requalification of historical-cultural and environmental resources.

Ecology research team (1AP, 2 Post-doc, 1 PhD student)

The scientific activity of the Ecology research team is dealing with the study of biodiversity and functioning of marine ecosystems, with particular focus on ecosystems degraded by human activity and assessment of their “health status” in relation to the European Marine Strategy Directive (MSFD). The research lines of the Ecology team are carried out with innovative and interdisciplinary approaches in the framework of national and international projects focused on deep-sea and coastal environments of the Mediterranean Seaand Antarctic, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The group also conducts researches in the field of marine microbial ecology and on the interactions between diversity and functioning of marine ecosystems using a combined approach based on microscopy and advanced molecular analyses (metagenomics) and biochemical assays.

Economics and Appraisal Group (1PA, 1 ASS)

The research group is currently engaged in researches related to marketing of food and fishery products (new product development, novel foods and food innovations, new packaging models for agro-food products, branding and environmental sustainability) and territorial, landscape research and environment (perception of landscape, ecosystem services of land and sea). The group participates in a strategic project of the Food Sector (Edible insects: new frontiers in food) and a European project ISAGE (innovation for sheep and goat production in Europe).