Technological and interdisciplinary research at INFN Padova
Only new eyes can discover new things! Innovation is the main keyword which drives the activity of the Commissione Scientifica Nazionale 5 (CSN5). New ideas serve to develop and improve detectors, scientific devices, and experimental techniques, to be applied in experiments and in the exploration of physical phenomena carried out in the other INFN scientific commissions. While traditionally in Padova such ideas span from micro-electronics to radiation and particle detectors, now they extend also to computer science and to quantum technologies.
Interdisciplinary is another keyword for CSN5! Application of physics techniques to other fields of science, such as, for example, medicine and biology, has a relevant role in the Padova activity as well.
Sometimes an idea originated for the pure research may be extended to practical applications for industrial or commercial uses. CSN5 is the best environment where researchers can start such a process, which is later finalized within other INFN initiatives.
CSN5 keeps a particular eye on young researchers. Every year it issues a grant to finance projects of young scientists, within a few years from their PhD studies.
Semiconductor sensors, used as particle detectors in physics for about 40 years, are continuously improved to meet new challenges. The ARCADIA project is developing state-of-the-art pixel sensors, as well as their read-out electronics, for the particle detectors of the future; not only for high energy physics experiments at particle accelerators, such as LHC and beyond, but also for astro-particle physics in space and for medical applications. For instance, a suitable application is particle tracking in proton computed tomography scanners at oncological hadron therapy facilities such as the Trento Proton Therapy Center.
Local coordinator: Jeffery Wyss
ASIDI aims at creating a “cannon” for particles as small as a bacterium, to change the properties of materials in a highly-localized way or to test microchips to be used in space applications or radiation detectors. In particular, the Padova group is developing a radiation sensor based on the flash memories (floating gate memories) used, for example, in smartphones, to precisely measure the beam size.
Local coordinator: Simone Gerardin
The huge amount of data generated in the pixel detectors of high energy physics experiments must be transferred at very high speed to the data acquisition system. In the FALAPHEL project we are studying the integration, in a single device, of both an electronic chip, which takes the digital signals from the pixels, and a photonic chip, which receives these data at very high speed and translate them into an optical signal, which are then transmitted to the readout electronics via optical fibers. Everything will be designed to work for years in environment with a very high radiation level. The Padova group is involved both in the design of the electronic chip and in the study the device radiation tolerance.
Local coordinator: Serena Mattiazzo
The METRICS experiment is part of a research area recently undertaken at the INFN Legnaro National Labs (LNL) whose aim is the production of radionuclides for both diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The goal of METRICS is to produce a particular radioisotope of manganese (52Mn) that could allow to simultaneously use two techniques of diagnostic imaging: PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with a significant improvement in the diagnostic capability of the single exam.
Local coordinator: Laura De Nardo
ML_INFN is the national initiative of INFN to coordinate the effort towards the widespread application of Machine Learning (ML) technologies to the research activities in particle and nuclear physics and their applications, for instance in the medical field.
The Padova group of ML_INFN is a node in a vast collaboration network that connects research groups on similar physics challenges with world leading experts in computing and software technologies. We operate mainly in two fields: development of cloud-based solutions for automatic deployment of large-scale infrastructures optimized for big data analytics and ML, and development of complex ML techniques for particle physics use cases.
Local coordinator: Marco Verlato
We are developing an electrostatic accelerator for light ions where the high voltage is generated in a completely new way, that is, exploiting lasers and photovoltaic solar cells. In such a way the accelerator has a modular structure, easier to manage from practical point of view, and the emitted beam has a stability and an energy resolution never obtained before.
Local coordinator: Pierluigi Zotto
The ability to detect gamma rays is important for the study of nuclei, of stars and even of the human body! The ‘eyes’ that let us ‘see’ gamma rays are leading edge detectors.
The goal of N3G is to develop new technologies to produce gamma detectors capable to measure both the energy and the direction of the gamma ray, while sustaining a strong radiation environment. For this purpose, we study how to make use of one of the purest materials mankind has ever created: hyper pure germanium (HPGe). We use laser radiation to modify the properties of surface electrons in germanium, and to segment it into sectors which allow gamma ray tracking.
Local coordinator: Francesco Recchia
REMIX studies some types of radionuclides, that is, nuclei that spontaneously decay emitting radiation, and can be used to produce radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis, imaging, and treatment of tumors and others serious illness. It is possible to integrate therapy and diagnosis to achieve more effective treatments. This new approach of advanced medicine is known as nuclear precision medicine.
Local coordinator: Luciano Canton
TERAPOL probes new exotic magnetic materials to develop a detector for the axion, an hypothetical elementary particle that might solve two mysteries: one regarding the Standard Model of particle physics, and the second regarding the nature of the dark matter that fills the cosmos.
We investigate candidate materials with terahertz radiation, between infrared waves and microwaves in the electromagnetic spectrum, generated by small antennas “switched on” by ultrafast laser pulses.
Local coordinator: Caterina Braggio