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Tematiche di ricerca del dottorato

Bando 40° ciclo
Primo bando 40° ciclo - Borse a tematica vincolata

 

A - Development of innovative techniques for anti-matter identification in Cosmic Rays. PHeSCAMI – Pressurized Helium Scintillating Calorimeter for AntiMatter Identification Codice Progetto: PRIN 2022LLCPMH CUP: E53D23002100006

Topic: Development of innovative techniques for anti-matter identification in Cosmic Rays
Research group link: https://www.tifpa.infn.it/projects/adhd/
Contacts: Prof. Paolo Zuccon
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Low energy anti-deuterons in cosmic rays are considered a golden channel for the identification of Dark Matter annihilations in space. The candidate will join the PHeSCAMI (Pressurized Helium Scintillating Calorimeter for AntiMatter Identification) project that will exploit the delayed annihilations of the exotic-He atoms for the identification of anti-deuterons in space. The candidate will contribute to the design and construction of the detector prototype and to the calibration with particle beam.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate should possess problem solving skills. Knowledge of C++ or Python programming languages.

 

B - Ultra Fast Outflows from AGN accretion discs in the X-ray calorimeter era

Topic: Ultra Fast Outflows from AGN accretion discs in the X-ray calorimeter era
Contacts: Dr. Valentina Braito valentina.braito [at] inaf.it Prof. Albino Perego albino.perego [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: It is commonly accepted that the co-evolution of supermassive black holes (SMBH) and of their host galaxies is regulated by powerful outflows driven by the central SMBH. The successful candidate will investigate the X-ray emission from SMBH, focusing on some of the most powerful and extreme ultra-fast winds, launched from the accretion disk of SMBH. The main goals of the project are: a. derive an estimate of the physical parameters of these winds; b. investigate the presence or lack of correlations between the wind parameters and the accretion rate of the SMBH; c. deduce the main driving mechanism for the disk winds. The candidate will join a group deeply involved in the observational side as well as in the development of physically motivated models. The group has access to deep, proprietary X-ray observations that will be at the core of the project and will have access to the latest X-ray calorimeter data (i.e. for the XRISM and ATHENA calorimeter). The successful candidate will have the opportunity to participate in the other research activities of the group: from the X-ray observations of heavily obscured SMBH, to the search of and characterization of dual and binary SMBH and the simulations for future mission in the X-ray band and the gravitational wave detectors.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Knowledge of the physic of compact objects and of Active Galactic Nuclei, in particular of the AGN X-ray emission. Experience with the basic X-ray spectral fitting. Good computational skills.

 

C - Dissipative quantum chaos at the interface of cold atoms and gravity theory Codice Progetto: SERI No. UeMO19-5.1 CUP: E63C23001140007

Topic: Dissipative quantum chaos at the interface of cold atoms and gravity theory
Research group link: https://hauke-group.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: philipp.hauke [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The holographic principle establishes a deep connection between a bulk gravity theory and a strongly-coupled boundary field theory, with drastic consequences such as the saturation of bounds on quantum chaos, the fast loss of quantum information, or the absence of quasiparticles. Though these properties render such holographic quantum matter highly relevant across many fields of physics, its laboratory realization remains elusive. Recently, we have presented a promising implementation, based on cold fermionic atoms in an optical cavity [1]. While first steps have been achieved by an experimental partner group [2], many obstacles remain, in terms of implementation and fundamental theory. In this PhD project, we will understand the impact of—experimentally inspired—deformations, in particular dissipation, on the phenomenology of the model. Can one still reach the holographic limit? And if so, what do the deformations mean on the gravity side? Further, we will apply the cold-atom and quantum-optics toolbox to design improved implementations. From this work, we will achieve significant advances in two routes. First, we will achieve a deeper understanding of quantum chaos, its limits, and how it persists under dissipation. Second, we will make significant strides towards a first laboratory realization of holographic quantum matter. To achieve these goals, the PhD candidate will apply a combination of analytical and numerical techniques, and they will closely collaborate with leading theoretical and experimental groups. The work will be performed within the project Holograph. [1] A cavity quantum electrodynamics implementation of the Sachdev--Ye--Kitaev model, Uhrich et al., arXiv:2303.11343 (2023). [2] Engineering random spin models with atoms in a high-finesse cavity, Sauerwein et al., Nature Physics 19, 1128–1134 (2023).
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate has a strong background in theoretical physics, in particular in field theory, gravity theory, quantum optics, atomic physics, and quantum many-body theory. They should be interested in connecting fundamental theory questions to experimental realizations, they should be confident with addressing difficult theoretical questions through analytical and numerical tools, and they should have excellent team-working capacities.

 

D - E - Particle, astroparticle, nuclear, theoretical physics, related technologies and applications, including medical Physics (2 positions)

Topic:Particle, astroparticle, nuclear, theoretical physics, related technologies and applications, including medical Physics
Contacts: For further information on the possible research topics see www.infn.it or contact Rita Dolesi for experimental Physics (Rita.Dolesi [at] unitn.it ); Francesco Pederiva for theoretical Physics (Francesco.Pederiva [at] unitn.it) Chiara La Tessa for applied and medical physics (chiara.latessa [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The thesis topics will be selected within the many areas of forefront research pursued at Trento Institute for Fundamental Physics and Applications (TIFPA) of INFN. Current main activities include: 1) experimental particle and astroparticle Physics, 2) experimental gravitation both earth and space based, 3) gravitational wave astronomy, 4) antimatter related experiments, 5) R&D on particle and radiation detectors and other solid state quantum micro devices, 6) computational Physics and AstroPhysics, 7) theory of fundamental interactions, 8) theoretical cosmology , 9) medical physics applied to therapy with high energy charged particles

 

F - Particle Accelerator on A Chip

Topic: Particle Accelerator on A Chip
Research group link: https://sd.fbk.eu/en/
Contacts: Antonino Picciotto picciotto [at] fbk.eu & Richard Hall-Wilton rhallwilton [at] fbk.eu
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Accessing advanced acceleration structures with microfabrication techniques: Particle accelerators are becoming huge - the proposed Future Circular Collider with 100km circumference. Here, acceleration is addressed from the opposite end, using microfabrication to obtain extremely compact structures, to produce particle beams for a variety of possible applications. In other words: particle acceleration on a chip. The topic will study and design possible devices. It will then utilise the micro- and nano- fabrication facilities at the Sensors&Devices to realise them and to test these prototype structures. Consideration of potential applications of such devices will be considered from the beginning of the design.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): An interest and aptitude for design and microfabrication of silicon devices is expected. A hands on and practical mentality is desired. Experience of data handling and analysis is similarly helpful. An interest in the particle acceleration and applications of particle beams is useful.

 

G - Development and applications of TERS and TEPL techniques to study semiconductor materials for quantum technologies

Topic: Development and applications of TERS and TEPL techniques to study semiconductor materials for quantum technologies
Research group link: Materials & Topologies for Sensors & Devices group (MTSD), Center for Sensors and Devices (SD - https://sd.fbk.eu/), Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK).
Contacts: Dr Rossana Dell’Anna – dellanna [at] fbk.eu Dr Massimo Bersani – bersani [at] fbk.eu
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Tip-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) combines the chemical analysis of the Raman technique with the increased sensitivity of the SERS (Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy) approach and the nanometric spatial resolution of the Scanning Probe Spectroscopy (SPM). Since the technique uses a Raman spectrometer, Tip-Enhanced Photoluminescence (TEPL) is also possible for probing chemical, electrical and optical properties at the nanoscale. The spectroscopy information is provided along with all the measurements enabled by SPM, such as topography and electrical and mechanical properties. The advantages of these spectroscopies, namely the lateral resolution beyond the diffraction limit and the non-destructive, label-free and in-air interaction, open new possibilities for nanotechnology and quantum applications. A new TERS/TEPL equipment was recently installed in the FBK-SD laboratories. This PhD project aims to set up the TERS/TEPL techniques and apply them to the study of optical and morphological properties of semiconductor materials, also nanostructured, used for quantum technologies, down to the single quantum object scale. This research activity will be carried out in the framework of some ongoing projects on quantum sensors and devices at FBK-SD
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Master degree in physics or chemistry; background in Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopy or quantum optics; background in data and image analysis and processing; teamwork approach, good communication and relational skills; aptitude for problem-solving.

 

H - Dopant Characterization in Silicon Carbide (SiC) Semiconductors: Towards Enhanced Electronic Devices

Topic: Dopant Characterization in Silicon Carbide (SiC) Semiconductors: Towards Enhanced Electronic Devices
Research group link: Materials & Topologies for Sensors & Devices group (MTSD), Center for Sensors and Devices (SD - https://sd.fbk.eu/), Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK).
Contacts: bersani [at] fbk.eu
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Silicon Carbide (SiC) has emerged as a promising semiconductor material for electronic devices due to its exceptional material properties, including high thermal conductivity, wide bandgap, and excellent chemical and mechanical stability. As SiC-based devices become increasingly integral to various applications, understanding and optimizing dopant characteristics is crucial for advancing their performance and reliability. This thesis focuses on the comprehensive characterization of dopants in SiC semiconductors, aiming to bridge the gap between material science and device engineering. The research involves the exploration of various dopant types, concentrations, and their impact on the electrical, structural, and thermal properties of SiC. Both traditional and novel doping techniques are investigated, with an emphasis on their effects on carrier mobility, doping efficiency, and device functionality. The experimental methodology encompasses advanced analytical techniques such as Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), and Hall effect measurements to precisely quantify and analyze dopant profiles, dopant activation levels, and their distribution within the SiC lattice. Additionally, the impact of dopants on defect formation and migration in SiC will be investigated to gain insights into the material's long-term stability and reliability. The research also explores the practical implications of dopant characterization on SiC device performance. Through the integration of the acquired knowledge, this study aims to propose optimized doping strategies for enhancing the efficiency and reliability of SiC-based electronic devices. The findings of this research hold significant potential for advancing the field of SiC semiconductors, enabling the development of next-generation electronic components with improved performance, efficiency, and longevity.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Master degree in physics or engineering; background in Semiconductor materials and analytical characterization; teamwork approach, good communication and relational skills; aptitude for problem-solving; good English level.

 

I - Photonic Quantum-gate based planar lightwave circuits

Topic: Photonic Quantum-gate based planar lightwave circuits
Research group link: Integrated & Quantum Optics group, Centre for Sensors and Devices, FBK (https://sd.fbk.eu/en/research/research-units/iqo/)
Contacts: Supervisor - Mher Ghulinyan (ghulinyan [at] fbk.eu) Co-supervisor - Iacopo Carusotto (iacopo.carusotto [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The working principle of a quantum computer is based on two basic concepts: high quality qubits and reliable quantum gates to satisfy the DiVincenzo criteria. In the integrated photonics framework, the low interaction between photons and the environment or other photons guarantees for free the stability of qubits, but makes the realization of multi-photon gates a challenging task. The development of a well characterized, scalable, high-performance two-qubit gate, such as the CNOT gate, would be a breakthrough for the implementation of powerful quantum algorithms in a photonic quantum computer. While some proposals have already been implemented, none of them has achieved sufficient performance and novel ideas and technologies are needed to enable the application of such an overwhelming technology. This PhD activity will be aimed at the investigation and development of new approaches towards the realization of multi-photon integrated quantum gates.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The Candidate will work within the context of the realization of integrated optical chips for applications in the field of quantum technologies. The PhD activity will be performed within the research unit of Integrated and Quantum Optics (I&QO, FBK), which develops integrated optical circuits starting from design to fabrication and testing. The candidate will closely collaborate with the group of Prof. I. Carusotto on the theoretical aspects of the quantum photonic devices. The ideal candidate should have: A Master degree in Physics or Electrical Engineering, ideally with some background in Photonics and quantum optics. Basic knowledge of free-space optics or integrated photonic chips characterisation is highly desirable.

 

J - Integrative AI for event selection at LHC

Topic: Integrative AI for event selection at LHC
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: roberto.iuppa [at] unitn.it marco.cristoforetti [at] fbk.eu
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The LHC experiments produce about 90 petabytes of data per year. Inferring the nature of particles produced in high-energy collisions is crucial for probing the Standard Model with greater precision and searching for phenomena beyond the Standard Model. In this context, event selection is becoming more difficult than ever before and requires expertise at the border between physics and computer science. During the PhD the student will be guided in exploring and designing algorithms that mix background knowledge with Deep Learning to tackle this problem, learning to apply rigorous Data Science methodologies. The activity will be carried out in collaboration with INFN-TIFPA, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, and within the ATLAS experiment at the LHC. Candidates familiar with High Energy Physics are welcome, and basic knowledge of Machine Learning/Deep Learning is recommended.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Basic knowledge of particle physics. Python programming. Basic knowledge in Deep Learning

 

Primo bando 40° ciclo - Altre tematiche di ricerca

AML - Antimatter Laboratory

Improvements of positronium laser cooling for precise spectroscopy and inertial sensing measurements (Mariazzi)

Topic: Improvements of positronium laser cooling for precise spectroscopy and inertial sensing measurements
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/837/antimateria
Contacts: Sebastiano Mariazzi ( sebastiano.mariazzi [at] unitn.it ); Ruggero Caravita (ruggero.caravita [at] cern.ch); Roberto S. Brusa (robertosennen.brusa [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Recently (Physical Review Letters 132, 083402, 2024), the AEgIS community at CERN, of which the researcher of the AML (AntiMatter Laboratory) of the Department of Physics of UNITN are part, has succeeded in the first monodimensional laser cooling of the positronium atom (the lightest atom in nature composed by two leptons: an electron and a positron). The next step is that to cool positronium in two or three dimension, and use the cooled atoms for precise spectroscopy of selected quantum levels, and the study of the effect of forces on positronium (inertial sensing measurements). The goal of the thesis is to produce clouds of positronium atoms in vacuum by injecting positron in a nanochanneled silicon positron-positronium converter using the advanced bunched positron beam set up at the AML (AntiMatter Laboratory) of the Department of Physics of UNITN and to perform positronium cooling in different directions with a dedicated alexandrite laser. Precise spectroscopies will follow.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The candidate has been supposed to have followed courses of experimental physics. Knowledge of laser physics are welcome

 

Study of many positronium atoms interaction in buried microcavities (Mariazzi)

Topic: Study of many positronium atoms interaction in buried microcavities
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/837/antimateria
Contacts: Sebastiano Mariazzi ( sebastiano.mariazzi [at] unitn.it ); Ruggero Caravita (ruggero.caravita [at] cern.ch); Roberto S. Brusa (robertosennen.brusa [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Positronium, the bound state of an electron and its antiparticle, the positron, is the lightest matter-antimatter system. In the past years, at the AML (AntiMatter Laboratory) of the Department of Physics of UNITN targets with high positron to positronium conversion efficiency. Combined with an advanced bunched positron beam recently set up in the lab, clouds of positronium can be created both in vacuum and in microcavities buried in the targets. The collection of many positronium atoms in such cavities offers the possibility to study positronium- positronium interactions. The goal of the thesis is the production of dense clouds of positronium atoms confined in buried microcavities for the investigation of the mechanisms of interaction among positronium atoms. In prospective, this study could pave the way to the first demonstration of a positronium Bose Einstein Condensate.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The candidate has been supposed to have followed courses of experimental physics. Knowledge of laser physics are welcome.

 

Entanglement of 3 gammas from positronium annihilation as a function of its quantum numbers (Mariazzi)

Topic: Entanglement of 3 gammas from positronium annihilation as a function of its quantum numbers
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/837/antimateria
Contacts: Sebastiano Mariazzi ( sebastiano.mariazzi [at] unitn.it ); Ruggero Caravita (ruggero.caravita [at] cern.ch); Roberto S. Brusa (robertosennen.brusa [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: At the AML (AntiMatter Laboratory) of the Department of Physics of UNITN, an advanced bunched positron beam was set up. Clouds of positronium atoms in vacuum can be obtained by injecting positron in a nanochanneled silicon positron-positronium converter. Positronium is the lightest atom in nature composed by two leptons: an electron and a positron. Through laser manipulation positronium atoms will be selected in specific quantum numbers and their annihilation in three gamma rays will be studied with a dedicated plastic detector. The thesis work deals with the preparation of positronium in selected quantum states and the study of the entangled states of the three gamma rays emerging by its annihilation
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The candidate has been supposed to have followed courses of experimental physics. Knowledge of laser physics are welcome

 

APP - Astroparticle Physics

Study of Field Line Resonances as a new tools for solar physics and high energy astrophysics (Battiston)

Topic: Study of Field Line Resonances as a new tools for solar physics and high energy astrophysics
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: Prof. Roberto Battiston roberto.battiston [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The PhD project aims at studying a new experimental technique to study the response of the Earth, surrounding layer, specifically using resonant phenomena, to perturabation originating from the Sun and from astrophysical sources. The candidate will work in close contact with the CSES-LIMADOU collaboration and his/her work will regard both data analysis and Monte Carlo simulation as well as participating to the commissioning efforts of the second satellite of the CSES constellation which will be launched in December 2024.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Competence on programming and data analysis (eg. C++, root)

 

New concepts of search for antimatter in space (Iuppa)

Topic: New concepts of search for antimatter in space
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: Prof. Roberto Iuppa roberto.iuppa [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The PhD project aims at studying a new experimental technique to directly and effectively measure cosmic antiparticles (antinuclei, positrons) from 1 GeV to 30 TeV, extending the reach of state-of-the-art experiments and improving their sensitivity in already explored rigidity regions. The candidate will work in close contact with the AMS-02 collaboration and his/her work will regard both data analysis and Monte Carlo simulation as well as participating to hardware development efforts towards future projects, based on the ALADiNO and the LAMP proposals.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Competence on programming and data analysis (eg. C++, root)

 

Development of DL algorithms for online (on-board) event reconstruction for space experiments (Iuppa)

Topic: Development of DL algorithms for online (on-board) event reconstruction for space experiments
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: Prof. Roberto Iuppa roberto.iuppa [at] unitn.it Francesco Follega PhD francesco.follega [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Description: Particle/astroparticle physics detectors in space are equipped with trigger systems to ensure the acquisition of events of high scientific interest. These systems, designed to be reliable and fast, rely on of coincidences/anticoincidences between signals from sub-detectors and therefore have limited selection possibilities. A reconstruction of real-time events represents a point of interest for the development of detectors that are highly accepting and have expected acquisition rates of hundreds of kHz or even at MHz. One possible solution is to use artificial intelligence algorithms (Deep Neural Networks) implemented on FPGA devices, which are on board many space experiments. Neural networks represent a possibility to perform an online L1 reconstruction by combining signals acquired from various subdetectors (tracking, PID, stiffness/energy reconstruction) and have computational advantages once implemented directly on FPGAs. An online reconstruction could provide an increase in the acquisition rate of selected events and a compression in the information transferred to the ground [1]. Ref: [1] "A Survey of FPGA-based Neural Network Inference Accelerators" https://doi.org/10.1145/3289185
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Competence on programming, deep lerning and data analysis (eg. C++, root…..)

 

Adhesive-less and solderless aluminum bonding onto kapton for space applications (Iuppa)

Topic: Adhesive-less and solderless aluminum bonding onto kapton for space applications
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: Prof. Roberto Iuppa roberto.iuppa [at] unitn.it D. Novel novel [at] fbk.eu
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The PhD project aims at developing of space-compliant adhesive-less and solderless bonding of the flex aluminum leads onto Al chip pads without forming an intermetallic compound, targeted to silicon strip detectors (SSD) and Monolithic Active Pixel Sensor (MAPS), sensors being both planned to be used in future particle and astroparticle applications. The technology could spill over to satellite scientific payloads, whose state-of-the-art still employ copper metals and thus could be further improved with the outcomes of this project.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Experimental skills, micro electronics, instrumentation, integration of space palyloads, laboratory tests and measurements.

 

Study of Lithosphere-Magnetosphere interaction with network of space borne e ground based instruments (Battiston)

Topic: Study of Lithosphere-Magnetosphere interaction with network of space borne e ground based instruments
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: Prof. Roberto Battiston roberto.battiston [at] unitn.it Coralie Neubuser PhD coralie.neubuser [at] cern.ch
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: CSES is a multipayload detector launched in 2018 aboard CSES-02 (China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite). A second, identical satellite will be launched at the end of 2023 providing the first satellite constellation able to measure, simultaneously low energy particles, plasma, electromagnetic fields at altitudes around 600 km. Together with data from ground based instrument network, these data will allow the modelling of the interaction between the lithosphere and the magnetosphere, in particular to address effects due to rapid ground motions (e.g. earthquake, volcanic explosions, tsunamis) [1] Ref: [1] Magnetospheric–Ionospheric–Lithospheric Coupling Model. 1: Observations during the 5 August 2018 Bayan Earthquake, Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 3299; doi:10.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Competence on programming, monte carlo simulation and data analysis (eg. C++, root …)

 

Reconstruction and data analysis with HEPD-02: electrons and low-energy cosmic rays (Iuppa)

Topic: Reconstruction and data analysis with HEPD-02: electrons and low-energy cosmic rays.
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: Prof. Roberto Iuppa roberto.iuppa [at] unitn.it Francesco Follega PhD francesco.follega [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: HEPD-02 is a charged particle detector that will be launched in late 2023 aboard CSES-02 (China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite). It is optimized for the measurement of charged particle fluxes: electrons at (3-100 MeV) and protons (30-200 MeV), with good capabilities to identify heavier nuclei. Its main scientific goals are to monitor particles trapped in the geomagnetic field (also SAA) and to study transient phenomena related to ground-based seismic events, study solar activity, and measure low-energy cosmic rays. HEPD-02 is capable of reconstructing energy, nature and direction of arrival of the incident particle. The candidate's work will involve developing algorithms for reconstructing the data using Deep Learning techniques and then analyzing the reconstructed data. Differential fluxes in energy for electrons, protons and heavy nuclei will be determined and used for comparison and improvement of cosmic ray propagation models in the heliosphere [1]. Ref: [1] M J Boschini, Della S Torre, M Gervasi, La G Vacca and P G Rancoita. Forecasting of cosmic rays intensities with HelMod Model. Advances in Space Research in press, Available online February 1, 2022():, 2022.doi 10.1016/j.asr.2022.01.031 - Preprint.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Competence on programming and data analysis (eg. C++, root)

 

Fractal geometries in the solar system (Ricci)

Topic: Fractal geometries in the solar system
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: Prof. Leonardo Ricci Leonardo.Ricci [at] unitn.it Alessio Perinelli PhD alessio.perinelli [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Saturn's rings are almost "flat": they have a thickness of about 10 meters, while they extend up to 280'000 km in the radial direction, exhibiting a complex structure with fine-grained modulation of density that bears a striking resemblance with the attractor set of chaotic dynamical systems (e.g. the Lorenz or Roessler systems). Indeed, it was proposed that Saturn's rings are a fractal set, and the related fractal dimension was estimated by processing several images from the Cassini spacecraft, yielding an estimated dimension of about 1.7. However, a thorough account of this property is lacking: a more sophisticated analysis, for example by considering the local density of the rings within a multifractal framework, is desirable. Moreover, a theoretical account of this fractality is still elusive. The research will tackle these issues, by first of all applying advanced techniques of fractal analysis.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Competence on programming, modelling, Monte Carlo simulation, and data analysis (eg. C++, root)

 

Solar chaotic dynamics (Ricci)

Topic: Solar chaotic dynamics
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics
Contacts: Prof. Leonardo Ricci Leonardo.Ricci [at] unitn.it Alessio Perinelli PhD alessio.perinelli [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The mechanism responsible for the quasi-periodic oscillating behavior in the number of sunspots is still not fully understood. Low-dimensional chaos has been proposed as a possible source of the observed irregularity, suggesting that sunspot variability has a deterministic origin - and is thus predictable. Interestingly, low-dimensional chaos was claimed to be present also in light curves recorded from variable stars and predicted by stellar hydrodynamic models. The search for chaotic modulation in the sunspot number time series has been so far inconclusive. Indeed, due to the limitedness of the available datasets, application of standard nonlinear analytical techniques is not straightforward and data-driven modelization of the phenomenon is called for. The research will focus on the development and applications of advanced techniques, bridging between information theory and nonlinear time series analysis, to extract information on the underlying dynamics generating a signal, with the specific aim of analyzing solar (and, possibly, stellar) data. The topic is expected to have a fallout in the framework of space weather.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Competence on programming, modelling, Monte Carlo simulation, and data analysis (eg. C++, root)

 

Development of a particle spectrometer for a CubeSat mission (Nozzoli)

Topic: Development of a particle spectrometer for a CubeSat mission
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics https://arxiv.org/abs/2212.12351
Contacts: francesco.nozzoli [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Time-resolved measurements of differential fluxes of low energy charged particles, trapped in the magnetosphere, are interesting for Space Weather characterization and to study the coupling between the lithosphere and magnetosphere, allowing the investigation of the possible correlations between seismic events and particle precipitations from Van Allen Belts. The PhD candidate will join the UniTN-INFN-FBK group that will develop a compact (10x10x10cm3) particle spectrometer, the “Low Energy Module” (LEM). The LEM must be able to perform time-resolved measurements of energy, direction, and composition of low energy charged particles down to 0.1 MeV kinetic energy. The particle identification capability of the LEM will rely on the ∆E−E technique performed by thin silicon detectors. To fulfill the size and mass requirements of a CubeSat mission, the direction measurement is based on the “active collimation” of the detected particle. Such a detector will be launched in space as one of the payloads of the NIMBUS satellite of the planned NuSES space mission and will be considered as a stand-alone CubeSat for future space missions.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate should possess problem solving skills and interest in experimental particle physics techniques and electronics. Knowledge of C++ or Python programming languages.

 

Measurement of antiproton production cross section in p-He collisions with the AMBER experiment at CERN (Zuccon)

Topic: Measurement of antiproton production cross section in p-He collisions with the AMBER experiment at CERN
Research group link: https://www.tifpa.infn.it/projects/ams-02/ https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/237/astro-particle-physics https://nqf-m2.web.cern.ch
Contacts: Prof. Paolo Zuccon paolo.zuccon [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Cosmic Rays are a powerful tool for the investigation of exotic physics/astrophysics in space. As an example, an excess of antiprotons in cosmic rays might be a signature of Dark Matter annihilation in our galaxy, however some antiprotons are present in the cosmic ray flux since they are produced by collisions of primary protons and p/He nuclei with the Inter Stellar Medium. The AMS magnetic spectrometer measured the antiproton spectrum in the cosmic rays up to 525 GeV energy. To search for a Dark Matter contribution one must compare the AMS measurement with the predictions of the secondary antiproton background. However the current knowledge of the antiproton production cross section in the p-p and p-He collisions, put an uncertainty on the background estimation that is larger than AMS measurements one. The AMBER experiment at the CERN Super Proton Synchrotron will accurately measure the p-p and p-He inelastic cross sections for antiproton production. Therefore AMBER will provide a fundamental ingredient for the search of Dark Matter annihilation the galaxy. The student will be involved in the data analysis of the AMBER experiment, data collected in 2023 and in the future measurement campaigns.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate should possess problem solving skills and should be available to spend some period at CERN. Knowledge of C++ or Python programming language.

 

BF - Biophotonics and Neurophysics

Experimental test of the quantum biological theory of magnetorecetion (Haase)

Topic: Experimental test of the quantum biological theory of magnetoreception
Research group link: https://r.unitn.it/en/cimec/nphys
Contacts: albrecht.haase [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The project aims to localize for the first time the magnetic sense observed in various animal species in the brain. We will experimentally test the theory of radical pair mechanism of magnetoreception, one of the hottest topics in quantum biology. We will use different insect models and approach the problems using both neuroimaging and automated behavioral assays. We are looking for motivated students who want to work in an interdisciplinary environment that combines experimental physics techniques with neuroscience research
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Profound knowledge of the English language is required. Further experience is not necessary, but basic programming skills are an advantage.

 

Studying the model of stochastic resonances in the brain (Haase)

Topic: Studying the model of stochastic resonances in the brain
Research group link: https://r.unitn.it/en/cimec/nphys
Contacts: albrecht.haase [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Stochastic resonances in the brain is a concept that originated in physics and is applied to neuroscience. It suggests that the introduction of random noise can enhance the detection and processing of weak signals in neural systems. We are using our expertise of recording and modulating neuronal activiry in insect models in order to experimentally test these models. We use our experience with recording and modulating neuronal activity in insect models to test these models experimentally. We are looking for motivated students who want to work on such an interdisciplinary approach
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Profound knowledge of the English language is required. Further experience is not necessary, but basic programming skills are an advantage

 

Assessing the effects of climate change on the neuronal performance of insects (Haase)

Topic: Assessing the effects of climate change on the neuronal performance of insects
Research group link: https://r.unitn.it/en/cimec/nphys
Contacts: albrecht.haase [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: We will experimentally investigate the impact of the intensifying effects of climate change on insects, one of the most important building blocks of our ecosystem. We will use neuronal imaging methods and automated behavioral assays to test how changing temperature and humidity, electrosmog or light pollution affect the neuronal performance of insects in terms of navigation, communication or learning and memory. We are looking for motivated students who want to work on such an interdisciplinary approach
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Profound knowledge of the English language is required. Further experience is not necessary, but basic programming skills are an advantage

 

BIMER - Radiation biophysics and medical physics

Beam Modulation devices for conformal FLASH proton therapy (Tommasino)

Topic: Beam Modulation devices for conformal FLASH proton therapy
Research group link: https://sites.google.com/unitn.it/bimergroup/
Contacts: Francesco Tommasino (francesco.tommasino [at] unitn.it) Emanuele Scifoni (emanuele.scifoni [at] tifpa.infn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: FLASH radiotherapy consists in a new and promising approach for cancer treatment, based on the experimental observation that extremely reduced irradiation time (i.e. order of 100 ms) results into sparing of normal tissue toxicity and same effectiveness on tumor cells compared to conventional irradiation, which take place on a longer time scale (i.e. tens of seconds to a few minutes). The radiobiological mechanisms behind the FLASH effect are not fully understood, and extensive research is ongoing also aiming at the clinical translation of this innovative approach. Thinking to clinical applications, protons currently appear as the ideal candidate to set-up treatments at ultra-high dose rate, thus exploiting the FLASH effect. However, there is the need to implement robust treatment, able to exploit to full potential of the protons’ depth-dose curve (i.e. the Bragg peak). This project will be dedicated to the study of 3D range modulators that, combining with the delivery of a single layer of high energy protons, would result in conformal treatments, exploiting at the same time the advantages of the FLASH effect. The research project will include both optimization and implementation of 3D RM geometries into dedicated software, including Monte Carlo codes, and experimental validation of the proposed approach. The PhD student will be also involved in the characterization of the newly realized experimental FLASH beamline in Trento.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate has a good knowledge of radiation-matter interaction, and a basic knowledge of radiation biophysics and medical physics. The candidate should preferentially have experience with coding and Monte Carlo software.

 

Mathematical and artificial intelligence modelling of radiation-induced biological damage (Scifoni)

Topic: Mathematical and artificial intelligence modelling of radiation-induced biological damage
Research group link: https://sites.google.com/unitn.it/bimergroup/home?authuser=0
Contacts: Francesco Giuseppe Cordoni / Emanuele Scifoni francesco.cordoni [at] unitn.it, scifoni [at] infn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Over the past decades, radiotherapy (RT) has demonstrated remarkable efficacy in curing cancer. The rationale for using hadrons in cancer treatment is based on their unique energy loss mechanisms, which offer significant biological benefits over photons, including enhanced tumor control and reduced damage to healthy tissues. Despite the potential superiority of hadrons in theory, additional research is crucial to fully incorporate this treatment modality into clinical practice. One of the primary obstacles to the widespread use of hadrons is the difficulty of accurately estimating the biological effect caused by the specific radiation. Over the years several mechanism-based mathematical models have been developed to understand and predict the effect of a given radiation on biological tissue. Further, more recently, modern Machine and Deep Learning (MDL) algorithms have been proposed to tackle the same problem. Despite the collective efforts of the scientific community, there is currently no universally accepted superior model for predicting the biological effect of radiation. The absence of a reliable and all-encompassing model poses a significant obstacle to fully leveraging particle therapy, including the use of heavier ions like oxygen to treat radio-resistant tumors, and the adoption of multi-ion therapy, which is now technically feasible. The project aims to develop a hybrid model to predict the biological effect of radiation, merging standard mathematical approaches with modern artificial intelligence based models. The resulting model will have the interpretability and physically grounded foundation of mathematical models and the extreme flexibility and accuracy of modern MDL models. The model will be based on the advanced physical description of the radiation field, using microdosimetry and/or nanodosimetry, and will explore the relative importance of different raduation quality descriptors. An optional experimental verification part could be added upon the availability of the facility. The project will be carried out in the BiMeR team, between TIFPA-INFN, UniTN, and APSS proton therapy center.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): - Knowledge of Radiation biophysics - Good programming skills - Interest in Modeling and Simulation of physical processes - Willingness to work in a multi-disciplinary and international team

 

FAM - Atomic and Molecular Physics

Study of the physicochemical processes of formation of molecular compounds containing H and N from reactions of energetic ions and/or in electrical discharges (Ascenzi)

Topic: Study of the physicochemical processes of formation of molecular compounds containing H and N from reactions of energetic ions and/or in electrical discharges
Research group link: https://molecular.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: Prof. Daniela Ascenzi daniela.ascenzi [at] unitn.it Prof. Luca Matteo Martini luca.martini.1 [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The PhD project aims at performing "ground-based" experimental and simulation works for the understanding and validation of data from the JUNO and JUICE missions on Jupiter and its moons (e.g., data on the composition of Jupiter's troposphere from Juno's JIRAM spectrometer, data from the exospheres of icy moons from Juice's MAJIS). Recent observations of the Jovian atmosphere reveal unexpected complexity, with implications for its dynamics [D. Grassi&al. MNRAS 503, 4892-4907 (2021); Guillot&al J.Geophys.Res. 125, e2020JE006404, 2020 ]. Understanding Jupiter's atmospheric dynamics also has important implications for developing theories about the evolution of exoplanets with gaseous atmospheres, such as the "hot Jupiters" that will be among the targets of ESA's Atmospheric Remote-sensing IR exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL) mission. Laboratory experiments will make use of plasmas and electric discharges as proxies to simulate the physicochemical processes triggered in planetary atmospheres and will allow, for example, investigation of the formation/destruction mechanisms of molecules and ions (e.g. NH3, NH4+ , NH4HS). In addition, the possibility of studying collisions between multiply charged ions (e.g., O++, S++) and molecules will allow modeling the processes of generation and erosion of the exospheres of Jupiter's moons by energetic particles (space weathering) [C. Plainaki et al. ApJ 940:186, 2022].
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Master (or equivalent degree) in physics, physical chemistry or astrophysics and a strong focus on laboratory work. Any experience in one of the following fields: mass spectrometry, plasma physics, vacuum technology, gas handling techniques, data analysis and modelling (e.g. Labview programming , phyton)

 

Plasma discharges for storing renewable energy in C-neutral fuels and feedstocks (Martini e Tosi)

Topic: Plasma discharges for storing renewable energy in C-neutral fuels and feedstocks
Research group link: https://molecular.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: Luca Matteo Martini, luca.martini.1 [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The project aims to develop a non-equilibrium plasma technology for storing renewable electricity by reforming CO 2 and N 2 into synthetic fuels and feedstocks. The advantages of the proposed approach are the direct use of CO 2 contributes to climate change mitigation and the N 2 fixation to produce ammonia with a process alternative to the conventional Haber-Bosch process as an effective way of storing renewable energy in nitrogen-based fuels. The candidate will design and conduct experiments to investigate and understand the performance of these processes. In particular, activity will be devoted to characterizing the conversion performance of the plasma CO 2 splitting (alone or with co-reactants) and N 2 fixation. The candidate will employ dedicated electrical and analytical diagnostic techniques for process evaluation and develop space and time-resolved spectroscopy techniques to investigate the plasma-mediated processes.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): We are looking for motivated candidates with an MSc degree in physics. A good background in plasma physics/chemistry or experimental physics and suitable experimental and problem-solving skills are desirable. The PhD candidate will be able to gain experience in areas of plasma physics, plasma processing, and advanced optical spectroscopy.

 

FT - Theoretical and computational physics

Computational strategies to investigate protein conformational changes (Lattanzi)

Topic: Computational strategies to investigate protein conformational changes
Research group link: https://sbp.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: Prof. Gianluca Lattanzi
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The successful candidate is expected to apply molecular dynamics simulations to investigate globular proteins, transmembrane proteins and proteins anchored to membrane bilayers. The chosen systems often present two or more resolved (or putative) structures: molecular dynamics simulations will be employed to explore and characterize the structures corresponding to these local minima, while enhanced sampling techniques will provide insights into the possible pathways for the required conformational changes. Coarse grained models will be also employed, whenever possible, and their validity will be assessed through comparison with all-atoms simulations. The candidate will collaborate with all the members of the Statistical and Biological Physics research group to explore the possibility of applications of the on-site developed multiscale approaches. The candidate is also expected to interact directly with experimental collaborators, with the aim to provide a molecular rationale for the biological mechanisms of the chosen systems.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Good knowledge of statistical physics and computer programming. Ability to work in group and at the interface between different disciplines. Good communication skills.

 

Fit for function – the fingerprint of biological activity in the structure and dynamics of proteins (Potestio)

Topic: Fit for function – the fingerprint of biological activity in the structure and dynamics of proteins
Research group link: https://sbp.physics.unitn.it/raffaello-potestio/
Contacts: raffaello.potestio [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: It is a well-established fact that the shape of proteins and particularly enzymes is determined by the specific biological activity they have to carry out. It is also known that large-scale, collective motions are often function-oriented, in that they favor binding, interaction, and catalysis through a tailored and concerted distortion of the structure. While it is possible to rationalize these features a posteriori, it is less clear, however, how to predict them in absence of previous biological information. In this project, leveraging computational methods developed in our team we aim at investigating the properties of proteins that are specifically shaped by evolution in order to perform a specific function, and derive rules of general applicability to figure out which specific parts of the molecule are involved in ligan binding and chemical activity.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): - Background in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering - Previous experience or acquaintance with coarse-graining and in silico modelling of biopolymers - Excellent programming skills (unix os, C/C++, python, matlab, tensorflow)

 

Statistical physics of deep neural network – from equilibrium properties to evolutionary behaviour (Potestio)

Topic: Statistical physics of deep neural network – from equilibrium properties to evolutionary behaviour
Research group link: https://sbp.physics.unitn.it/raffaello-potestio/
Contacts: raffaello.potestio [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The increasing popularity of neural network is strongly boosted by the ever- growing capabilities that these algorithms showcase in all fields of science, technology, and more. In particular, the versatile nature of neural networks allows one to employ them not only to carry out specific tasks as “black boxes”, but also to mimick a range of different systems, e.g. brains or organisms, and study them as proxies for the real object. In the proposed project we aim at employing modelling and analysis techniques developed in our team to investigate deep neural networks as statistical mechanics systems. In particular, we will focus on the properties of finite-size systems, which are not amenable by calculations in the thermodynamic limit, and on the values that network parameters assume depending on specific properties of the training datasets.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): - Background in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering - Excellent programming skills (unix os, C/C++, python, matlab, tensorflow)

 

Electron-phonon interaction in strongly correlated system (Cudazzo)

Topic: Electron-phonon interaction in strongly correlated system.
Research group link: https://mattheory.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: pierluigi.cudazzo [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The interaction between electron and phonon is responsible of many key phenomena such as superconductivity, electronic transport, charge density waves and structural distortions. The state of the art in describing this interaction is density functional perturbation theory with semilocal functionals. However, these theory breaks down when the interaction between the electrons is strong (strongly correlated systems). In this PhD thesis we plan to use advanced manybody perturbation theories to develop theoretical and numerical approaches beyond state-of-the-art in the electron-phonon scattering and to apply it to strongly correlated systems such as high Tc superconductors, low dimensional correlated systems and other materials of high technological relevance.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Passion and motivation for research, curiosity. Strong background in quantum mechanics and in theoretical solid state physics.

 

Excited states of matter and their out-of-equilibrium dynamics (Cudazzo)

Topic: Excited states of matter and their out-of-equilibrium dynamics
Research group link: https://mattheory.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: pierluigi.cudazzo [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Among the emerging fields of condensed−matter physics is "excitonics". It aims at the realization of devices operating with excitons instead of electrons, with a great potential to achieve a breakthrough in optoelectronics. An exciton is an excited state of matter consisting of a bound electron−hole pair that is generated by photon absorption and represents the crucial intermediate for energy transduction and nano-scale light control. To achieve this ambitious goal the exciton must be controlled and manipulated during its formation. The aim of this proposal is the development of theoretical tools for the description of exciton dynamics. In particular, the problem of exciton dynamics will be addressed using a rate equation for excitons where the coupling with other degrees of freedom (such as lattice vibrations) responsible for exciton thermalization will be taken into account through an effective exciton potential that will be approximated. In this way we will be able to investigate exciton dynamics and simulate basic out-of-equilibrium spectroscopies such as transient absorption and time resolved photoluminescence. The basic questions we want to answer to are: What are the physical mechanisms governing exciton relaxation and decoherence processes? How are they related to the electronic structure of materials? How can materials be engineered in order to tune exciton lifetime and decoherence length and to control exciton flux? The proposal will impact chemistry, physics, energy and material engineering. Indeed, from one side the developed theoretical tool will give access to new physical phenomena that have never been investigated using full ab-initio methods, from the other side it will allow the design of new materials and compounds for excitonic technology.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Basic knowledge of condensed matter physics and many body Green’s function theory; Programming skills: Fortran, Python, Unix.

 

Dark matter and dark energy in the era of precision multi-messenger cosmology and cosmic tensions (Vagnozzi)

Topic: Dark matter and dark energy in the era of precision multi-messenger cosmology and cosmic tensions
Research group link: https://www.sunnyvagnozzi.com/ https://webapps.unitn.it/du/en/Persona/PER0059261/
Contacts: Sunny Vagnozzi (sunny.vagnozzi [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Our understanding of dark matter (DM) and dark energy (DE), making up 95% of the energy of the Universe but whose nature is currently unknown, will be revolutionized over the next decade by precision cosmological observations. This project will develop the tools to fully exploit, on the theory and/or data sides, the wealth of upcoming (multi-messenger) cosmological information. We will study prospects for testing realistic DM/DE models, particularly using large-scale structure (LSS) data. Growing tensions among different probes (such as the H0 and S8 tensions) are hinting to the breakdown of the current concordance model, and we will study the possibility of such tensions shedding light on the microphysical nature of DM and DE, constructing models which may solve these tensions. We will study cross-correlations between different probes, including gravitational waves, as a way to shed light on DM and DE, and test gravity. Based on the student's interests, this project offers significant flexibility in terms of focusing more on theoretical or data analysis aspects, or extending the research scope. Throughout the project, the student will have the possibility of collaborating with a wide network of researchers worldwide (see https://www.sunnyvagnozzi.com/en/publications).
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate has a strong background in cosmology. Advanced knowledge of General Relativity, QFT, and particle physics is also very welcome. Depending on the student’s inclination, this project is very flexible and can require either or both analytical and numerical skills, in varying proportions. For more computationally-oriented students, excellent computational skills, ideally the ability to program in Python and at least a low-level language (e.g. C/C++/Fortran), are highly recommended. Familiarity with cosmological codes such as CAMB, CLASS, CosmoMC, MontePython, and Cobaya, is welcome. Some experience with statistics is an additional asset. More generally, we are looking for a passionate, independent, and self-driven student with strong interests in cosmology and tests of fundamental physics using observations collected around the Universe, and a strong work ethics. The student must be able to work independently and as part of a team. For the latter, good organization and communication skills are essential.

 

Analog Models of Gravity with Quantum Fluids of Light and/or Atoms (Carusotto)

Topic: Analog Models of Gravity with Quantum Fluids of Light and/or Atoms
Research group link: https://iacopo.carusotto.physics.unitn.it/ https://bec.science.unitn.it
Contacts: dr. Iacopo Carusotto iacopo.carusotto [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The research activity will consist in a study of analog models of gravity based on quantum fluids of ultracold atoms and/or quantum fluids of light. The work will be mostly theoretical, but the PhD candidate will be actively involved in the on-going collaborations with experimental groups in Trento and at other major international institutions. The candidate will investigate quantum optical phenomena in curved space-times such as Hawking emission from black hole horizons, superradiance from rotating massive bodies, cosmological particle creation, and will explore new effects. A special attention will be given to interdisciplinary exchanges of ideas between gravity, condensed matter physics, optics and astrophysics. Ref.: https://arxiv.org/abs/2212.07337 (to appear on CRAS) https://arxiv.org/abs/2207.00311 https://arxiv.org/abs/2110.14452 (to appear on PRL)
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Strong proficiency in basic electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. Good knowledge of quantum optics and/or quantum field theory and/or many-body physics and/or general relativity.

 

Topological and non-Euclidean models with arrays of coaxial cables (Carusotto)

Topic: Topological and non-Euclidean models with arrays of coaxial cables
Research group link: https://iacopo.carusotto.physics.unitn.it/ https://bec.science.unitn.it https://nse.physics.unitn.it
Contacts: dr. Iacopo Carusotto iacopo.carusotto [at] unitn.it prof. Leonardo Ricci leonardo.ricci [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The candidate will be involved in a combined theoretical-experimental effort under the joint supervision of prof. Ricci and dr. Carusotto. The goal is to design, build, and finally electronically characterize arrays of coaxial cables as microwave realization of celebrated lattice models that are of interest for topological condensed matter physics (SSH lattices, honeycomb or brick-wall lattices, spin-Hall models) and/or for quantum mechanics in hyperbolic spaces (heptagonal honeycomb). In addition to its intrinsic and conceptual interest, such an experimental realization is a preliminary step towards the realization of integrated devices including superconducting qubits, so to realize novel platforms for quantum simulation of strongly correlated states of matter and for quantum computing. Ref. https://journals.aps.org/rmp/abstract/10.1103/RevModPhys.91.015006 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1348-3
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Strong proficiency in basic electromagnetism and wave mechanics. Good knowledge of optics and/or condensed matter physics.

 

Strongly correlated quantum fluids of light (Carusotto)

Topic: Strongly correlated quantum fluids of light
Research group link: https://iacopo.carusotto.physics.unitn.it/ https://bec.science.unitn.it
Contacts: dr. Iacopo Carusotto iacopo.carusotto [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The research will consist of a theoretical study of quantum fluids of light. The work will be mostly theoretical, but will be carried out in close collaboration with experimental colleagues at major international institutions. The candidate will investigate strongly correlated fluids of many interacting photons in photonic devices with exceptionally strong optical nonlinearities so that photons behave as impenetrable particles. He/she will investigate quantum phase transitions such as the Mott-superfluid transition in many cavity arrays or fractional quantum Hall fluids with topological order in the presence of synthetic gauge fields. While the research will have mostly fundamental character, potential applications to topological quantum computing schemes will be also addressed. Refs: https://journals.aps.org/rmp/abstract/10.1103/RevModPhys.85.299 https://www.nature.com/articles/s42254-022-00464-0 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41567-020-0815-y
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Strong proficiency in basic electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. Good knowledge of quantum optics and/or condensed matter theory and/or many-body physics.

 

Non-equilibrium phase transitions and collective dynamics of driven- dissipative atomic fluids (Carusotto)

Topic: Non-equilibrium phase transitions and collective dynamics of driven- dissipative atomic fluids
Research group link: https://iacopo.carusotto.physics.unitn.it/ https://bec.science.unitn.it
Contacts: dr. Iacopo Carusotto iacopo.carusotto [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The research will consist of a theoretical study of strongly correlated fluids of ultracold atoms, to be carried out in close collaboration with experimental colleagues at major international institutions. In particular, the candidate will theoretically investigate novel non-equilibrium schemes to stabilize fractional quantum Hall states and will investigate the quantum fluctuation and the dynamical properties of the emerging driven-dissipative fluid. In doing this, he/she will take advantage of the interdisciplinary expertise accumulated at the Pitaevskii BEC Center on quantum fluids of light and will contribute to the transfer of this knowledge to the atomic context. Refs: https://journals.aps.org/pra/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevA.107.033320 https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.206809 https://journals.aps.org/rmp/abstract/10.1103/RevModPhys.85.299
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Strong proficiency in basic quantum mechanics. Good knowledge of elementary condensed matter theory, many-body physics, and statistical mechanics

Note: This activity will be carried out within an international consortium including leading theoretical and experimental groups from Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Regular visits to the consortium partners are foreseen.

 

Detailed microphysics in binary neutron star mergers and core-collapse supernovae (Perego)

Topic: Detailed microphysics in binary neutron star mergers and core-collapse supernovae
Research group link: https://relnucas.physics.unitn.it
Contacts: Albino Perego (albino.perego [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: With the advent of gravitational wave detectors and in combination with neutrino detectors and telescopes, multimessenger astrophysics is now a blooming field at the forefront of research. High-energy, relativistic events, like the merger of compact objects or the explosion of a massive star, are among its primary targets. In our group at the University of Trento we focus on the theoretical modeling and interpretation of multimessenger signals from these kind of events. In particular, in this PhD project we would like to implement detailed neutrino rates and nuclear physics inside our numerical models to achieve a much high level of accuracy and robustness in our predictions and interpretation. In particular, our goal will be to study the sensitivity of many observables (e.g. gravitational waves, nucleosynthesis yields, electromagnetic emission) on the level of accuracy of the input physics.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidates is a motivated and dynamic students who is willing to broaden and widen her/his competences, both in terms of physics and of computer science. Collaborative and team-working oriented aptitudes are also relevant skills. The student is expected to have a solid theoretical background, possibly including General Relativity and Particle Physics. Moreover, basics knowledge about high-energy astrophysics and gravitational waves astrophysics is welcome. Good computing skills and aptitude are very much welcome.

 

R-process and kilonova modelling: modelling new transients in multimessenger astrophysics (Perego)

Topic: R-process and kilonova modelling: modelling new transients in multimessenger astrophysics
Research group link: https://relnucas.physics.unitn.it
Contacts: Albino Perego (albino.perego [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The detection of gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation from compact binary mergers has opened the era of multimessenger astrophysics. One of the most relevant discoveries of the past decade was the first unambiguous detection of a kilonova: a new class of electromagnetic transients associated with compact binary mergers and powered by the radioactive decay of freshly synthesized radioactive heavy elements produced through the so called rprocess nucleosynthesis. The goal of this project is to model kilonovae starting from the outcome of Numerical Relativity simulations, considering detailed rprocess nucleosynthesis, and including all the relevant kilonova physics to produce synthetic observables (e.g. yeilds, light curves and spectral) and providing templates to be compared with present and future observations.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidates is a motivated and dynamic students who is willing to and broaden and widen her/his competences, both in terms of physics and of computer science. Collaborative and team-working oriented aptitudes are also relevant skills. The student is expected to have a solid theoretical background, possibly including General Relativity and Particle Physics. Moreover, basics knowledge about high-energy astrophysics and gravitational waves astrophysics is welcome. Good computing skills and aptitude are also welcome.

 

Quantum aspects of scale-invariant gravity (Rinaldi)

Topic: Quantum aspects of scale-invariant gravity
Research group link: https://sites.google.com/unitn.it/gravity-and-cosmology/home
Contacts: Massimiliano Rinaldi: massimiliano.rinaldi [at] unitn.it https://webapps.unitn.it/du/it/Persona/PER0172757/Curriculum
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Scale-invariant gravity is a well-motivated model of fundamental physics. It essentially claims that, in a very high energy regime, gravity becomes an interaction that is not modulated by any fundamental scale (the Netwon constant, for instance, becomes the value of a field that changes in time and space). Such a theory has been deeply investigated in our group in the context of cosmic inflation and in the context of black hole physics. So far, these investigations were carried out in the classical regime and our aim is to explore the quantum regime of the theory and its phenomenological traces in cosmology and black hole physics. The thesis project aims to tackle these challenging questions and to produce tehroetical and observational constraint on the parameter space of the theory. The project will be carried out with a wide network of collaborators (see website) with possibilities of visiting others groups. Some references: https://arxiv.org/abs/1512.07186, https://arxiv.org/abs/1503.05151 , https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.04434
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): A solid MSc level of competencies in general relativity and basic quantum field theory is mandatory. Some advanced notion in black hole physics and/or cosmic inflation and/or quantum field theory/quantum gravity is desiderable but not mandatory. Symbolic or numerical computational skills are also desiderable.

 

Quantum simulation of strongly-correlated quantum systems (Hauke)

Topic: Quantum simulation of strongly-correlated quantum systems
Research group link: https://hauke-group.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: Prof. Philipp Hauke (University of Trento)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Quantum many-body systems host a manifold of intriguing emerging phenomena, which appear due to strong correlations and the spread of quantum information between many particles. Today, many fundamental questions of strongly-correlated systems, in and out of equilibrium, remain unsolved due to the generic hardness to solve them on classical computers. However, the pristine control over quantum systems such as ultracold atoms has now handed us an alternative way, that of solving quantum many-body systems “by experiment”. In this approach, one reproduces the microscopic equations of a quantum system in a device that is itself governed by quantum mechanics. First envisioned by Feynman in 1982, this is now becoming a reality under the name of quantum simulation. The aim of this PhD project is to push the boundaries of quantum simulation. Prime targets will be AMO implementations of systems with disorder, long-range interactions, or gauge symmetries, in order to probe emerging phenomena such as topological states of matter, confinement, chaotic dynamics, scrambling of quantum information, and thermalization of closed quantum systems. The project covers a wide range of possible work opportunities, from developing state-of-art computational and analytical tools for probing many-body properties all the way to proposing and benchmarking experimental implementations.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate has a strong background in quantum mechanics and quantum many-body physics, in particular, e.g., in atomic physics, quantum optics, quantum information, quantum computing, field theories, and condensed matter. Strong analytical and computational skills are required. They should have a high interest in cross-disciplinary research questions and in collaborating with leading theorists and experimentalists across the globe.

 

Topological soft materials (Tubiana)

Topic: Topological soft materials
Research group link: https://sbp.physics.unitn.it
Contacts: Luca Tubiana luca.tubiana [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Supramolecular systems made of interconnected polymer rings are attracting increasing attention across Physics, Chemistry, and biology for their unprecedented mechanical properties which makes them ideal candidates to build smart nano- and micro-materials. A fascinating example of an assembled, topological material is provided by the kinetoplast DNA, the mitochondrial genome of trypanosomatids, consisting of thousands of interlinked dsDNA minicircles interlocked to form a 2D network. Recent studies have shown how the global propertis (curvature, extension, etc) of such materials are dictated by the topological interlinking of the rings. Using the kDNA as a reference, our goal is to computationally and if possible mathematically characterize the relationship between the topological and physical properties of such materials, and explore the possibility to design self-assembling biomimetic catenanes that implement them.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Good knowledge of statistical mechanics, possibly of soft matter physics. Computational physics and the ability to code some simple algorithms are a must. Tinkerers welcome.

 

GS - Experimental Gravitation

Experimental technique for optical losses compensation in Advanced Gravitational wave detectors (Perreca)

Topic: Experimental technique for optical losses compensation in Advanced Gravitational wave detectors
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/855/experimental-gravitation
Contacts: Antonio Perreca (antonio.perreca [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: One of the highest scientific moments of the last century was touched when the LIGO interferometer detected the first gravitational wave signal on September 14th, 2015. The LIGO-Virgo collaboration announced this astonishing result in the following February 2016, opening a new way to look at the universe. Since the first detection, more than 90 events have been detected, including signals originated from binary black holes, binary neutron stars and Neutron Star-Black Hole mergers. The LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA Scientific Collaboration is implementing new techniques to increase the sensitivity of the current and the next generation of gravitational wave detectors. The higher is the sensitivity and the further can be the origin of the detected signals, leading to a higher rate of detection and to a deeper knowledge of the universe. The limitations of the new upgrades are due to the optical losses, namely losses due to mode-matching between optical cavities. Conventional beam-profiling techniques measure mode-matching with limited precision. To scale down the limitations due to the optical losses sensing systems and adaptive optics are required. The first are used to measure the losses and the second to reduce the losses correcting the laser beam parameters. Moreover, the techniques will also be explored in the future Einstein Telescope (ET) experiment. The Virgo-ET Gravitational wave group at the University of Trento will develop new techniques to sense and correct mode matching in optical cavities. The candidate will be part of the LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA and ET collaborations. He will be responsible for developing a system able to correct optical losses due to the mode matching in optical cavities. He will learn to design and realize a table-top experiment, dealing with optics, electronics and software for optical simulations. The system will be implemented in the Advanced Virgo detector. The candidate will also be involved actively in the commissioning activities on the Virgo detector and activities for Einstein Telescope.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate is curious in experimental methods, physics measurements and gravitation with a good dose of critical thinking. Good computing skills are welcome. Background on optics will be useful, but it can also be built along the project. Collaborative and team-working aptitudes are relevant skills.

 

Experimental technique for sensing optical losses in Advanced Gravitational wave detectors (Perreca)

Topic: Experimental technique for sensing optical losses in Advanced Gravitational wave detectors
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/855/experimental-gravitation
Contacts: Antonio Perreca (antonio.perreca [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: One of the highest scientific moments of the last century was touched when the LIGO interferometer detected the first gravitational wave signal on September 14th, 2015. The LIGO-Virgo collaboration announced this astonishing result in the following February 2016, opening a new way to look at the universe. Since the first detection, more than 90 events have been detected, including signals originated from binary black holes, binary neutron stars and Neutron Star-Black Hole mergers. The LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA Scientific Collaboration is implementing new techniques to increase the sensitivity of the current and the next generation of gravitational wave detectors. The higher is the sensitivity and the further can be the origin of the detected signals, leading to a higher rate of detection and to a deeper knowledge of the universe. The limitations of the new upgrades are due to the optical losses, namely losses due to mode-matching between optical cavities. Conventional beam-profiling techniques measure mode-matching with limited precision. To scale down the limitations due to the optical losses sensing systems and adaptive optics are required. The first are used to measure the losses and the second to reduce the losses correcting the laser beam parameters. Moreover, the techniques will also be explored in the future Einstein Telescope (ET) experiment. The Virgo-ET Gravitational wave group at the University of Trento will develop new techniques to sense and correct mode matching in optical cavities. The candidate will be part of the LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA and ET collaborations. He will be responsible for developing a system able to sense the optical mode matching in an optical cavity with the use of a Mode Converter Telescope. He will learn to design and realize a table-top experiment, dealing with optics, electronics, control systems and software for optical simulations. The system will be implemented in the Advanced Virgo detector. The candidate will also be involved actively in the commissioning activities on the Virgo detector site and activities for Einstein Telescope.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate is curious in experimental methods, physics measurements and gravitation with a good dose of critical thinking. Good computing skills are welcome. Background on optics will be useful, but it can also be built along the project. Collaborative and team-working aptitudes are relevant skills.

 

Gravitational Wave Transients: detection and interpretation using minimal assumptions (Prodi)

Topic: Gravitational Wave Transients: detection and interpretation using minimal assumptions
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/855/experimental-gravitation
Contacts: Giovanni Prodi (giovanniandrea.prodi [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The exploration of the gravitational wave sky is rapidly evolving thanks to the current observations by the LIGO and Virgo detectors. The detection of more than 100 gravitational wave transients to date has already disclosed many properties of binaries made of astrophysical compact objects and enabled new tests of General Relativity. Nevertheless, we are just grasping the tip of the achievable science. A new LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA gravitational wave survey is running since May 2023 and it is planned to extend into 2025 with unprecedented sensitivity. This opens excellent opportunities in data analysis in the next three years. The goals of this project are twofold: provide a visible personal contribution to the identification of a new set of gravitational wave transients in data from the current survey and further upgrade the methods for the characterization of the signal properties and for the interpretation of the source. The work will be based on state-of-the-art methods for gravitational wave burst investigations using minimal assumptions, coherentWaveBurst. Our very general methodological approach is particularly effective to enable discoveries of new source classes as well as to probe fundamental physics of space-time. This activity will be integrated in the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA collaborations, a very stimulating worldwide community.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate is curious in data analysis methods, physics measurements and gravitation with a good dose of critical thinking. Good computing skills and knowledge of statistics are welcome. Theoretical background on General Relativity and astrophysics will be useful, but it can also be built along the project. Collaborative and team-working aptitudes are relevant skills.

 

 

Integrated squeezed vacuum source for measurements beyond the quantum limit (Leonardi)

Topic: Integrated squeezed vacuum source for measurements beyond the quantum limit
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/node/78
Contacts: Matteo Leonardi (matteo.leonardi.1 [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: At almost eight years after the first direct detection of gravitational waves performed by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration, the gravitational waves coming from the merger of more than 90 stellar systems have been detected. This number is bound to increase drastically in the upcoming months after the start of the next observation phase in which the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA collaboration’s detectors will probe the universe with unrivaled sensitivities. Despite their impressive precision, gravitational wave detectors are still noise-limited detectors which means that gravitational wave observations can be claimed only as coincident signals appearing in multiple detectors simultaneously. One of the main noises which limits our sensitivity in probing the space-time fabric of our universe and stops us from unveiling the true nature of gravity comes from the quantum nature of light. Indeed, the noise arising from the quantum vacuum fluctuation of the electromagnetic field are a major threat for the future of gravitational wave astronomy. A solution to limit the impact of the quantum noise was proposed and implemented in the most recent observing run and it is the use of squeezed state of light. Such artificial states are produced exploiting non-linear optical materials to build correlations between phase and amplitude noises and redistribute such noises within the different quadratures of the state. Sadly, the production of squeezed states is extremely challenging, which greatly limits their use. The candidate will work on the realization of an integrated squeezed light source which will make the use of squeezing techniques widely available not only for the gravitational waves related fields, but also for other application such as quantum computing and quantum cryptography.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate is student with good critical thinking and good team-working skills. Optics skills as well as simulation skills and knowledge of finite element modelization softwares are welcome.

 

Low frequency vibrations in glasses as key factors limiting the sensitivity of gravitational wave interferometers (Leonardi-Baldi)

Topic: Low frequency vibrations in glasses as key factors limiting the sensitivity of gravitational wave interferometers
Research group link: GS and SDSC
Contacts: Matteo Leonardi (matteo.leonardi.1 [at] unitn.it) Giacomo Baldi (giacomo.baldi [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Structural glasses are often considered as archetypes of out-of-equilibrium materials. The low temperature thermal properties of amorphous solids are heavily affected by the presence of both disorder and “defects”, phenomenologically described as two-level states, whose microscopic origin has remained mysterious [1]. This affects the atomic dynamics in such a way that excitations in structural glasses include tunneling between two-level states, thermally activated relaxations, and harmonic phonon-like vibrations [2]. Recent improvement in numerical simulations have evidenced the presence of quasi-localized vibrational modes besides the extended phonon-like excitations [3] but the experimental confirmation of this finding is lacking and is extremely challenging. Aim of the project is to probe the low-frequency vibrations and the sound propagation in structural glasses in previously unexplored frequency regions, exploiting recent improvements in experimental methods. Specifically, we will exploit recent beamlines developed at large scale facilities, including 4-th generation synchrotron sources (such as the recently upgraded ESRF synchrotron in Grenoble) and free electron lasers. The experimental work will be complemented by light spectroscopy measurements carried out in Trento. The work will be focused on the vibrational properties of a selection of amorphous solids, obtained exploiting different preparation protocols, both in bulk and as thin films. Thin films of amorphous materials are a key ingredient for the coatings of mirrors used in gravitational wave interferometers, such as Advanced LIGO (aLIGO) and Advanced Virgo (AdV). The low frequency vibrations of the coating, which are usually addressed as coating thermal noise or coating Brownian noise, are, at present, the mayor source of noise limiting the ultimate sensitivity of those instruments in the most sensitive part of the detection spectrum. Also, in the design of the future third generation gravitational wave detectors, the comprehension of the physics behind such noises is of paramount importance. References: [1] W. A. Phillips, Reports Prog. Phys. 50, 1657 (1987). [2] G. Baldi et al., Vibrational dynamics of non-crystalline solids, arXiv:2011.10415. [3] Mizuno et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114, E9767 (2017); L. Angelani et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115, 8700 (2018); D. Richard et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 085502 (2020) ; S. Bonfanti et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 085501 (2020).
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The successful candidate is expected to have a strong interest in condensed matter physics or materials science and should be able to work in an independent way carrying out an intense experimental program at national and international large-scale facilities as well as in our laboratories in Trento. Interest in developing high-level software (e.g., MatLab, Python, etc.) and designing new experimental setups as well as good teamwork capabilities would also be appreciated.

 

IdEA - Hydrogen, Energy, Environment

Photocatalytic remediation of contaminated waters: materials design, synthesis and field testing (Miotello)

Topic: Photocatalytic remediation of contaminated waters: materials design, synthesis and field testing.
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/en/104/idea-hydrogen-energy-environment
Contacts: Antonio Miotello, antonio.miotello [at] unitn.it, 0461281637
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Water contamination by organic pollutants is one of the most serious environmental concerns today but also one that can be tackled by photocatalysis. The PhD student will: (1) design photocatalytic materials matching thermodynamics, optics and catalytic properties with application requirements; (2) synthesize them by using the most appropriate combination of physical and chemical methods; (3) design and implement a lab-scale system to evaluate the efficiency of the photocatalysis process under simulated or concentrated sunlight; (4) optimize and bring to proof-of-concept level a process for water decontamination from selected pollutants. The PhD student will be an integral part of the IdEA laboratory, a well-equipped multidisciplinary research group boasting decades of experience in the field.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Experimental Physics, Solid state physics, Materials Physics and Chemistry, Nanomaterials, General and Inorganic Chemistry.

 

 

Green Hydrogen via solar energy conversion: materials and equipments (Orlandi - Miotello)

Topic: Green Hydrogen via solar energy conversion: materials and equipments
Research group link: https://www.physics.unitn.it/856/idea-idrogeno-energia-ambiente
Contacts: Michele Orlandi: michele.orlandi [at] unitn.it, 0461282012 Antonio Miotello, antonio.miotello [at] unitn.it, 0461281637
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The use of hydrogen as a clean, carbon-free energy vector is both an opportunity and a challenge for the scientific community. The PhD student will be involved in research covering two of the main open issues in the field: Water oxidation catalysis (WOC) WOC is central for both electrolysis and the photoelectrochemical cells (PEC) technology. Overcoming the actual constrains of WOC requires designing novel catalysts which are both scalable, efficient and robust enough to operate on wastewaters. Promising candidates based on transition metals will be designed following band-engineering principles and with optimized morphologies at the nanoscale, implemented and tested. Coupling concentrated sunlight to photoactive materials. The development of low-cost, small-scale and robust solar concentrators to provide low-to-moderate concentration factors (2-100) would open the way to enhance the yield of PEC and photocatalysis schemes by increasing photon density, especially in the highly efficient near-UV range where natural light is lacking. Materials and equipments designed for this goal will be implemented by the PhD student
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Experimental Physics, Solid state physics, Materials Physics and Chemistry, Nanomaterials, General and Inorganic Chemistry

 

LBO - Bioorganic Chemistry

Synthesis of novel vitrimeric materials from lignocellulosic natural feedstocks (Gioia)

Topic: Synthesis of novel vitrimeric materials from lignocellulosic natural feedstocks
Research group link: Bio-organic chemistry lab: https://webapps.unitn.it/du/it/Persona/PER0253320/Didattica
Contacts: Claudio Gioia: claudio.gioia [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Vitrimers constitute a recent class of materials currently representing a brand- new frontier in the field of advanced polymers. Their unique performances derive from the presence of covalent bonds which express a reversible character under specific stimuli or environmental conditions. Unlike traditional thermosetting polymers, this peculiar reactivity confers to vitrimers properties such as recyclability, self-healing, and re-processability, unlocking brand new scenarios in sustainable material science. While the current state-of-the-art is focused on developing new reversible systems, and understanding the relationship between structure and kinetic of the exchange process, the next challenge will tackle the development of high-performance vitrimers based on fully biobased structures. Among all the current natural alternatives, lignin, the main by-product of the pulp and paper industry, presents high thermal stability, reactive functional groups, and high availability, constituting a potential candidate for vitrimer synthesis. However, lignin’s great variability in terms of structure, molecular weight, polydispersity, and functionality substantially hampers the development of lignin- based vitrimers. In this context, the PhD project aims to create the next generation of reliable vitrimeric BIO materials, valorizing lignin from agricultural and forestry by- products, and tailoring the materials' performances by controlling lignin structures and functionalities.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate has a specific interest in the fields of organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and material science. Knowledge and competencies in organic synthesis will be useful, as well as good communications skills and team-working capabilities

 

LCSF - Communication of Physical Sciences

Civic scientific literacy, public engagement with science and socially significant topics from the physics education and communication perspective

Topic: Civic scientific literacy, public engagement with science and socially significant topics from the physics education and communication perspective
Research group link:https://lcsfunitn.wordpress.com/
Contacts: pasquale.onorato [at] unitn.it, stefano.oss [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The civic scientific literacy refers to the level and kinds of information that a citizen needs to know in order to follow current and emerging public policy issues. It is meaningful to do in-depth research from a Physics Education perspective on the “citizenship” especially because the core outcome of Science Education is to prepare scientifically literate students and responsible future citizens. Applicants should work in 1) exploring and developing conceptual paths and experimental approaches to various branches of physics research (classical and modern physics, science of terrestrial atmosphere and various science visualization methods in an educational and communicative framework to support a more robust and grounded vision of contemporary and socially relevant topics;  2) examining the relationship of the science literacy and citizenship concepts and investigating how people’s attitudes to the environment and socio-environmental behaviours correlate with the civic scientific literacy - qualified rate 3) designing and implementing proposals for the integration of a citizen science project into the secondary education curriculum
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): A specific training in science education or experience in high school education will be welcome.

 

The role of laboratory in improving physics teaching: learning goals and environments, and new educational technologies in the school and university

Topic: The role of laboratory in improving physics teaching: learning goals and environments, and new educational technologies in the school and university
Research group link: https://lcsfunitn.wordpress.com/
Contacts: pasquale.onorato [at] unitn.it, stefano.oss [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The laboratory is an essential part of the physics curriculum both in high school and courses at university because physics is inherently an experimental science. Requests for reform to instructional labs mean many instructors are facing the formidable mission of identifying goals for their introductory lab courses. Starting from the previous researches, which include also the recent studies about the introduction of the experimental activities conducted remotely, applicants should work in 1. providing resources and ideas to the community of physics instructors, detailing what instructors do what was effective and what students can learn in physics laboratory 2. developing a set of common context-related goals for laboratory instruction that can serve as a guide to those responsible for designing and evaluating high school physics laboratory programs 3. designing curricula for teaching and learning physics which integrate multimedia and new technologies mainly in the laboratories
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): A specific training in science education or experience in high school education will be welcome.

 

The possible role of Large Language Models in the development of teaching/learning pathways at high-school and undergraduate physics classes

Topic: The possible role of Large Language Models in the development of teaching/learning pathways at high-school and undergraduate physics classes.
Research group link:https://lcsfunitn.wordpress.com/
Contacts: stefano.oss [at] unitn.it, pasquale.onorato [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: New technologies based on LLM and AI interfaces are of potentially great interest in educational settings. However, the use of chatbots in schools is an approach characterized by great uncertainty and methodological, disciplinary, and pedagogical risks that can undermine the development of cognitive skills and competencies related to the understanding of physical sciences. There are many ongoing experiments, but they are still poorly structured and documented, and a significant investment in research and analysis is expected in the immediate future. In our group, we have begun investigations into the possibilities of using chatgpt in the learning/teaching pathways of classical physics, but we intend to extend these works both in terms of areas of interest and the depth and detail of AI approaches. Applicants will be asked to participate in this research by contributing practical implementations and validating AI-based learning supports, including their critical analysis
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): A specific training in science education or experience in high school education will be welcome.

 

Challenges in modern and quantum physics education.

Topic: Challenges in modern and quantum physics education.
Research group link: https://lcsfunitn.wordpress.com/
Contacts: pasquale.onorato [at] unitn.it, stefano.oss [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: In recent years, numerous studies have focused on the opportunity and effectiveness of developing effective methods to introduce some principles of quantum physics and, more generally, of modern physics to selected groups of high school students. Aligned with international research and drawing on established approaches in science education, the objective is to evaluate and design research-based teaching and learning sequences for these subjects. Applicants should work in : 1. Conducting an epistemological analysis to identify the essential, introductory quantum physics topics deemed important for secondary education. 2. Comparing the outcomes of the epistemological analysis with the quantum physics contents in the Italian school guidelines, highlighting choices made by curriculum designers and identifying key concepts according to textbooks. 3. Exploring students' perspectives on modern physics through existing research literature and develop assessment tools to gauge their understanding. 4. Reviewing recent education research on modern and quantum physics and examine teaching/learning environments proposed by physics education researchers.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): A specific training in science education or experience in high school education will be welcome.

 

NL - Nanoscience

Integrated quantum photonics (Azzini)

Topic: Integrated quantum photonics
Research group link: http://nanolab.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: prof. Stefano Azzini stefano.azzini [at] unitn.it , prof. Lorenzo Pavesi lorenzo.pavesi [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: The Nanoscience laboratory is mainly leading experimental research in the field of photonics. In particular, a part of the group is pursuing research activities comprising the design of photonic circuits – featuring different levels of integration with control electronics – used to run novel quantum optical experiments on a chip. These include parameterized quantum circuits based on qubits implementing small-scale quantum photonic simulators (e.g. variational quantum eigensolvers for computing molecular ground states), analog quantum simulators (e.g. Boson samplers) and photonic quantum machine learning circuits (e.g. c-swap test). Part of these activities are currently run within the European project EPIQUS (https://epiqus.fbk.eu/), whose main goal is developing a fully-integrated electronic-photonic small-scale quantum simulator. The interested and successful student, starting by learning the necessary design and experimental tools, will acquire both the capabilities to devise an integrated photonic circuit for quantum applications as well as the freedom to propose new solutions and ideas to tackle different open problems and advance the field.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The ideal candidate has already a good knowledge in the fields of photonics, experimental quantum optics and quantum information, as well as a master thesis work carried out in an optical laboratory. Knowledge and competencies with programming languages will be useful, as well as good communications skills and team-working capabilities.

Neuromorphic Photonics (Pavesi)

Topic: Neuromorphic Photonics
Research group link:http://nanolab.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: Prof. Lorenzo Pavesi (lorenzo.pavesi [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Hybrid photonic and biological integrated circuits form neural networks able to process incoming information. These are suitable platforms to experiment novel artificial intelligence applications and paradigms. In this framework, we have open in the laboratory several research opportunitie for a PhD thesis: 1. development of neural networks for telecom applications where photonic circuits replace power hangry and expensive DSP 2. development of spiking neural networks based on massive microring arrays for dendritic computing 3. development of hybrid biological and photonic network for biological and medical applications
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Interest in photonics and artificial intelligence. skills in photonics.

 

NSE - Non linear Systems and Electronics

Addressing physical problems with information-theoretical methods (Ricci)

Topic: Addressing physical problems with information-theoretical methods
Research group link: https://nse.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: Leonardo Ricci, leonardo.ricci [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Addressing physical problems with information-theoretical – i.e. entropy-based – methods is a thriving field. Entropy-based methods provide a complementary approach to more conventional and established analytical techniques. The final goal is to apply these methods to complex systems ranging from neuroscience to climatology. The candidate is expected to achieve or deeply expand many skills (see below) that can help her/him to further pursue research.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Competencies in statistics, statistical physics, and signal and system analysis. Good knowledge of math. Ability to program in C++. An interest in electronics is also welcome.

 

QG - Experiments with ultracold atoms and quantum gases

Quantum simulation with superfluid mixtures (Lamporesi)

Topic: Quantum simulation with superfluid mixtures
Research group link: https://bec.science.unitn.it/BEC/0_Home.html
Contacts: Giacomo Lamporesi – giacomo.lamporesi [at] ino.cnr.it Gabriele Ferrari - gabriele.ferrari [at] unitn.it
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Ultracold atomic gases offer a flexible platform to address open problems in fundamental physics such as many-body properties in quantum gases, transport phenomena, quantum simulation of fundamental interactions and gauge fields. In particular, the PhD student will be involved in the study and characterization of magnetic and topological phenomena emerging in superfluid mixtures. The experimental research will focus on manipulating the spin degrees of freedom of a mixture of Bose-Einstein condensates in different internal states simulating cosmological problems or solid state analogues, in strong synergy with the theory researchers of the Pitaevskii BEC Center.
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): Interest and motivation in studying fundamental properties of matter at ultracold temperatures. Experimental skills, in particular in optics, are welcome, as well as knowledge of python language

 

SDSC - Structure and dynamics of complex systems

Low frequency vibrations in glasses as key factors limiting the sensitivity of gravitational wave interferometers (Leonardi-Baldi)

Topic: Low frequency vibrations in glasses as key factors limiting the sensitivity of gravitational wave interferometers
Research group link: GS and SDSC
Contacts: Matteo Leonardi (matteo.leonardi.1 [at] unitn.it) Giacomo Baldi (giacomo.baldi [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: Structural glasses are often considered as archetypes of out-of-equilibrium materials. The low temperature thermal properties of amorphous solids are heavily affected by the presence of both disorder and “defects”, phenomenologically described as two-level states, whose microscopic origin has remained mysterious [1]. This affects the atomic dynamics in such a way that excitations in structural glasses include tunneling between two-level states, thermally activated relaxations, and harmonic phonon-like vibrations [2]. Recent improvement in numerical simulations have evidenced the presence of quasi-localized vibrational modes besides the extended phonon-like excitations [3] but the experimental confirmation of this finding is lacking and is extremely challenging. Aim of the project is to probe the low-frequency vibrations and the sound propagation in structural glasses in previously unexplored frequency regions, exploiting recent improvements in experimental methods. Specifically, we will exploit recent beamlines developed at large scale facilities, including 4-th generation synchrotron sources (such as the recently upgraded ESRF synchrotron in Grenoble) and free electron lasers. The experimental work will be complemented by light spectroscopy measurements carried out in Trento. The work will be focused on the vibrational properties of a selection of amorphous solids, obtained exploiting different preparation protocols, both in bulk and as thin films. Thin films of amorphous materials are a key ingredient for the coatings of mirrors used in gravitational wave interferometers, such as Advanced LIGO (aLIGO) and Advanced Virgo (AdV). The low frequency vibrations of the coating, which are usually addressed as coating thermal noise or coating Brownian noise, are, at present, the mayor source of noise limiting the ultimate sensitivity of those instruments in the most sensitive part of the detection spectrum. Also, in the design of the future third generation gravitational wave detectors, the comprehension of the physics behind such noises is of paramount importance. References: [1] W. A. Phillips, Reports Prog. Phys. 50, 1657 (1987). [2] G. Baldi et al., Vibrational dynamics of non-crystalline solids, arXiv:2011.10415. [3] Mizuno et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114, E9767 (2017); L. Angelani et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115, 8700 (2018); D. Richard et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 085502 (2020) ; S. Bonfanti et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 085501 (2020).
Ideal candidate (skills and competencies): The successful candidate is expected to have a strong interest in condensed matter physics or materials science and should be able to work in an independent way carrying out an intense experimental program at national and international large-scale facilities as well as in our laboratories in Trento. Interest in developing high-level software (e.g., MatLab, Python, etc.) and designing new experimental setups as well as good teamwork capabilities would also be appreciated.

 

Relaxation dynamics of amorphous phase change materials

Topic: Relaxation dynamics of amorphous phase change materials
Research group link: SDSC - https://complexsystems.physics.unitn.it/
Contacts: Giacomo Baldi (giacomo.baldi [at] unitn.it)
Synthetic description of the activity and expected research outcome: In the last years, phase-change non-volatile memory devices have risen important attention for technological applications [1]. They are made by phase-change materials (PCMs), a class of functional materials that are reversibly and rapidly switched between amorphous and crystalline states by electrical pulses in a short timescale of a few nanoseconds. While their crystalline state has been largely investigated, little is still known on the properties of their amorphous state due to the intrinsic difficulties related to the study of materials far from the thermodynamic equilibrium with both numerical simulations and experiments. Several studies have identified the existence of some remarkable anomalous behaviours in the amorphous state (like physical aging, secondary relaxation processes and dynamical transitions), which may play an important role in determining their switching kinetics [2,3]. The comprehension of the glassy state is therefore extremely important for both technological applications and fundamental science. Aim of the project is the investigation of the relaxation dynamics of a class of amorphous chalcogenides that behave as PCM with a fast transition between the amorphous and the crystalline states. The experimental work will be conducted both at large scale facilities (Synchrotron radiation sources and free electron lasers) and in our labs. The work in Trento will be devoted to the development of a spectrometer for photo correlation spectroscopy in the infrared, to probe the structural relaxation of samples that are typically opaque in the visible range. References • [1] S. Wei, P. Lucas, and C. A. Angell, MRS Bull. 44, 691 (2019). • [2] J. Y. Raty et al. Nat. Commun. 6, 7467 (2015). • [3] N. Amini et al. Mat. Sc. Semic. Process. 135,106094 (2021).
The successful candidate is expected to have a strong interest in condensed matter physics or materials science and should be able to work in an independent way carrying out an intense experimental program at national and international large-scale facilities as well as in our laboratories in Trento. Interest in developing high-level software (e.g., MatLab, Python, etc.) and designing new experimental setups would also be appreciated.