Waveguide QED with Quadratic Light-Matter Interactions – PRX Quantum

ISC researcher S. Felicetti is the lead author of a research article now published in PRX Quantum, in collaboration with Aalto University (Helsinki) and the Institute of Fundamental Physics IFF-CSIC (Madrid): U. Alushi, T. Ramos, J.-J. G.-Ripoll, R. Di Candia, and S. Felicetti PRX Quantum 4, 030326 (2023).

Quadratic light-matter interactions are nonlinear couplings such that quantum emitters interact with photonic or phononic modes exclusively via the exchange of excitation pairs.… Read the rest

Mechanism for fluctuating pair density wave in Nature Communications

ISC researcher L. Fanfarillo coauthored an interesting article now published in Nature Communications, C. Setty, L. Fanfarillo and P. J. Hirschfeld Nat. Comm.  3181 (2023).

In weakly coupled BCS superconductors, only electrons within a tiny energy window around the Fermi energy, EF, form Cooper pairs. This may not be the case in strong coupling superconductors such as cuprates, FeSe, SrTiO3 or cold atom condensates where the pairing scale, EB, becomes comparable or even larger than EF.

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Thermodynamic Limits of Sperm Swimming Precision – PRX Life

In PRX Life Thermodynamics Reveals Coordinated Motors in Sperm Tails
Thermodynamic Limits of Sperm Swimming Precision, C. Maggi, F. Saglimbeni, V. Carmona Sosa, R. Di Leonardo, B. Nath, and A. Puglisi in PRX Life

Sperm swimming is crucial to fertilize the egg, in nature and in assisted reproductive technologies. Modeling the sperm dynamics involves elasticity, hydrodynamics, internal active forces, and out-of-equilibrium noise.

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Call for applications for a 2+ years Researcher position on Quantum Technologies



We invite applications for a Post-Doc researcher position in the field of quantum information and technologies. The Researcher will be hired within the project: “National Quantum Science and Technology Institute (NQSTI) – Spoke 2 Foundations and architectures for quantum sensing, metrology, novel materials, and sustainability” funded by the Italian University and Research Ministry.

Depending on his/her background the candidate may work on a wide range of research topics including quantum networks for quantum information transport and sensing, modeling of complex quantum devices and geometric effects in quantum photonic networks.… Read the rest

Molecular origin of the two-step mechanism of gellan aggregation in Science Advances

ISC researchers in collaboration with the University of Ferrara and University of Rome Tor Vergata recently published a beautiful research work, Molecular origin of the two-step mechanism of gellan aggregation,  on Science Advances. The work provides the first microscopic overview of gellan aggregation detecting the coil to single-helix transition at dilute conditions and the formation of higher-order aggregates at high concentration.… Read the rest

Heat flow on the nanoscale in La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento (2023)

ISC researcher Stefano Lepri and ISC associate Roberto Livi coauthored an interesting review article  showing how heat flow is different on the nanoscale.

G. Benenti, D. Donadio, S. Lepri and R. Livi, Non Fourier heat transport in nanosystems, La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento (2023)

Energy transfer in small nano-sized systems can be very different from that in their macroscopic counterparts due to reduced dimensionality, interaction with surfaces, disorder, and large fluctuations.

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Brain sciences and the R words

ISC researcher Roberto Coccurello co-authored  an interesting article on Brain Communications Passive immunotherapy for N-truncated tau ameliorates the cognitive deficits in two mouse Alzheimer’s disease models . The work was recently selected for the collection Brain sciences and the R words for its rigor, reproducibility and quality of the statistical analysis.


Clinical and neuropathological studies have shown that tau pathology better correlates with the severity of dementia than amyloid plaque burden, making tau an attractive target for the cure of Alzheimer’s disease.… Read the rest


One Health Basic and Transational Research Actions addressing Unmet Needs on Emerging Infectious Diseases

Funding Body: MUR, EU, PNRR
ISC budget: 114.500.00
Proposer: Università di Pavia
Project duration: 36 months
Website: https://www.mur.gov.it/it/news/mercoledi-03082022/pnrr-mur-selezionati-i-14-partenariati-attivita-di-ricerca
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National Quantum Science and Technology Institute

Funding Body: MUR, EU, PNRR
ISC budget: 430.000
Proposer: Università degli Studi di Camerino
Project duration: 36 months
Website: mur.gov.it
Read the rest


National Centre for HPC, Big Data and Quantum Computing

Funding Body: MUR, EU, PNRR
ISC budget: 384,875
proposer: INFN
Project duration: 36 months
WEBSITE: mur.gov.it
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Rome Technopole

Funding Body: MUR, EU, PNRR
ISC budget:  340.000.000
Proposer: La Sapienza University
Project duration: 36 months
Website: https://sites.google.com/uniroma1.it/rome-technopole/home
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Call for applications for 3rd Level Qualification Researcher

The Institute for Complex Systems seeks an applicant for a fixed term researcher position in the field of Development of laser sensors and machine learning techniques for advanced spectral analysis. For further details see here and/or contact Neda Ghofraniha.

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Call for applications for Postdoctoral Research Positions

The Institute for Complex Systems seeks applicants for  for a fixed term researcher position in the field of quantum computing and quantum machine learning theory.  For further details see here and/or contact Laura Pilozzi.

 … Read the rest

The Hyperspin Machine in Nature Communications

Our colleagues Claudio Conti and Marcello Calvanese-Strinati have recently published a beautiful theoretical work showing how coupled parametric oscillators can simulate multidimensional continuous spin models. Read more on Nature Communications, 13 7248 (2022)


From condensed matter to quantum chromodynamics, multidimensional spins are a fundamental paradigm, with a pivotal role in combinatorial optimization and machine learning. Machines formed by coupled parametric oscillators can simulate spin models, but only for Ising or low-dimensional spins.

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Epidemic spreading under mutually independent intra- and inter- host pathogen evolution – Nature Communications

Stefano Boccaletti, researcher @ ISC – Firenze, coauthored an interesting work discussing how evolving pathogens impact the reproduction number and macroscopic dynamics of spreading processes. The article is also featured in  the Applied Physics and Mathematics Focus page selecting “the most interesting papers published in Nature Communications in the interdisciplinary areas where diverse approaches at the boundaries of physics, mathematics, materials science and engineering take place to create new research opportunities”

Epidemic spreading under mutually independent intra- and inter-host pathogen evolution, X.… Read the rest

SIF Prize “Sergio Panizza e Gabriele Galimberti” to D. Pierangeli

The prize Sergio Panizza e Gabriele Galimberti from the Italian Physical Society (SIF) was awarded to  Dr.Davide Pierangeli, researcher in our Institute, “for his groudbreaking experimental work in the field of  non-linear photonics. Among D. Pierangeli’s works, of particular relevance is the first observation of the breaking of replica symmetry in disordered photorefractive media.”

The original work D. Pierangeli, A. Tavani, F.… Read the rest

Thouless pumping of light with a twist – Nature Physics News and Views

ISC researchers L. Pilozzi and V. Brosco write on a recent experiment [1] with photonic waveguides  which demonstrates the connection between non-Abelian holonomies and adiabatic particle transport, paving the way to the geometric and topological control of light trajectories.

The experiment by Sun and colleagues represents one of the few observations so far of the non-Abelian Wilczek–Zee holonomy. But by employing Thouless pumping as a tool for probing non-Abelian topological physics, it also paves the way for the geometric control of photon states and light trajectories in real space — a fundamental step in the direction of photonic information processing [2].… Read the rest

News and Views on “Thermally reconfigurable random lasers”

Light can control microparticles and microstructures can shape light, leading to a wide range of practical applications as well as interesting physics.

By combining optically controlled micro-heaters with thermophilic particles attracted by them researchers form University College London obtained microlasers with programmable and reversible patterns. This achievement is a nice demonstration of what happens when colloidal science meets photonics and is now published in Nature Physics and highlighted by Neda Ghofraniha in News and Views .… Read the rest


Microgel technology for preservation of cultural heritage

Founding Body: European Research Council
Total grant: € 150K
Principal Investigator: Emanuela Zaccarelli
Other participants: Simona Sennato,  Claudia Mazzuca (Univ. Tor Vergata)
Project duration: 2022-2024
Website: https://erc.europa.eu/funding/proof-concept
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Chaos, Solitons and Fractals ranked 1 out of 108 in Mathematics, Interdisciplinary Applications by Clarivate.

The 2021 Impact Factor of Elsevier’s Chaos, Solitons and Fractals: the interdisciplinary journal of Nonlinear Science, and Nonequilibrium and Complex Phenomena  is 9.922, ranking it 1 out of 108 in Mathematics, Interdisciplinary Applications.

ISC researchers strongly contributed to the success of Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, as Editors as well as Authors through publications of high scientific value.  Congratulations to ISC researchers Stefano Lepri and Stefano Boccaletti who have been respectively Editor and Chief Editor of this journal for many years.

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A Random Walk in Physics – Book

A Random Walk in Physics: Beyond Black Holes and Time-Travels is a book by
Massimo Cencini, Andrea Puglisi, Davide Vergni and Angelo Vulpiani.

Read a review in italian at GalileoRead the rest

Coexistence of Plasmoid and Kelvin–Helmholtz Instabilities in Collisionless Plasma Turbulence published in Astrophysical Journal April 2022

ISC researchers Dario Borgogno e Daniela Grasso have  recently published the following interesting work,
The plasmoid formation in collisionless plasmas, where magnetic reconnection within turbulence may take place
driven by the electron inertia, is analyzed. We find a complex situation in which, due to the presence of strong
velocity shears, the typical plasmoid formation, observed to influence the energy cascade in the
magnetohydrodynamic context, has to coexist with the Kelvin–Helmholtz (KH) instability.
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“Hyper-auxetic” polymer networks published in Nature Communications

Andrea Ninarello, José Ruiz-Franco & Emanuela Zaccarelli have published Onset of criticality in hyper-auxetic polymer networks in Nature Communications volume 13, Article number: 527 (2022)

Against common sense, auxetic materials expand or contract perpendicularly when stretched or compressed, respectively, by uniaxial strain, being characterized by a negative Poisson’s ratio ν. The amount of deformation in response to the applied force can be at most equal to the imposed one, so that ν = − 1 is the lowest bound for the mechanical stability of solids, a condition here defined as “hyper-auxeticity”.… Read the rest

Photonics and the Nobel Prize in Physics – News and Views on Nature Photonics

ISC director, Prof. Claudio Conti and Prof. Eugenio Del Re  share their thoughts on  the role of  photonics experiments in the development of complex systems and spin glass theory. Read the full story  on Nature Photonics News and Views.

Photonics and the Nobel Prize in Physics
Giorgio Parisi recently shared a Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the theory of complex systems.

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Tau Cleavage Contributes to Cognitive Dysfunction in Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model

ISC researchers coauthored an interesting work on International Journal of Molecular Science,

Tau Cleavage Contributes to Cognitive Dysfunction in Strepto-Zotocin-Induced Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease (sAD) Mouse Model

V. Latina et al. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 22, 12158 (2021)

Tau cleavage plays a crucial role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), a widespread neurodegenerative disease whose incidence is expected to increase in the next years.… Read the rest

Nature Communications : Hyperbolic optics and superlensing from self-induced topological transitions

Claudio Conti and Eugenio Del Re co-authored an interesting work published on Nature Communications  demonstrating experimentally self-induced topological transitions from elliptical to hyperbolic k-space manifolds in room-temperature photorefractive KTN.

Hyperbolic optics and superlensing in room-temperature KTN from self-induced k-space topological transitions

Y.Gelkop, F.Di Mei, S. Frishman, Y. Garcia, L. Falsi, G. Perepelitsa, C. Conti, E. Del Re , and A. J.

Read the rest


Sviluppo di Lab-on-chip con nanoparticelle lipidiche per la quantificazione della carica virale di Sars-CoV-2 da tampone nasale

Founding Body: FESR Regione Lazio
Total grant: €150k *
Principal Investigator: Massimiliano Papi Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Other participants: CNR ISC: Valentina Palmieri
Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza – Dip. Medicina Molecolare: Prof Giulio Caracciolo
Project duration: 24 months

*) Valore totale del progetto: 149.978,71 € di cui 149.978,71 € a titolo di sostegno finanziario ricevuto dalla Regione Lazio.… Read the rest


Sviluppo di sistemi e tecnologie quantistiche per la sicurezza informatica in reti di comunicazione

Founding Body: MUR
Total grant: € 78k *
Principal Investigator: Prof. Giovanni Piero Pepe – Università di Napoli Federico II e CNR – SPIN
Other participants: Progetto coordinato dal Dipartimento di scienze fisiche e tecnologie dei materiali del CNR.

Membri del gruppo di Ricerca CNR ISC:  Claudio Conti, Laura Pilozzi, Valentina Brosco

Altri partner pubblici: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, Università di Padova, INRIM

Partner privati: EXPRIVA Spa, Memory Consult srl, DEMETRIX srl

Project duration: 30 months starting March 2021
Website: https://www.cnr.it/it/pon-2014-2020-cluster
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Frontiers in Cell Biology: Rescue of Alpha-Synuclein Deficit by Virus-Driven Expression or by Running Restores the Defective Neurogenesis

ISC researcher R. Coccurello coauthored an interesting article now published in Frontiers in Cell and developmental biology


Transcriptome Analysis in a Mouse Model of Premature Aging of Dentate Gyrus: Rescue of Alpha-Synuclein Deficit by Virus-Driven Expression or by Running Restores the Defective Neurogenesis

L. Micheli, T. Creanza, M. Ceccarelli, G. D’Andrea, G. Giacovazzo, N. Ancona, R. Coccurello, R. Scardiglli, F.… Read the rest

QUANCOM project launched!

ISC researchers, C. Conti, L. Pilozzi and V. Brosco, participate in the new PON project QUANCOM.

Security technologies in both the network transmission layers and in the application layers are becoming more and more complex and sophisticated but, nevertheless these efforts, they are not completely immune to attacks. In fact, even the computing power (parallel and distributed thanks to the network resource) is increasing and available to organizations that, for various purposes, have interests in appropriating of sensitive data.

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Fluorescent Nuclear Track Detector for Radiobiology

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 149k *
Principal Investigator: Rosa Maria Montereali
Other participants: Membri del gruppo di Ricerca ENEA: Rosa Maria Montereali, Enrico Nichelatti, Valentina Nigro, Massimo Piccinini, Concetta Ronsivalle, Maria Aurora Vincenti

Membri del gruppo di Ricerca Istituto Superiore di Sanità: Evaristo Cisbani, Giuseppe Esposito

Membri del gruppo di Ricerca CNR ISC: Elena Buratti

Project duration: 24 months starting  April 2021

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato da Regione Lazio attraverso il Bando Gruppi di Ricerca 2020
* importo finanziamento pari a € 148.930Read the rest

PNAS: Two-step deswelling in the Volume Phase Transition of thermoresponsive microgels

ISC researchers  working on soft matter coauthored a interesting work on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS)
Two-step deswelling in the Volume Phase Transition of thermoresponsive microgels
PNAS September 14, 2021 118 (37) e2109560118

Soft particles often combine colloidal and polymeric aspects, making them very valuable for both fundamental and applied science. Microgels, which are colloidal-scale polymer networks, are one of the most important examples in class of systems.… Read the rest


Comunicazione laser dinamica nello spazio libero tramite droni

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 150k
Principal Investigator: Eugenio Del Re
Other participants: CNR ISC: Claudio Conti
Project duration:

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato da Regione Lazio attraverso il Bando Gruppi di Ricerca 2020 Read the rest


Diagnosi precoce dell’osteoporosi basata sulla qualità dell’osso con Risonanza Magnetica Nucleare

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 135k
Principal Investigator: Silvia Capuani
Other participants: CNR ISC: Marco Montuori
Collaboratori esterni: Fondazione Santa Lucia: Sergio Colonna, Vincenzo Vinicola, Maurizio Tommaselli, Antonio Ursone, Cecilia Della Vedova
Project duration: 24 months

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato da Regione Lazio attraverso il Bando Gruppi di Ricerca 2020 Read the rest


Sospensioni & aerOsol: denSità ed Evoluzione mediante Spettroscopia Ottica

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 150k
Principal Investigator: Barbara Ruzicka
Other participants: Membri del gruppo di Ricerca CNR ISC: Barbara Ruzicka, Angelo Sarra (ora UnivAQ)
Membri del gruppo di Ricerca Sapienza: Paolo Postorino, Federico Bordi, Francesca Ripanti
Collaboratori esterni: Claudia Fasolato, Alessandro Paciaroni (Università di Perugia)
Project duration:

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato da Regione Lazio attraverso il Bando Gruppi di Ricerca 2020 Read the rest


Nuovi microgel per la conservazione dei beni artistici

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 150k *
Principal Investigator: Emanuela Zaccarelli
Other participants: CNR ISC: Roberta Angelini, Mauro Missori, Simona Sennato, Letizia Tavagnacco
Univ. Tor Vergata: Ester Chiessi, Claudia Mazzuca, Mattia Titubante, Leonardo Severini
Collaboratori esterni: Maria Letizia Sebastiani (Istituto Centrale per il Restauro e la Conservazione del Patrimonio Archivistico e Librario – ICRCPAL); Ditta di restauro di Lorenzo Civiero; Librarti; Laboratorio Gottscher; PMI 2610.
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Nature Reviews: The physics of financial networks

ISC associates Guido Caldarelli  and Gulio Cimini coauthored an interesting review on modelling the financial systems and networks now published in Nature Reviews, M. Bardoscia, P. Barucca, S. Battiston, F. Caccioli, G. Cimini, D. Galaschelli, F. Saracco, T. Squartini, and G. Caldarelli. Nat. Rev. Phys. June (2021).

As the total value of the global financial market outgrew the value of the real economy, financial institutions created a global web of interactions that embodies systemic risks.… Read the rest


Next generation neural mass models: bridging the scales from micro to macroscopic dynamics

Founding Body: Human Brain project, co-funded by
European Union Horizon 2020
Total grant: € 96k
Principal Investigator: Simona Olmi
Other participants: Viktor Jirsa (University of Aix-Marseille)
Project duration: 2021-2023
Website: https://www.humanbrainproject.eu/en/about/project-structure/partnering-projects/nextgen/
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Science: Mapping out a future for ungulate migrations

ISC researcher Stefano Focardi coauthored an interesting work in Science,”Mapping out a future for ungulate migrations” Science 372, 567 (2021).

The article shows how limited mapping of mammalians migrations hampers conservation  and envisions a digital archive translating migration data into actionable migration maps that are standardized, in a central database, and publicly available.


Migration of ungulates (hooved mammals) is a fundamental ecological process that promotes abundant herds, whose effects cascade up and down terrestrial food webs.… Read the rest

Laser Printing

By exploiting the mechanism of supercavitation we are able to realize laser-induced multi-scale structure on the surface of graphene oxide (GO) based polymeric matrices. The objective of this activity is twofold. From a fundamental point of view, we want to investigate the role of a multi-scale topological structure on the mechanism ruling the growth of microorganisms ranging from bacteria and fungi to human stem cells.… Read the rest

Nature Communications: Stochastic sampling effects favor manual over digital contact tracing

ISC researcher Claudio Castellano and collaborators unveil the roles of contact tracing procedures in mitigating COVID-19 pandemic, now published in Nature Communications, see M. Mancasroppa, C. Castellano, A. Vezzani and R. Burioni, Stochastic sampling effects favor manual over digital contact tracing, Nature Communications 12, 1919 (2021).



Isolation of symptomatic individuals, tracing and testing of their nonsymptomatic contacts are fundamental strategies for mitigating the current COVID-19 pandemic.… Read the rest

Time and classical equations of motion from quantum entanglement

ISC Researcher Paola Verrucchi and Collaborators wrote a beatiful and elegant work investigating the concept of time in quantum mechanics, now published in  Nature Communications, see C. Foti, A.Coppo, G. Barni, A. Cuccoli and P. Verrucchi, Time and classical equations of motion from quantum entanglement via the Page and Wootters mechanism with generalized coherent states, Nature Communications 12,  1787 (2021).

The figure shows the interaction between a classical clock and a quantum system.… Read the rest

Photonics Research Special Issue now available online

ISC researcher Laura Pilozzi, co-edited the Photonics Research Special Issue Topological Photonics and beyond: novel concepts and recent avances, now available online



Topological photonics has been opening exciting opportunities in recent optics research. This Special Issue provides a snapshot and overview of the recent advances in this thriving field of research. It features six papers and one review article, by some of the leading experts in the field, covering various aspects of topological photonics research.… Read the rest


Machine Learning per teleassistenza

Founding Body: POR FESR Lazio
Total grant: € 612k
Principal Investigator: Unidata: Giampaolo Rossin
Other participants: Francis A. Farrelly
Project duration: 2020-2022
Website: https://www.unidata.it/ricerca-sviluppo/#fragili
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MARS-Mass And Rheological Sensing

Versatile Mass And Rheological Sensing platform

Founding Body: European Union Horizon 2020 – Marie Skłodowska-Curie
Total grant: € 171.5k
Principal Investigator: João Mouro
Other participants: Bruno Tiribilli
Project duration: 2020-2022
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Face masks and nanotechnology

ISC researcher V. Palmieri coauthored an article  on NanoToday explaining the role of nanotechnologies in improving the performance of facial masks and  warning on possible future consequences caused by a poorly regulated use of nanotechnology in textiles.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. While researchers are working on vaccine development and elucidating the mechanism of action and evolution of the harmful SARS-CoV-2, the current most important public health measure, second only to social distancing, is the obligatory wearing of facial protection.… Read the rest

Replica Symmetry Breaking Maps in Random Laser, ACS Photonics (2021)

ISC Researchers build for the first time replica symmetry breaking  maps to visualize Random Laser activity on ACS Photonics 2021

In the past decade, complex networks of light emitters are proposed as novel platforms for photonic circuits and lab-on-chip active devices. Lasing networks made by connected multiple gain components and graphs of nanoscale random lasers (RLs) obtained from complex meshes of polymeric nanofibers are successful prototypes.… Read the rest

Can graphene take part in the fight against COVID-19? Nano Today (2020)

ISC researcher, Valentina Palmieri, and her collaborator M. Papi discuss the promising applications of functionalized graphene in the fight against COVID 19. Their research has been published in Nano Today, “Can graphene take part in the fight against COVID-19?

Nano Today

M. Papi and V. Palmieri, Nano Today, Vol. 33,  100883 (2020)


The pneumonia outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) represents a global issue.

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Analytical Model for Particle Capture in Nanopores, ACS Nano (2020)

Our researcher, Fabio Cecconi, has developed an analytical model elucidating the competition among electrophoresis, electroosmosis, and dielectrophoresis. The work is published on ACS Nano, M. Chinappi, Misa Yamaji, Ryuji Kawano, and Fabio Cecconi, “Analytical Model for Particle Capture in Nanopores Elucidates Competition among Electrophoresis, Electroosmosis, and Dielectrophoresis” ACS Nano, 14, 15816 (2020).



The interaction between nanoparticles dispersed in a fluid and nanopores is governed by the interplay of hydrodynamical, electrical, and chemical effects.… Read the rest


Renormalization group approach to the collective behaviour of strongly correlated biological systems.

Founding Body: ERC- 2017-ADG
Total grant: € 2300k
Principal Investigator: Andrea Cavagna
Other participants:
Project duration: 2018-2023
Website: RG.BIO – Home
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Understanding avian flocks near and entering civil infrastructure for species of concern

Total grant: € 223k
Principal Investigator: Stefania Melillo
Other participants:
Project duration: 2017-2021
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Roberta Angelini is guest Editor of Polymers

Our staff researcher Roberta Angelini is Guest Editor of a Special Issue  of Polymers on “Polymer Microgels: Synthesis and Application

Polymer microgels have attracted great attention in fundamental studies as good model systems for understanding the intriguing behaviors of soft colloids thanks to their elastic and deformable particles that provide a very rich phenomenology. These cross-linked particles with nanometric to micrometric dimensions are characterized by many fascinating properties such as swelling, softness, and responsivity that depend on their macromolecular architecture and can be triggered during the synthesis process.… Read the rest


Extreme nonlinear dynamics of driven superconductors

Founding Body: European Community – Marie Skłodowska-Curie
Total grant: € 183k
Principal Investigator: Hector Pablo Ojeda Collado
Other participants: José Lorenzana
Project duration: 2020-2022
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A silver path to a new generation of quantum materials

Founding Body: European Community – Marie Skłodowska-Curie
Total grant: € 171k
Principal Investigator: Maria Navarro Gastiasoro
Other participants: José Lorenzana
Project duration: 2020-2022
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k-statistics approach to epidemiology – Scientific Reports

Antonio Maria Scarfone and co-authors have published The k-statistics approach to epidemiology in Scientific Reports 10, Article number: 19949 (2020)
G. Kaniadakis, M.M. Baldi, T.S. Deisboeck, G.Grisolia, D.T. Hristopulos, A.M. Scarfone, A. Sparavigna, T. Wada, U. Lucia
Keywords: Plague, Pandemics, Epidemics, -Statistics; -deformed Weibull; survival function


A great variety of complex physical, natural and artificial systems are governed by statistical distributions, which often follow a standard exponential function in the bulk, while their tail obeys the Pareto power law.… Read the rest

Dielectric permittivity of aqueous solutions of electrolytes probed by THz time-domain and FTIR spectroscopy – Phys. Lett. A.

A. De Ninno, E. Nikollari, M. Missori and F. Frezza have published Dielectric permittivity of aqueous solutions of electrolytes probed by THz time-domain and FTIR spectroscopy in Physics Letters A.
• The permittivity of water is described in terms of two independent Debye functions.
• The model is also applied to chloride solutions.
• The excess high frequency response is explained without ad hoc corrective terms.… Read the rest

Neuromorphic Computing Waves – PRL

Giulia Marcucci, Davide Pierangeli, and Claudio Conti have published Theory of Neuromorphic Computing by Waves: Machine Learning by Rogue Waves, Dispersive Shocks, and Solitons in Physical Review Letters.

Artificial neural networks with nonlinear waves as a computing reservoir are the subject of the paper in which the universality and the conditions to learn a dataset in terms of output channels and nonlinearity are discussed.… Read the rest

Microgels at Interfaces Behave as 2D Elastic Particles Featuring Reentrant Dynamics – PRX

Fabrizio Camerin, Nicoletta Gnan, José Ruiz-Franco, Andrea Ninarello, Lorenzo Rovigatti, and Emanuela Zaccarelli have published Microgels at Interfaces Behave as 2D Elastic Particles Featuring Reentrant Dynamics

The properties and the structure of colloids—in which particles of one substance are dispersed in another—are determined by the way those particles interact with each other. An easy guess might lead one to say that complex particles possess an equally complex interaction potential.… Read the rest

Communicating sentiment and outlook reverses inaction against collective risks – pnas

Zhen Wang, Marko Jusup, Hao Guo,Lei Shi, Sunčana Geček, Madhur Anand, Matjaž Perc, Chris T. Bauch, Jürgen Kurths, Stefano Boccaletti, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber have published
Communicating sentiment and outlook reverses inaction against collective risks

Collective risks trigger social dilemmas that require balancing selfish interests and common good. One important example is mitigating climate change, wherein without sufficient investments, worldwide negative consequences become increasingly likely.… Read the rest

Cumulative Merging Percolation and the Epidemic Transition of the Susceptible-Infected-Susceptible Model in Networks

Claudio Castellano and Romualdo Pastor-Satorras published this article in Phys. Rev. X 10, 011070 – Published 24 March 2020

Complex networks represent the interaction pattern for many real-world phenomena such as epidemic spreading. The simplest and most fundamental model for the diffusion of infectious diseases without acquired immunity predicts a vanishing epidemic threshold in the limit of large systems. In other words, no matter how small the infectiousness of the disease, there is always a finite fraction of the overall population which is infected for long times.… Read the rest

Alignment of Nonspherical Active Particles in Chaotic Flows – Physical Review Letters

Massimo Cencini has published Alignment of Nonspherical Active Particles in Chaotic Flows in Physical Review Letters.

Active particles, such as motile microorganisms or artificial microswimmers, swim in a surrounding flow, either externally imposed or self-generated. Besides transporting the active particles, the flow velocity change their swimming direction by exerting a shape-dependent torque through the velocity gradients. The complex interplay of flow advection, particle orientation and self-propulsion is fundamental to understand key processes at the crossroad between aquatic ecology, active matter modeling, and nano/micro- technology with application to drug delivery.… Read the rest


Integrated Multimodal Optical and Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Founding Body: Attract – H2020
Total grant: € 100k
Principal Investigator: Silvia Capuani
Other participants: Sapienza University Physics Department
Project duration:
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The microscopic role of deformation in the dynamics of soft colloids published in Nature

Nicoletta Gnan and Emanuela Zaccarelli have published The microscopic role of deformation in the dynamics of soft colloids in Nature Physics.

Soft colloids enable the exploration of states with densities exceeding that of random close packing, but it remains unclear whether softness controls the dynamics under these dense conditions. Experimental studies have reported conflicting results, and numerical studies have so far focused primarily on simple models that allow particles to overlap, but neglect particle deformations.… Read the rest

Quantum Measurement Cooling selected for highlights of PRL

Congratulations go to Paola Verrucchi and the co-authors of Quantum Measurement Cooling, recently published in Physical Review Letters, for having been selected as editor’s suggestion and featured article.

Physics.aps.org dedicates synopsis for the article as well.… Read the rest

Optical networks as complex lasers

A review article in the physics-central, physics-buzz blog has appeared presenting the recent results of G. Giacomelli, S. Lepri (ISC) and C.Trono (IFAC) about the LANER (lasing network):

https://journals.aps.org/pra/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevA.99.023841Read the rest

Mauro Missori awarded a CNR/CACH Bilateral Agreement

Mauro Missori awarded a CNR Bilateral Agreement with the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage (CACH) with the project “Nanoscale degradation indexes of ancient Chinese and Italian papers for conservation & restoration applications”.

The aim of this joint research project is to develop degradation indexes of ancient Chinese and Italian papers for restoration applications. These activities require the use of specific physical and chemical diagnostics technique at the nanoscale suitable for the cellulose-based materials and, in general, for natural polymeric fibers.… Read the rest

A new look at effective interactions between microgel particles – Nature Communications

Maxime J. Bergman, Nicoletta Gnan, Marc Obiols-Rabasa, Janne-Mieke Meijer, Lorenzo Rovigatti, Emanuela Zaccarelli & Peter Schurtenberger
Nature Communications volume 9, Article number: 5039 (2018)

Thermoresponsive microgels find widespread use as colloidal model systems, because their temperature-dependent size allows facile tuning of their volume fraction in situ.
However, an interaction potential unifying their behavior across the entire phase diagram is sorely lacking.… Read the rest


Produzione e Immagazzinamento di Idrogeno in Sistemi Nanostrutturati Grafene/Nichel

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 135k
Principal Investigator: Rosanna Larciprete
Other participants: Roberto Felici (CNR-SPIN), AndreaLiscio (CNR-IMM), Andrea Pugno (Fondazione “E. Amaldi”-ASI), e due ricercatori post-doc da individuare.
Project duration:

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato ai sensi della L.R. 13/08Read the rest


Superconduttori per Imaging Medicale e Aerospaziale ad Alte Prestazioni

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 150k
Principal Investigator: Josè Lorenzana
Other participants: CNR ISC: Lara Benfatto e due ricercatori postdoc da individuare.
CNR IFN: Maria Gabriella Castellano, Giorgio Pettinari, Sara Cibella
Sapienza: Michele Ortolani, Leonetta Baldassarre
INFN: Marco Vignati, Angelo Cruciani
Project duration:

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato ai sensi della L.R.Read the rest

ABC Epatite

Sviluppo di una app per la prevenzione delle epatiti virali e per la consapevolezza dei comportamenti a rischio

Founding Body: Gilead
Total grant: € 40k
Principal Investigator: Francis Allen Farrelly
Other participants:
Project duration: oct. 2018 to oct. 2019
Website: epatite.web.app
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Protein-like dynamical transition in concentrated microgels

Letizia Tavagnacco, Emanuela Zaccarelli and others published Evidence of a low-temperature dynamical transition in concentrated microgels in Science Advances.

A low-temperature dynamical transition has been reported in several proteins. We provide the first observation of a “protein-like” dynamical transition in nonbiological aqueous environments. To this aim, we exploit the popular colloidal system of poly-N-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAM) microgels, extending their investigation to unprecedentedly high concentrations.… Read the rest


Microgel e arte: una nuova tecnologia per la conservazione dei beni cartacei

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 150k
Principal Investigator: Emanuela Zaccarelli
Other participants: CNR ISC: Mauro Missori, Barbara Ruzicka, Roberta Angelini, Nicoletta Gnan
Univ. Tor Vergata: Ester Chiessi, Claudia Mazzuca, Laura Micheli, Olivia Pulci
esterni: Laura Iannuccelli, Silvia Sotgiu, Lorenzo Teodonio (Istituto Centrale per il Restauro e la Conservazione del Patrimonio Archivistico e Librario – ICRCPAL)
Project duration:

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato ai sensi della L.R.Read the rest


Chip microfluidici a membrane asimmetriche per il sorting della motilità spermatica

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: € 150k
Principal Investigator: Andrea Puglisi
Other participants: CNR ISC: Andrea Gnoli, Luca Angelani, Fabio Cecconi, Andrea Baldassarri, Claudio Maggi, e un ricercatore (TD per un anno) da individuare.
Project duration:

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato ai sensi della L.R.Read the rest


Monitoraggio di detriti spaziali basato su stereo-rilevazioni intercontinentali

Founding Body: Lazioinnova – Regione Lazio
Total grant: €150k
Principal Investigator: Andrea Cavagna
Other participants: CNR ISC: Massimo Cencini, Stefania Melillo
Sapienza: Fabio Santoni, Fabrizio Piergentili, Tommaso Cardona
Project duration:

Progetto di Ricerca, finanziato ai sensi della L.R. 13/08Read the rest

Emanuela Zaccarelli awarded a MIUR FARE grant

Emanuela Zaccarelli awarded a MIUR FARE grant with the project SOFTART: Enhancing microgels potentialities: ultrasoftness and cultural heritage applications.

The project builds on the ERC Consolidator project MIMIC and combines theoretical/numerical expertise of the MIMIC team led by Emanuela Zaccarelli with experimental work at CNR ISC carried out by the groups of Barbara Ruzicka, Roberta Angelini, Simona Sennato and Mauro Missori.… Read the rest


Enhancing microgels potentialities: ultrasoftness and cultural heritage applications

Founding Body: MIUR
Total grant: € 145k
Principal Investigator: Emanuela Zaccarelli
Other participants:
Project duration: 2018-2021
Read the rest

Andrea Cavagna wins ERC Advanced Grant

Congratulations to Andrea Cavagna for winning an ERC Advanced Grant (panel PE2) with the project:
Renormalization group approach to the collective behaviour of strongly correlated biological systems (RG.BIO)

Biological systems displaying collective behaviour are characterized by strong spatio-temporal correlations, which partly transcend the multiform diversity of their microscopic details, much as it happens in statistical physics systems close to a critical point.… Read the rest

Flexible and Wearable Metamaterials: new frontiers in biomedical and safety&security applications

Metamaterials are engineered material having periodic structures that exhibit unique properties when they interact with electromagnetic waves in comparison with natural materials. They offer interesting applications throughout the electromagnetic spectrum and are crucial in the Terahertz (THz) frequency band which lies between microwave and infrared and thus invisible to the human eye. This band is a new frontier both for research and technological applications in sectors ranging from astronomy to cultural heritage.… Read the rest

When is a lubricant effective?

A plate shearing an interstitial granular medium and driven by an always ongoing spring feels less fricion when only few layers are present. Adding more layers results in an increase of friction,
nevertheless the plate slides more often. The ease of slipping is not determined by friction alone?


M A Annunziata, A Baldassarri, F Dalton, A Petri and G Pontuale, Increasing ‘ease of sliding’ also increases friction: when is a lubricant effective?Read the rest

Anderson localization

We have numerically studied the Anderson localization (AL) in 3D disordered systems, where its experimental demonstration is particularly tricky because of the restrictive Ioffe-Regel criterion. We employ an ab initio approach by using a finite difference time domain (FDTD) code in order to simulate a time-of-flight experiment to demonstrate the optical AL in micron-sized samples.

We also used the FDTD code to investigate the effect of disorder on the optomechanical forces.… Read the rest

Topological Laser

The cascade of resonant PT-symmetric topological structures is shown to emit laser light with a frequency comb spectrum. We consider optically active topological lattices supporting edge modes at regularly spaced frequencies. When the amplified resonances in the PT-broken regime match the edge modes of the topological gratings, we predict the emission of discrete laser lines. A proper design enables the engineering of the spectral features for specific applications.… Read the rest

NAR: Energetic funnel facilitates facilitated diffusion

Massimo Cencini has published Energetic funnel facilitates facilitated diffusion in Nucleic Acid Research.

Gene transcription is regulated by proteins – Transcription Factors (TFs) – that by binding to short target sequences are able to promote or impede the binding of RNA-Polymerase (RNAP) and, consequently, activate or repress tran-
scription. Fast and accurate control of gene expression is crucial for many biological functions, and relies on the ability of TFs to rapidly find their transcription factor binding site (TFBS) among a multitude of competing DNA sequences,
and to establish with it a stable complex.… Read the rest

Observation of replica symmetry breaking in disordered nonlinear wave propagation

Davide Pierangeli, Andrea Tavani, Fabrizio Di Mei, Aharon J. Agranat, Claudio Conti & Eugenio DelRe have published an article Observation of replica symmetry breaking in disordered nonlinear wave propagation in nature communications.
A landmark of statistical mechanics, spin-glass theory describes critical phenomena in disordered systems that range from condensed matter to biophysics and social dynamics. The most fascinating concept is the breaking of replica symmetry: identical copies of the randomly interacting system that manifest completely different dynamics.… Read the rest

PRX: Relating Topological Determinants of Complex Networks to Their Spectral Properties: Structural and Dynamical Effects

Claudio Castellano has published Relating Topological Determinants of Complex Networks to Their Spectral Properties: Structural and Dynamical Effects in Physical Review X.

In many social and biological systems, the pattern of interactions is described by complex networks—mathematical constructions composed of points (vertices) representing individuals, joined by lines (edges), standing for pairwise interactions between them. These structures are important because they affect the behavior of the dynamical processes they mediate.… Read the rest

Macromolecules Editors’ Choice: In Silico Synthesis of Microgel Particles

Congratulations to Nicoletta Gnan, Lorenzo Rovigatti, Maxime Bergman and Emanuela Zaccarelli whose article In Silico Synthesis of Microgel Particles has been selected as editor’s choice in Macromolecules.… Read the rest

Gaussian, non Gaussian and Anomalous diffusion to improve medical diagnosis

In the biomedical field, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance (DMR) images provide a measure of water proton displacements by probing motion on the mesoscopic length scale (around 10-20 µm), which is orders of magnitude smaller than the macroscopic MR resolution (typically 1-2 millimetres for clinical MR scanners).

Therefore, independently of image resolution (which is linked to the hardware of the NMR scanner) we can obtain microstructural information of human tissue at the mesoscopic length scale.… Read the rest

Nonequilibrium statistical physics: A modern perspective (book)

Paolo Politi and Roberto Livi have published a book:
Nonequilibrium statistical physics: A modern perspective.
Statistical mechanics has been proven to be successful at describing physical systems at thermodynamic equilibrium. Since most natural phenomena occur in nonequilibrium conditions, the present challenge is to find suitable physical approaches for such conditions: this book provides a pedagogical pathway that explores various perspectives.… Read the rest

EPL Editor’s Choice: Effective mobility and diffusivity in coarsening processes

Congratulations to Paolo Politi whose letter Effective mobility and diffusivity in coarsening processes has been selected as editor’s choice in Europhysics Letters.… Read the rest


Out-of-equilibrium nanophotonics

Founding Body: H2020 – Marie Curie Fellowship (Andrea Marini)
Total grant: € 170k
Principal Investigator: Andrea Marini
Other participants: Claudio Conti
Project duration: 2017-2019
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Economic Fitness: Evolving Economic Complexity for Development

See also A Better Way to Make Economic Forecasts

Il 14 settembre alla Banca Mondiale di Washington
Questo evento è totalmente dedicato ai risultati e alle prospettive della collaborazione
tra il gruppo della Sapienza (Fisica) e dell’Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi del CNR,
coordinato dal Prof. Luciano Pietronero, con la World Bank.
Economic Fitness (EF) consiste in un nuovo paradigma sviluppato dal gruppo di
Pietronero in cui si descrivono le economie come processi evolutivi di ecosistemi di
tecnologie e infrastrutture industriali e finanziarie che sono globalmente
interconnesse.… Read the rest


Accordo di collaborazione

Founding Body: Centro di Ricerca di Sapienza HYDRO-ECO Idrogeno e Energie Alternative
Total grant: € 43k
Principal Investigator: Annalisa Paolone
Other participants: Oriele Palumbo
Project duration: 2016-2018
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Super Top

Topological Phases of Matter in 2D Superconducting materials

Founding Body: Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Lara Benfatto
Other participants:
Project duration: 2017-2019
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Antitubercular drug-loaded multi-liposomes vectors as innovative combinatorial therapy for pulmonary tuberculosis

Founding Body: Phospholipid Research Center, Heidelberg
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Simona Sennato
Other participants:
Project duration: 2017-2018
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Dynamic scaling in natural swarms – Nature Physics

Andrea Cavagna, Daniele Conti, Chiara Creato, Lorenzo Del Castello, Irene Giardina, Tomas S. Grigera, Stefania Melillo, Leonardo Parisi & Massimiliano Viale have published an article on the collective behaviour in biological systems which presents theoretical challenges beyond the borders of classical statistical physics.… Read the rest

The LANER: optical networks as complex lasers

Complex Active Optical Networks as a New Laser Concept by Stefano Lepri, Cosimo Trono and Giovanni Giacomelli has been published in Physical Review Letters.

The introduction of one or more active sections in a complex network may lead to laser emission. We call this system LANER (lasing network). As in the usual laser, when the gains are sufficiently high coherent emission is produced; in this case, the full network becomes a complicated, multipath and multigain cavity for the optical field.… Read the rest

How to build a quantum Newton’s cradle

A quantum analogue of the popular “Newton’s cradle” toy has been proposed by a duo of physicists in Italy. Like momentum transferred in the toy, the team argues that it should be possible to achieve the nearly perfect transmission of a quantum wavefunction along a line of ultracold atoms in a 1D Bose–Einstein condensate. According to the pair, the work could help develop quantum-information systems that achieve high-quality wave transmission […]

read articleRead the rest

Newton cradle

Newton’s cradle (Fig. 1) is a valuable paradigm of how physical mechanisms are concealed into nature. It is a device based on classical mechanics that demonstrates the conservation of momentum and energy. On the other hand, Quantum Mechanics has been shown to be one of most prolific sources of unexpected and hard-to-understand phenomena. Therefore, achieving a machine which is a paradigm for the quantum nature of a system is an engrossing challenge.… Read the rest

The Nobel laureate Karplus has cited Luccioli

The 2013 Nobel laureate in Chemistry Prof Martin Karplus has cited in one publication of 2010:


a publication by

Luccioli, Imparato, Torcini, 
“Free energy landscape of mechanically unfolded model proteins: extended Jarzinsky versus inherent structure reconstruction”
Phys. Rev. E. 78 (2008) 031907

reporting the results of the PhD Thesi of Dr Stefano Luccioli. You can download the related pdf by clicking on the link here below.… Read the rest

Meccanica statistica di non equilibrio

Meccanica statistica di non equilibrio: trasporto e diffusione in sistemi complessi

Relatore: Stefano Lepri

Gli argomenti di tesi sono di tipo teorico e riguardano il comportamento di sistemi fuori equilibrio. Una preparazione di base in meccanica statistica e’ essenziale. La conoscenza di un linguaggio di programmazione per lo sviluppo di codici di simulazione e’ auspicabile.


Diffusione anomala

Il moto di una particella soggetta a forze aleatorie e’ descritto dalle leggi del moto browniano (diffusione).… Read the rest

Anomalous Heat Transport in Low Dimensions

Many phenomena in nature occur under nonequilibrium stationary conditions. For instance, an electric current is obtained by applying an electric field along a conductor or heat is transported when a temperature gradient is established between two boundaries of a material. Despite their ubiquiteness and importance in everyday life many aspects of such phenomena are still under debate in the theoretical physics community.

Read the rest

Asymmetric Wave Transport in Nonlinear System

Deterministic chaos, fractal structures and other beautiful phenomena are manifestations of the nonlinear character of forces which govern our world. Besides a revolutionary change in our approach to predictability, these discoveries had great impact on technological applications.  Among the most fascinating ones is  the possibility to control energy flows by tuning nonlinear features of complex materials.

In the context of wave propagation trough nonlinear media, the simplest form of control would be to devise a “wave diode”  in which electromagnetic or elastic waves are transmitted differently along two opposite propagation directions.… Read the rest

Forthcoming book on Nonequilibrium Statistical Physics

Roberto Livi and Paolo Politi
Nonequilibrium Statistical Physics – A modern perspective
(Cambridge University Press, 2017)


Statistical mechanics has been proven to be successful at describing physical systems at thermodynamic equilibrium.  Since most natural phenomena occur in nonequilibrium conditions, the present challenge is to find suitable physical approaches for such conditions: this book provides a pedagogical pathway that explores various perspectives.… Read the rest

Molecole magnetiche su grafene per la spintronica

Una ricerca, svolta in collaborazione fra fisici e chimici italiani, tedeschi e spagnoli, mostra che è possibile realizzare nano-sistemi ibridi depositando magneti molecolari su grafene. L’interazione fra gli spin dei magneti molecolari e il gas bidimensionale di elettroni del grafene modifica profondamente la dinamica quantistica degli spin molecolari. Ciò apre la strada al controllo dello spin mediante campi elettrici nei nano-dispositivi per la spintronica (elettronica di spin) basati sul grafene.… Read the rest

Review on Spatio-temporal phenomena in complex systems with time delays

Serhiy Yanchuk and Giovanni Giacomelli published a topical review in Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical.

Real-world systems can be strongly influenced by time delays occurring in self-coupling interactions, due to unavoidable finite signal propagation velocities. When the delays become significantly long, complicated high-dimensional phenomena appear and a simple extension of the methods employed in low-dimensional dynamical systems is not feasible.… Read the rest

Rivelazione di nanoanticorpi in tracce con tecniche di risonanza plasmonica di superficie

Bruno Tiribilli 1, Giancarlo Margheri 1, Federica Pierucci 2 , Ambra Vestri 2, Elisabetta Meacci 2
1 Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi, del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino (FI).
2 Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche Sperimentali e Cliniche “Mario Serio”, Università di Firenze, Viale G B Morgagni  50, 50134 Firenze.

Finalità del progetto

Scopo finale del progetto è l’applicazione della tecnica Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) alla rivelazione di  un particolare nanoanticorpo, specifico per la  sfingosina-1-fosfato (S1P), un importante agente in diverse vie metaboliche, ad esempio nel citoplasma cellulare, dove è stata dimostrata la sua funzione di regolazione dei flussi di ioni Ca2+.… Read the rest

New porous water ice metastable at atmospheric pressure obtained by emptying a hydrogen-filled ice

Leonardo del Rosso 1,2, Milva Celli 1 & Lorenzo Ulivi

The properties of some forms of water ice reserve still intriguing surprises. Besides the several stable or metastable phases of pure ice, solid mixtures of water with gases are precursors of other ices, as in some cases they may be emptied, leaving a metastable hydrogen-bound water structure. We present here the first characterization of a new form of ice, obtained from the crystalline solid compound of water and molecular hydrogen called C0-structure filled ice.… Read the rest

MOVEMENT ECOLOGY OF SEABIRDS: a mechanistic explanation of their incredible navigation ability

LÉVY 2.0

Seabirds can fly for many days and nights across featureless oceans to their preferred feeding locations and then fly back to their nests without getting lost. How they do this has long been a mystery. Now through a careful analysis of their flight patterns, researchers have shown that seabirds are following their noses and navigate using an “odour map” – a mental patchwork picture of local odours.… Read the rest

The Bulgarian red deer project

Two researches of the ISC (Stefano Focardi and Sonia Lombardi), together with Federico Morimando (Studio Proeco) have visited dr. Atidzhe Ahmed and Prof. Peter Genov, colleagues at the Institute of biodiversity and ecosystems research of the Bulgarian academy of sciences (IBER-BAS). The aim of the trip was to design a new project on the movement ecology of the red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Bulgaria.… Read the rest

Biomimetic antimicrobial cloak by graphene-oxide agar hydrogel

Massimiliano Papi and others published a scientific report on an antibacterial cloak produced by laser printing graphene oxide hydrogels mimicking the Cancer Pagurus carapace.… Read the rest

The soft side of hard matter

Soft condensed matter is characterized by gigantic responses to  external perturbations which is the reason why these systems are extremely useful for applications, like liquid crystals in our cell phones displays. In contrast, hard condensed matter a.k.a. solids respond more weakly to external perturbations but present an enormous richness of interesting phases like metallic, insulating,  magnetic, superconducting, ferroelectric,  charge order, etc.  … Read the rest


Collective Response from Individual Behaviour in Groups and Ecosystems

Founding Body: ERANET
Total grant: € 70k
Principal Investigator: Andrea Cavagna
Other participants:
Project duration: 2017-2019
Read the rest

Differential and absolute negative mobility in steady laminar flows

  Nonlinear response in out-of-equilibrium systems can show counter-intuitive behaviors, for instance cases where the force increases but the response decreases (negative differential mobility). Sometimes the response crosses zero and changes sign with respect to the force (absolute negative mobility). In classical physics this is usually observed within complicate models with obstacles and traps. We have demonstrated such complex non-linear phenomena in a much simpler and realistic system, ie.… Read the rest

Thermal convection in granular gases with dissipative lateral walls

Convection in molecular fluids is provided by the competition between gravity and an adverse temperature gradient (two thermostats, the hotter below, the colder above). In a granular gas it can be achieved by a single thermostat at the base, for instance a vibrating piston. Energy dissipation provides the “second thermostat” which spontaneously forms gradient and may stabilize a convective state. Here we have demonstrated that even the simple dissipation in the collision between grains and lateral walls is sufficient to trigger convection, without any critical threshold.… Read the rest

Heat, temperature and Clausius inequality in a model for active brownian particles

Living matter at the microscale, many kinds of cells, bacteria and other organisms, self-propel through a viscous fluid which acts as a thermal bath, dissipating the energy provided by the internal motor (pseudopoda, flagella, etc.). This energetic balance is ruled by non-equilibrium thermodynamics, as for heat engines. In this theoretical work we have given a mesoscopic description of this process, which allows to measure a local heat dissipation and a local non-equilibrium temperature (associated to self-propulsion and to the forces driving the active particle) which together provide a definition of active entropy production which satisfies the Clausius inequality.… Read the rest

Mechanism of self-propulsion in 3D-printed active granular particles



 We have reproduced the self propulsion of bacteria and animals with 3d-printed “active granular particles”. Those small artificial insects walk on a rough vibrated plate because of a subtle interplay between material elastic properties and solid-on-solid friction. The advantage of 3d-printed objects is in the possibility to tune certain features (here the inclination of “legs”) in order to verify theoretical predictions and establish an optimal shape for running.… Read the rest


Piattaforma Apprendimento: Laboratorio Machine learning per le Antichità

Founding Body: Sm@rtINFRA – Sshch – Infrastrutture Integrate Intelligenti per l’ecosistema dei dati delle Scienze Sociali, Umane e del Patrimonio Culturale
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Francis Allen Farrelly
Other participants:
Project duration: 2016
Read the rest


Generalized Uncertainty Principle and the Photons

Founding Body: Templeton Foundation
Total grant: € 188k
Principal Investigator: Claudio Conti
Other participants:
Project duration: 2016-2018
Read the rest


Modeling microgels: from microscopic design to macroscopic description

Founding Body: European Research Council – ERC Consolidator Grant
Total grant: € 1300k
Principal Investigator: Emanuela Zaccarelli
Other participants:
Project duration: 2016-2021
Read the rest


Probing Complex Dynamical Structures in Three Dimensions

Founding Body: European Research Council – ERC Proof of Concept
Total grant: € 150k
Principal Investigator: Irene Giardina
Other participants:
Project duration: 2016-2018
Read the rest

Physical realization of the Glauber quantum oscillator

More than 30 years ago, Glauber theorized the existence of quantum systems to explain the link between the reversible microscopic and irreversible macroscopic scale. The formulation of such model is based on the so-called “rigged Hilbert space” and include irreversibility as a fundamental principle through the introduction of an inverted harmonic oscillator describing quantum amplifier.
The standard quantum mechanics does not forbid time-travel.… Read the rest

Self-Sustained Density Oscillations of Swimming Bacteria Confined in Microchambers

Luca Angelani’s paper on Self-Sustained Density Oscillations of Swimming Bacteria Confined in Microchambers reporting the emergence of spontaneous density oscillations of bacteria confined in microchambers connected by thin channels, has been selected for the Cover of Physical Review Letters.

M. Paoluzzi, R. Di Leonardo, and L. Angelani (Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 188303, 2015)

Read the rest

Cages and anomalous diffusion in vibrated dense granular media

Caging is the typical microscopic phenomenon that “traps” molecules in a liquid at low temperature. The usual Brownian Motion of a tracer experiences a temporary “dynamical arrest” which eventually is broken restoring normal diffusion. In this work we have shown that at intermediate densities and temperature the same phenomenon occurs in granular liquids. At large densities and lower temperatures the late normal diffusion is replaced with superdiffusion.… Read the rest


Epidemic processes have accumulated over the years a vast amount of research which is coherently reviewed in a comprehensive manner by Claudio Castellano together with Romualdo Pastor-Satorras, Piet Van Mieghem, and Alessandro Vespignani in an article published in Epidemic processes in complex networks Reviews of Modern Physics 87, 925 (31 August 2015)… Read the rest

Olfactory Navigation

Pelagic seabirds rely on olfactory maps for oceanic navigation

Seabirds can fly for days across featureless oceans to their preferred feeding locations and then fly back to their nests without getting lost. How they do this has long been a mystery. Now through a careful analysis of their flight patterns, researchers have shown that seabirds navigate using an “odour map”. It seems likely that such maps are common place in the animal kingdom having a role in movements like migrations and finding food.Read the rest

Replica Symmetry Breaking

Experimental evidence of replica symmetry breaking in random lasers

Spin-glass theory is one of the leading paradigms of complex physics and describes condensed matter, neural networks and biological systems, ultracold atoms, random photonics and many other research fields.

According to this theory, identical systems under identical conditions may reach different states. This effect is known as replica symmetry breaking and is revealed by the shape of the probability distribution function of an order parameter named the Parisi overlap.… Read the rest

Dynamic Coarsening

Crystal surfaces led out of equilibrium by a growth or erosion process may undergo morphological instabilities and develop distinct structures: ondulations, mounds or pyramids, bunches of steps, ripples.

Emergent pattern may increase in size with time by means of a coarsening process which may continue forever or stop at some relevant length scale.

Paolo Politi’s group has studied the dynamics for three different types of instabilities, stressing the main physical ingredients: kinetic, energetic and athermal instabilities.… Read the rest

Silent Flocks

A paper on the collective behaviour of bird flocks, in which a spin wave model is brought to the continuous limit as in fluid elements of a large hydrodynamic system, has been published in Physical Review Letters and it has been the subject of a synopsis in the APS magazine Physics.

Both spin and density waves can propagate throughout flocks, but in some cases their contributions are quickly damped.… Read the rest


Unfolding the dynamics of creativity, novelties and innovation

Founding Body: John Templeton Foundation
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Vito Domenico Pietro Servedio
Other participants: Sapienza University & Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI) in Turin
Project duration: 2014-2017
Website: http://www.kreyon.net/
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Growth And Innovation Policy-modelling: Applying Next Generation Tools, Data, And Economic Complexity Ideas

Founding Body: European Commission FP7-ICT-2013-10 (Challenge 5.4 for Governance and Policy Modelling)
Total grant: € 2000k
Principal Investigator: Luciano Pietronero & Andrea Gabrielli
Other participants: Université de Fribourg (CH), London Institute for Mathematical Sciences – LIMS (London, UK), Institute for the New Economic Thinking -INET- at the Oxford Martin School (UK), Hangzhou Normal University (Cina).
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Crisis Lab, a novel strategic research project financed by Italian Government (Progetti di Interesse CNR)

Founding Body: Italian Government (Progetti di Interesse CNR)
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Luciano Pietronero
Other participants: IMT – Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca (Italy)
Project duration: 2012-2015
Website: www.crisislab.it
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Ionic liquids: a spectroscopic investigation

Ionic liquids (IL) are salts formed by organic cations, like imidazolium, pyrrolidinium, ammonium or alkyl phosphonium, and organic/inorganic anions, like hexafluorophosphate, tetrafluoroborate, triflate, dicyanamide, tetracyanamethanide or bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (TFSI). The presence of such bulky and asymmetric ions decreases the ion-ion interactions and lowers the melting point with respect to more classical salts, reaching values as low as -20°C.

ILs posses many peculiar properties, such as an extremely low vapor pressure, a high ionic conductivity, a high thermal, chemical and electrochemical stability, a high thermal capacity and a good solvent capability.… Read the rest

Solid state hydrogen storage

Hydrogen is attracting renewed interest as an energy carrier, due to the necessity of finding ecological energy media which may decrease the environmental pollution from fossil fuels. Hydrogen storage represents a nodal point for the development of a hydrogen economy.

Of the three possible ways to store hydrogen, i.e. as high pressure gas, as a liquid (~20 K at atmospheric pressure), or as hydrides in solids, the latter one appears as the most promising, due to the high mass and volume density and safety.… Read the rest


Versatile optomechANical GRaphene Device for bio-tissue engineering

Founding Body: European Research Council – ERC-POC – Proof of Concept Grant
Total grant: € 150k
Principal Investigator: Claudio Conti
Other participants:
Project duration: 2015-2016
Website: cordis
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Rules and Exceptions in Language Dynamics

In all languages, rules have exceptions in the form of irregularities. Since rules make a language efficient, the persistence of irregularity is an anomaly. How language systems become rule governed, how and why they sustain exceptions to rules? Frequent words are unlikely to change over time (e.g., frequent verbs tend to maintain an irregular past tense form). What is the role of frequency in maintaining exceptions to rules?… Read the rest

Mixing by degree in signed social networks

Social networks have empirically been found to be assortative (i.e., the degree of neighboring nodes are positively correlated), while other networks (e.g., technological, biological) show the opposite pattern (disassortative). Why is that so?
How do these patterns change in signed networks, where relations indicate trust/distrust, friendship/enmity? Do individuals who dislike many others tend to dislike each other, or do they dislike those who dislike only very few others?… Read the rest

Dynamics of Virus-Host interaction

In the case of fast mutating viruses (e.g., Influenza virus), the virus-host interaction is driven by cross-immunity: after being infected by a strain, the host acquires immunity to a set of other strains antigenically similar to the infecting one (i.e., triggering the same host immune response). The evolutionary dynamics of viruses is therefore ruled by their relative antigenic distance. Can we understand the non trivial relation between antigenic and genetic distance?… Read the rest

Fractures and crack propagation

The intermittent and self-similar fluctuations displayed by a slow crack during the propagation in a heterogeneous medium can be quantitatively described by an extension of a classical statistical model for fracture. The model yields the correct dynamical and morphological scaling, and allows to demonstrate that the scale invariance originates from the presence of a non-equilibrium, reversible, critical transition which, in the presence of dissipation, gives rise to self-organized critical behaviour.… Read the rest

Cultural Heritage

see Mauro MissoriRead the rest

Complex Networks

see SapienzaRead the rest

Economic Complexity

see Crisis LabRead the rest

Computational Neuroscience

Computational neuroscience is the study of brain function in terms of the information processing properties of the structures forming the nervous system. It is an interdisciplinary science that links the diverse fields of Neuroscience, Cognitive science and Psychology with Physics, Mathematics, and Engineering.

The physiology and dynamics of functional and biologically realistic neurons within neural systems are the principal focus of computational neuroscience.… Read the rest

Soft Matter

see Soft MatterRead the rest

HyperSpectral Imaging

The hyperspectral confocal reflection (HCR) microscope is an instrument that integrates of optical imaging and spectroscopic methodologies. It is designed for the reflectance spectral image as well as for the morphometric imaging of optical sections of vital tissue samples (in vivo, ex vivo, in vitro) [1,2,3]. Spectral data and images are acquired simultaneously, in an continuum range of wavelengths, from VIS to NIR, with a supercontinuum laser.… Read the rest

Radio 3 Scienza on “Rappresentanza o governabilità”, A. Petri interviewed

Alberto Petri interviewed on “Rappresentanza o governabilità”, RAI ”Radio 3 Scienza”, February 3rd, 2014

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New “smart” gels in soft matter

Founding Body: MIUR PRIN Progetti di ricerca di interesse nazionale
Total grant: € 83k
Principal Investigator: Emanuela Zaccarelli
Other participants:
Project duration: 2014-2017
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Brownian Ratchet in a Thermal Bath Driven by Coulomb Friction

A Brownian Ratchet is a small engine which is conceived to extract work from molecular fluctuations. Examples of Brownian Ratchets occur in the cell, see for instance this nice movie about kinesin.

As well explained by Richard Feynmann, a Brownian Ratchet cannot perform its own task in an equilibrium environment, i.e. the fluctuations feeding energy to the ratchet cannot originate from a single thermal bath, in accordance with the second principle of thermodynamics.… Read the rest

COBBS – Non-biting Midge Experiment

Our search for midge swarms has taken us to many of the public parks within Rome including Riserva Naturale Valle dell’Aniene, Villa Paganini, Villa Torlonia, Parco dell’Acquedotto, Villa Ada, Laghetto dell’EUR and Ponte Tazio. Basically any place with an aquatic or semiaquatic habitat (the larval stage requires water for development) is where midges can be found. Our experimental setup is similar to that of the flocking experiment except that our baseline distance shrinks from 25 m down to approximately 5 – 8 m (depending on our distance to the swarm).… Read the rest


Anisotropies and non equilibrium in soft matter: routes to the self assembly of advanced material

Founding Body: MIUR FIRB
Total grant: € 670k
Principal Investigator: Emanuela Zaccarelli
Other participants:
Project duration: 2013-2017
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Strain, Lattice, Interactions and Entanglement in novel Two-Dimensional materials

Founding Body: Marie Curie -CIG – Support for training and career development of researcher (CIG)
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Emmanuele Cappelluti
Other participants:
Project duration: 2013-2016
Website: cordis
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Shaken Granular Lasers


A random laser is usually obtained pumping light through a disordered medium. The dynamics of light through a heterogeneous configuration of scatterers and cavities provides emitted spectra with random and fluctuating peaks which have a wide range of applications and are nowadays subject to an intense theoretical activity. In this work we have added a new flavour to the idea of random lasers, replacing the usually static disordered medium with a vibrofluidized granular material.… Read the rest


Foundational Research on MULTIlevel comPLEX networks and systems

Founding Body: FP7-ICT-2011-8 CP – Collaborative project
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Guido Caldarelli
Other participants:
Project duration: 2012-2016
Website: cordis
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DRUST collaborative research project (CRP)

Founding Body: European Science Foundation
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Guenther Knoblich
Other participants: Claudio Castellano
Project duration: 2012-2014
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Neural Engineering Transformative Technologies

Founding Body: European Community – Marie Curie ITN Project
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Alessandro Torcini
Other participants: CNR ISC Thomas Kreuz
Project duration: 2012-2016
Website: cordis
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Quasi 2D granular dynamics

4000 spheres of steel (diameter 2mm) are deposited on a horizontal rough plate (200mm diameter, only a square 100mm X 100mm is shown) and are put in motion by vertical vibration of the plate (sinusoidal shaking, amplitude 0.7mm, frequency 200Hz). The resulting motion, on the plane, is a composition of random sliding on the plate and inelastic collisions among particles. This is a “non-equilibrium” Brownian motion.… Read the rest

Empty Liquids and Equilibrium Gels in a Colloidal Clay

CNR researchers (CNR-ISC and CNR-IPCF) in collaboration with University La Sapienza and ESRF (Grenoble) have observed a new kind of extremely light and stable gel in a suspension of colloidal clay. The so-called equilibrium gel, predicted 4 years ago by theoretical calculations by members of the same research team for a simplified model[1], could lead to improved drug-delivery systems and other novel microscopic devices.… Read the rest

Soft matter

The term “soft matter” refers to a very large class of materials, whose common characteristic is that they are composed of mesoscopic particles, i.e. particles with typical sizes ranging from 1 nm to a few microns. These particles are normally dispersed in a solvent, whose molecules are much smaller in size (typically of atomic dimensions). In addition, the solution may contain other small objects, such as polymeric chains, salt ions, etc.… Read the rest

Volume collapse transition in Ce

Crystalline Ce has a remarkable phase diagram in that is the solid state analogue of a Van der Walls system with a line of discontinuous transitions ending at a critical point.

The two phases alpha and gamma have the same cubic symmetry and differ only on density just like water and vapor but in the solid state!.

However unlike water and vapor the critical exponents close to the critical point are not three dimensional Ising critical exponents, as one would naively guess from symmetries, but  classical (Gaussian) exponents.… Read the rest

Granular Dynamics Laboratory

Since July 2010, the Granular Dynamics Laboratory is operative – originally in room “010” and (from november 2012) –  in room “012” (ground floor of Fermi Building of the Physics Department) at the Sapienza unit of ISC. The laboratory includes two main experimental setups:


  1. Vertical vibration (2d and 3d granular experiments): an electrodynamic shaker LDS V455, which can reach a maximum acceleration of 105g, powered by a PA1000L power amplifier.
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Granular Phases

Steel spheres move on a plate. The “thermostat ” is a vibrating wall, following a sine law with frequency 20 Hz . Weak gravity (the plate has a small angle of inclination) draws the spheres toward the vibrating wall. In 5 minutes, slowly increasing the amplitude, the many “phases” of a granular material are explored, from an almost perfect crystal, through several liquid/turbulent/convective regimes, up to a gas-solid coexistence.… Read the rest


New density functionals for the electronic structure of correlated materials

Founding Body: Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: José Lorenzana
Other participants:
Project duration: 2010-2013
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Forecasting Financial Crises

Founding Body: European Union (FET Open)
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Guido Caldarelli
Other participants: University of Ancona, ETH Zurich, University of Oxford, City University, Barcelona Media Lab, ECB
Project duration: 2010-2013
Website: www.focproject.eu
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Hydrides as innovative anodes for lithium batteries

Founding Body: MIUR FIRB
Total grant: € 19k
Principal Investigator: Sergio Brutti & Annalisa Paolone
Other participants:
Project duration: 2010-2017
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Joint Italy-Israel Neural Lab

Founding Body: Ministero degli Affari Esteri (MAE)
Total grant: € k
Principal Investigator: Alessandro Torcini
Other participants: CNR ISC Thomas Kreuz
Project duration: 2010-2020
Website: web site
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Synchronization of extended systems

Synchronization is a long known phenomenon dating back to Huygens experiments who observed that suspending two pendula “…in the same wooden beam, the motions of each pendulum in opposite swings were so much in agreement that they never receded the least bit from each other and the sound of each was always heard simultaneously“. In spite of the early discovery, the phenomenon was fully understood much later with the experiments and theoretical analysis of E.… Read the rest


Three-dimensional reconstruction of individual trajectories within bird flocks and insect swarms

Founding Body: AirForce Office for Scientific Research – USA
Total grant: $ 400k
Principal Investigator: Andrea Cavagna
Other participants:
Project duration: 2010-2014
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From self-organized animal groups to distributed artificial swarms: exporting natural behavioural rules to mobile robotics

Founding Body: Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Seed Project 2009
Total grant: € 650k
Principal Investigator: Irene Giardina
Other participants:
Project duration: 2010-2013
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Empirical analysis and theoretical modelling of self-organized collective behaviour in three-dimensions: from insect swarms and bird flocks to new schemes of distributed coordination

Founding Body: European Research Council – ERC Starting Grant 2010
Total grant: € 1100k
Principal Investigator: Irene Giardina
Other participants:
Project duration: 2010-2015
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Granular fluids to explore non-equilibrium statistical mechanics

Founding Body: MIUR, Italy (reserved to selected ERC-Starting Grants 2007)
Total grant: € 1200k
Principal Investigator: Andrea Puglisi
Other participants:
Project duration: 2009-2014
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Statistical physics modeling of social dynamics

In recent years it has become widely recognized that many large-scale phenomena observed in social systems are the “macroscopic” complex effect of the “microscopic” simple behavior of a large number of interacting agents. This has led social scientists to the introduction of elementary models of social behavior (cellular automata, agent-based models). Many of these models are somehow relatives of models that have been introduced in modern traditional statistical physics, and it is natural to approach them using the same concepts and tools that have been successfully applied in physics.… Read the rest

Regularities and universality in large-scale social phenomena

In social phenomena every individual interacts with a limited number of peers, usually negligible as compared with the total number of people in the system. In spite of that, human societies are characterized by stunning global regularities. There are transitions from disorder to order, like the spontaneous emergence of a common language/culture or the creation of consensus about a specific topic.… Read the rest

Fractal analysis of planetary topographies

There exists an overwhelming diversity of landscapes on Earth. A cornerstone of modern geomorphology came with the realization that all the different features of the terrestrial surface result from the accumulated effect of current geological agents [Lyell, 1830]. This principle established for the first time a qualitative relationship between pattern and process in geology.
More than one century later, fractal geometry gave a theoretical framework able to provide quantitative measures for the patterns of landscapes, which were identified in a first approximation as self-similar, and triggered the research on mechanistic and theoretical models to identify the underlying constructive rules responsible for their appearance.… Read the rest

Polarons in strongly correlated systems

In system with strong electron-phonon interaction, the carriers loose mobility, ultimately acquiring polaronic character. A polaron is a state in which the phonon and electron degrees of freedom are strongly entangled, and the presence of an electron is associated to a finite lattice distortion, which in turn bind

Phonon distribution function P(n) and magnetic polaron size Lp as function of the exchange coupling J, signalizing the formation of the spin/lattice polaron

s the electron leading to the so-called self-trapping effect.… Read the rest

GZIP: Galaxy morphology classification by zip algorithm

Even before the identification of galaxies as stellar systems, astronomers have classified them based on their visual appearance. Galaxies in the local universe can organized in a sequence of morphologies (e.g. the Hubble sequence) which must be the result of the specific processes that originated them.
The relative roles over cosmic time of processes such as the merging of dark matter haloes, dissipation, starburst, feedback, active galactic nuclei (AGN) activity, etc.,… Read the rest

Tidal tail characterization


A globular cluster (GC) is a spherical collection of stars that orbits a galactic core as a satellite.
Globular clusters are very tightly bound by gravity, which gives them their spherical shapes and relatively high stellar densities toward their centers. The name of this category of star cluster is derived from the Latin globulus—a small sphere. Globular clusters are fairly common; there are about 158 currently known globular clusters in the Milky Way, with perhaps 10–20 more undiscovered.… Read the rest

Spatially correlated random walks and turbulence

The wide applicability of the random walks (RW) to natural phenomena relies just on the possibility to introduce appropriate generalizations on the probabilistic nature of displacements. A straightforward generalization is realized by assuming correlations in displacements to obtain the so called correlated random walks (CRW).

This possibility extends also to a set of particles distributed in space leading to the definition of spatially correlated random walks.… Read the rest

Granular Gases to explore Non-Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics

How do properties of molecular trajectories reflect on large scale transport and relaxation properties? Is it possible to directly and experimentally verify the Boltzmann’s program, connecting the microscopic level to the macroscopic description? Can we zoom into an out-of-equilibrium fluid and reveal, in the laboratory, its underlying microscopic reversibility? These are some of the questions addressed by the GRANULARCHAOS project, funded by an IDEAS grant (originally selected by ERC and then funded by italian FIRB) for five years.… Read the rest

Dynamics of self-gravitating systems

A System with long-range interactions is characterized by an inter-particle potential which decays at large distances with a power law exponent which is smaller than the dimension of the embedding space. Classical examples include for instance: self-gravitating systems, unscreened Coulomb systems, ion beams, wave-particle systems of relevance to plasma physics and others.

The behaviour of the above mentioned systems is interesting both from the point of view of stable (or metastable) states, because equilibrium statistical mechanics shows new types of phase transitions and cases of ensemble inequivalence, and from the dynamical point of view, because they display peculiar fast relaxation followed by the formation of quasi-stationary states that are related to the underlying Vlasov-like equation.… Read the rest

Matter density fields in the early universe

The most prominent feature of the initial conditions of the matter spatial distribution in the early universe, in standard theoretical models, derived from inflationary mechanisms, is that matter density field presents on large scale super-homogeneous features. This means the following. If one considers the paradigm of uniform distributions, the Poisson process where particles are placed completely randomly in space, the mass fluctuations in a sphere of radius R growths as the volume of the sphere.… Read the rest

Total gravitational force and the classification of long range interactions

In equilibrium statistical mechanics the distinction between short and long range interactions is given by the integrability or not of the pair potential. However for what concerns only the clustering dynamics of a particle distribution under the effect of an attractive pair interaction, it seems by recent works that the distinction is given by the integrability of the pair force instead of the potential.… Read the rest

Graphene and carbon-based new materials

The investigation of the electronic properties of graphene (single hexagonal layer of carbon atoms) has attracted a renewed interest after the development of recent techniques which permit to produce and manage single-layer (and also multilayer) samples of this materials. Nowadays truly atomic single-layer isolated samples are available as well as epitaxially grown graphene on substrates.

Fig. 1: electronic structure of graphene and Dirac-like dispersionA large interest, for its potential technological applications, concerns the investigation of optical and transport properties of both single-layer and multi-layered graphene, which are dominated by its so-called relativistic Dirac-like electronic structure (see Figure on the right).

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Role of microscopic chaos to macroscopic transport

The discovery that simple deterministic nonlinear systems could display dynamical evolution characterized by a randomness similar to stochastic processes changed very much researchers’ attitude toward determinism and predictability of natural phenomena. Determinstic chaos has been successfully invoked to interpret several irregular behaviors, however its role to the fundaments of statistical physics still remains debated in modern statistical mechanics. In other terms, one is tempted to think that a macroscopic system with chaotic microscopic interactions is more robust with respect to statistical mechanical principles thant the same system with non-chaotic interactions.… Read the rest

Disorder driven non-equilibrium phase transition: the Random field Ising model

In hard magnetic materials, the domain walls movement or even creation is suppressed, and other mechanisms, like domains nucleation and coherent spin rotation enter in the process of magnetization reversal. For these kind of materials a description in terms of spin models is more appropriate. We focused on the non-equilibrium properties of the random field Ising model (RFIM), to describe the competition between quenched disorder and exchange interactions and their effect on the hysteretic behavior.… Read the rest

Systems with multiplicative noise

Problems susceptible to be mathematically represented by stochastic Langevin equations including a multiplicative noise abound not only in physics, but also in biology, ecology, economy, or social sciences. In a broad sense a Langevin equation is said to be multiplicative if the noise amplitude depends on the state variables themselves. In this sense, problems exhibiting absorbing states, i.e. fluctuation-less states in which the system can be trapped, are described by equations whose noise amplitude is proportional to the square-root of the (space and time dependent) activity density, vanishing at the absorbing state.… Read the rest

Competing orders in Iron based superconductors

In January 2008 a new family of superconductors has been discovered with FeAs layers. Iron is a magnetic ion and in traditional superconductors small amounts of magnetic impurities kill superconductivity so an iron based superconductor is at first sight surprising.

Tc has grow rapidly beyond 50K opening a new gate to high-Tc superconductivity. In addition the phase diagram has some similarities with the cuprates which suggest that understanding the superconductors from this new iron age can help to solve the mistery of the supercundoctors from the copper age.… Read the rest