Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy


The CNR research activities will be developed within the Nanoscience Institute (NANO) in the National Enterprise for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology NEST at the Scuola Normale Superiore, the leading Italian higher education institute for physics and exact sciences. In the final part of project part of the research, activities will be developed at the National Institute of Optics (INO). CNR will be the only legal entity involved in the project, CNR-INO and CNR-NANA being two institute attached to CNR.

CNR-NANO at NEST is a research and training centre, where physicists, chemists and biologists investigate scientific issues at the nanoscale. This knowledge is exploited to develop innovative nano-biotechnological tools, nanoelectronic and photonic devices and architectures. With a total staff of 120 people NEST activities address a
rather broad range of research activities that span from semiconductor/superconductor nanostructure design, photonics, growth and experimental investigation to single-molecule studies in live cells and tissues, with a unique close cultural integration of its multidisciplinary teams which is characteristic of nanoscience.

The highlights of the nanophotonics group at CNR-NANO include : internationally leading contributions in the development of the first Terahertz quantum cascade lasers, patented and industrially-licensed, development and implementation of the first nanowire, graphene and related 2D materials THz room- temperature nano-detectors and spin rectifiers, the development of THz near field nanoscopy on 2D nanomaterial and devices and a wealth of seminal contributions in the field of tunable, ultra-narrow, aperiodic and random QC lasers. The combination of the above expertise makes CNR-NANO ideally adapted for its role in this proposal.

The CNR-INO research group is appreciated in the worldwide Optics community thanks to its activity on innovative coherent sources (from near infrared to THz), on high-sensitivity and high-precision spectroscopic techniques, on condensed matter and cold atoms interferometry, superfluidity and entanglement. During all its activity, the CNR-INO group has worked both on the investigation of fundamental physics and on technological applications. Particular attention is generally addressed to nonlinear optical effects, for both investigations in general physics and generation of coherent light, spanning from optical metrology and test of fundamental physical principles, to realization of environmental or industrial sensors for trace gas detection. Within the CNR-INO, the mid-infrared and THz spectroscopy group has pioneered several key aspects for implementation and characterization of highly coherent sources, such as difference frequency generation sources and quantum cascade lasers. Many strategies for frequency stabilization and noise characterization have been implemented and successfully tested for spectroscopic and imaging applications in both spectral regions. In particular, new approaches to coherence characterization, phase-stabilization and application of QCL combs to dual comb spectroscopy have been recently developed.

Within the consortium, CNR will provide its expertise on the development and characterization of TIs and TMDs – based devices, as well as their integration with QCL sources and near field nanoscopy in the frequency range targeted by the project. At the same time, CNR will also provide the first proof-of-principle applications of the FIR sources to metrological-grade spectroscopy of a chosen target molecular gas. Moreover, broadband dual comb spectroscopy will be pioneered with the novel FIR comb sources, for application to trace gas sensing.

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