Excellence to the power of 16

Launched in 2004 by the Governing Council, and a real flagship for the INSTM, its 16 Centres of Reference (CR) are all state-of-the-art laboratories combining the very best in Italian expertise, qualifications and equipment. Centres of excellence in their respective fields, their scope and purpose are outlined below:

CR for Technologies for the transformation of polymer and composite materials – Federico II University, Naples This is a relatively broad field that, as well as covering materials transformation as its title suggests, also studies the use of innovative technologies to develop new polymer systems, characterising the macromolecular systems used as well as the resultant products.

CR for Bioactive polymer materials for biomedical and environmental applications – Pisa University
This centre focuses specifically on the study and synthesis of biodegradable and biocompatible polymer materials for use in areas such as food packaging and catalytic resin formulation, as well as biomedical and pharmaceutical applications, for instance, as matrices for controlled-release pharmaceutical delivery, or as hydrogels in tissue engineering.

CR for Nanosized materials for microelectronics and related sectors – Catania University
The team in Catania investigates the synthesis of various types of nanostructured systems with specific functional properties. These include innovative thin film materials, new low environmental impact molecules for use as vapour phase precursors, and special shaped materials for use in leading edge applications such as nanotubes.

CR LAMM – Molecular Magnetism Laboratory – Florence University
CR LAMM uses magnetic techniques and magnetic resonance to investigate molecular- and nano-magnets. It also works with external public- and private-owned academic and industrial laboratories, offering state-of-the-art instruments for magnetic characterisation as well as the measurement of magnetic systems using electronic and nuclear magnetic resonance.

CR LASCAMM – Laboratory for the synthesis and characterisation of organometallic molecular materials – Calabria University
This CR focuses on the synthesis of new materials for low-threshold organic lasers, emitting diodes, optical switches, variable optical filters and polarisers.

CR NIPLAB – Laboratory for nanocomposites and multifunctional polymeric hybrid materials – Perugia University
This CR is made up of 6 separate research units that cooperate closely to increase their knowledge of conventional structural composite materials, to develop and characterise carbon-based nano-additives in order to increase the mechanical resistance of polymer nanocomposites, and to synthesise new hybrid materials for applications in sectors such as biomedicine.

CR LINCE – Laboratory for ceramic materials technology and engineering – Turin Polytechnic
This is the INSTM's centre of excellence for ceramic materials, providing all the knowledges and equipment necessary to cover a wide range of needs. Its research focuses on conventional ceramic materials for use in the construction industry, and ceramic-based engineering materials for mechanical and thermo-mechanical applications. It also works on the development of Spark Plasma Sintering technology for the production of materials with high temperature wear resistance, high tenacity at high temperatures, and even superplastic properties.

CR LITS – Surface treatment engineering laboratory – La Sapienza University, Rome
LITS' primary focus is investigation, development and modelling of surface treatments for high technology structural materials of coatings.

CR for Surfaces and nanostructured interphases.
Large surface extension materials: synthesis, characterisation and modelling – Turin University
This CR benefits from the synergies within its team of physicists, chemists and biologists. Their particular research focus is on the synthesis, characterisation and modelling of nanostructured materials with highly developed surfaces, and their interaction with gases and liquids.

CR PREMIO – Laboratory for the preparation of innovative materials with optimised chemico-physical properties – Pavia University
CR PREMIO carries out theoretical modelling, synthesis and characterisation of materials for various sectors and applications. For the energy sector it investigates electrolytes and the use of ceramics, glass and polymers for electrodes; for sensor, microelectronics and optoelectronics applications it investigates the functional performance of various materials; and it studies coatings for structural applications. This centre is unique in that it has the capabilities, equipment and instrumentation necessary to develop such materials in bulk.

CR CASPE – Laboratory for catalysts for sustainable production and energy – Messina University
This group is dedicated to the development of catalysts, catalytic processes and technologies for applications in environmental protection (the purification of gaseous emissions and liquid pollutants), the reduction of greenhouse gases and the development of cleaner alternatives to chemical manufacturing processes to reduce their environmental impact. Its work also encompasses improving the status and use of process by-products, the use of biomass for chemical production and energy generation, the production and purification of hydrogen as an energy source, and energy conversion (fuel cells, photo-electrocatalytic processes and photo-catalysts). This CR collaborates closely with the CR for surfaces and nanostructured interphases, complementing the Turin-based team's work with its expertise in reactivity and industrial development.

CR for Semicrystalline polymeric materials – Salerno University
The team in Salerno focuses on the synthesis of semi-crystalline polymers (mainly hydrocarbons) and the characterisation of the physical properties of polymer materials. It also analyses and develops the structure and morphology of new polymers for appropriate industrial sectors (semiconductive and conductive materials for electronics, photochromic materials for optics and electro-optic modulator materials for opto-electronics). Several international patents have been granted to this CR for the new polymers it has created over the past few years, and which show considerable industrial potential.

CR for Controlled porosity materials – Sassari University
This team concentrates its research activities on the preparation and characterisation of controlled porosity materials – which can present pores from as tiny as a few nanometers, to millimetres across. It is particularly active in developing and characterising mesoporous materials created using supramolecular assembly, ceramic-based hierarchically porous materials, carbon-based nanotubes and porous carbons and silicon. Among its activities, this CR also represents a point of contact between university- and industry-driven research, a role that is facilitated by its internationally renowned services, know-how and capabilities.

CR SKIES-VILLAGE – Science, Knowledge and Innovation for Earth and Space in a Virtual Italian Laboratory for Large Scale Applications in a Geographically-distributed Environment – Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
This CR is developing a virtual laboratory as the backbone of a high-performance computational grid to be distributed across the country whose purpose will be to solve certain classes of particularly complex computational problems concerning chemistry and materials science.

CR CRIMSON – Laboratory for modelling and simulation of molecular organisations and nanosystems – Bologna University
CR CRIMSON develops techniques for calculations linking the molecular properties of functional materials with their more visible aspects and performance in the field, when subjected to the conditions of their real working environments. These include the temperatures, pressures, and where appropriate, the applied fields to which they will be exposed, as well as any surface constrictions or nanometric-scale phenomena that may be applied.
The team's research includes the investigation of materials used in organic electronics; determination of the properties of liquid crystalline, colloid and polymer materials; nanosystems; the direct simulation of electro-optical devices and transducers; the development of integrated and multi-scale codes for advanced applications regarding molecular and intermolecular properties and electromagnetic responses; and the large scale calculation of spectroscopic properties

CR GISEL – National Centre of Reference for Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems – Milano-Bicocca University
CR GISEL is the first and only national center in the field of research and development of advanced materials for electrochemical energy storage technologies. GISEL has 13 participating universities, over 70 researchers of international level and an instrumental heritage of more than 10 million EUR. Chair of GISEL is Piercarlo Mustarelli (University of Milano Bicocca).

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