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Institute of inorganic methodologies and plasmas




The CNR – IMIP (the Institute of Inorganic Methodologies and of Plasmas of the italian National Research Council) was established recently (January 1st, 2002) as one of the 108 new Institutes resulting from the reorganisation process undertaken by CNR in the last years. Four of the previously existing CNR institutions were incorporated in IMIP, namely, the Institute of Advanced Inorganic Methodologies (IMAI) in Rome, the Institute of Special Materials (IMS) in Potenza and the Center for the Study of the Chemistry of Plasmas (CSCP) of Bari. Their research activities were in a considerable extent devoted to similar scientific subjects. The new institute was located in Rome at the former IMAI and has two geographically distinc departments located in Bari and in Potenza, respectively, and a research section in the university of Rome "La Sapienza". In December 2013, Rome department has been incorporated in ISM (Institute of Structure of Matter), Potenza department has become a research section of ISM, while Bari department has become the only head office of IMIP.

IMIP is organized on the following three main research lines:

1) Dynamics, kinetics and modeling of non-equilibrium systems
2) Spectroscopic and diagnostic methodologies
3) Preparation, treatment and characterisation of functional materials

and is characterized by the presence of multidisciplinary competences, both experimental and theoretical, in molecular dynamics, plasmas and laser chemistry and physics. IMIP has also expertise in the preparation and characterisation of innovative materials, that are relevant for applications in many fields, as for instance, ambient (sensors, innovative spectroscopic techniques, new catalysts for pollution problems),aerospace (species in the upper atmosphere, phenomena in the reentry phase of space vehicles,electrical thrusters), industry (sensors, optoelectronics, scientific equipments, protective coatings, heterogeneous catalysis), energetics (characterization of hydrogen plasmas for microelectronics and fusion applications), cultural heritage (non-destructive diagnostic methods).
The staff of the institute, including scientific, technical and administrative personnel, comprised 29 positions and 15 non-tenured personnel (among them there are different university scientists). In addition, about 20 positions are given to graduate students, doctorate students and postdocs. Several scientists from abroad work usually at the institute each year.

The CSCP (Centro di Studio per la Chimica dei Plasmi, Plasma Chemistry Centre) of Italian C.N.R. (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, National Research Council) started officially in 1970 in Bari (Italy), following the pioneering work of Professor Ettore Molinari in plasma chemistry. He supported both the experimental as well as the theoretical approach to plasmas, founding the two main guidelines successively followed by the directors of the Centre, Professor Francesco Cramarossa (from 1970 to 1989), Doctor Mario Cacciatore (1989-1990), Professor Mario Capitelli (1990-2001). At present the personnel at this territorial section is composed of twenty researchers, three technicians, eight university associated professors and a large number of undergraduated and PhD students.In the field of experimental approach the interest has been centred on the developing of plasmochemical methodologies for deposition, material processing and plasma spectroscopic diagnostic. Excellence results have been obtained in the field of semiconductors, oxides, polymers and biomaterials. In particular, important results have been achieved in the fields of plasma etching with applications in microelectronics, plasma deposition of microcrystalline and amorphous silicon for photovoltaic and electronic applications, deposition and processing of gallium nitride for optoelectronics, polymer plasma processing for coatings and for biomaterials of medical interest (methodologies of surface characterization have been developed in this field).In the field of plasma diagnostics, results of fundamental as well as technological importance have been obtained concerning the determination of non-equilibrium vibrational distributions CO via IR emission spectroscopy, of atomic and metastable species concentrations via LIF spectroscopy, and of electron energy distribution function by means of Langmuir probes. Rate coefficients of elementary processes have been determined by the developed techniques.The theoretical approach has produced results in the field of both microscopic and macroscopic description of plasmas in applications of technological interest, ranging from nuclear fusion to aerospatial problems, from microelectronics to environmental studies. Implementation and application of numerical codes for classical as well as quantal molecular dynamics have been developed for obtaining cross sections and rate coefficients to a large degree of detail concerning chemical species of interest in plasma phase and in gas-surface interaction. In particular, complete sets of cross sections have been calculated for electron-molecule, atom molecule and molecule-molecule interactions, and important results have been achieved in the field of atomic recombination on various surfaces. These dynamical data are used in global plasma kinetics models based on classical kinetics, Boltzmann equation, Monte Carlo methods, particle-in-cell, and DSMC (Direct Simulation Monte Carlo). These studies have produced interesting results in particular in the characterization of multipolar plasmas for negative ions generation and parallel plate RF plasma (this last with “particle in cell with Monte-Carlo collisions” method), in plasma vibrational kinetics, in reentry conditions for aerospatial vehicles, in the characterization of expansion plasmas through nozzles of various geometries, in the characterization of electrical thrusters, in the determination of thermodynamical and transport properties for one- and multi-temperature plasmas.
The researchers at the Centre have produced about 600 papers on prestigious international journals, an equivalent number of papers in international congresses, often as invited participants. Some of them have published as editors books with many authors, are authors of reviews, have organized international congresses. Many researchers belong to the advisory board of international publications and to international commitees of important conferences all around the world.It is noteworthy the international activity of the Centre, which has produced important collaborations with scientific groups from France, United States, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic. Particular activity has been dedicated by the Centre to financial support external to CNR, with significant fundings from MIUR, ASI, ESA, ENEA, EU, DARPA.


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