The "Nello Carrara" Institute of Applied Physics (IFAC) was established in March 2002 as an aggregation of the Institute for Research on Electromagnetic Waves (IROE) with the Institute of Quantum Electronics (IEQ), both based in Florence.
Presently, the Institute enjoys advanced scientific expertise in many areas of applied physics and ICT, with a great technological potential for the development of various tools, from optoelectronic sensors to aerospace equipment, down to the micro and nano scales, like e.g. biochips and plasmonic nanoparticles.
IFAC reflects its multidisciplinary profile in various research lines and applications:
o Health and Safety:
=> Photonic sensors: researches on biomedical diagnostics are focused on photonic and biochemical sensors, both for invasive and non-invasive applications, and are carried out in the frame of several European and national R&D projects, such as the FP7 CP Nanodem, coordinated by IFAC. Biomedical sensing technology is also pursued by the development of WGM microresonators, fiber nanotips and optical fiber gratings. Applications to food safety and quality are implemented through spectroscopic instruments and chemometric data processing, within PON and MIUR-Cluster Agrifood projects.
=> Biophotonics and nanomedicine: biophotonic researches regard innovative microscopic techniques and minimally invasive laser therapies. Nanomedicine is involved in the development of laser-activated nanoparticles, mainly for cancer theranostics. Significant projects are carried out within regional programs in collaboration with leading companies on nano and laser technologies, and in Europe through four ERANET+ projects and the FP7 CSA Network "OASIS" on Biophotonics.
=> Wellbeing and safety: development of intelligent environments for the improvement of citizens' quality of life (Smart Cities), as well as safety by means of studies on human exposure to EM fields in living and working environments.
o Cultural Heritage:
Integrated spectroscopy in the UV-Vis-IR and THz-GHz ranges is applied to the analysis and monitoring of the environment and to the study of materials and state of conservation of artworks. In situ non-invasive spot and imaging devices are developed, as well as procedures for elaborating hyperspectral imaging data by means of multivariate analytical methods. Remote sensing approaches based on fluorescence LIDAR are applied to investigate artworks and monuments. Advanced techniques, such as LIBS and 3D-microscopy, are used in archaeometry; lasers are designed for cleaning artworks. Important research activities have been carried out in EU projects (FP7: CHARISMA, POPART; H2020: infrastructure IPERION CH) and within national programs (COPAC, PRIMARTE, TEMART, TDT).
o Space, Aerospace and Earth observation:
=> Space: astrodynamics is devoted to study long term evolution and impact risk of spacecraft, space debris and asteroids in the Solar System.
=> Aerospace and Earth observation: innovative passive and active (e.g. LIDAR and SAR) aerospace instrumentation for remote sensing from optical to microwave frequencies, together with advanced methods and algorithms for processing of remotely sensed data, acquired from ground-stations, airborne (stratospheric aircraft and balloons) and satellite platforms. Noticeable applications are for the vertical sounding of the atmosphere, aimed at 3D-characterization of its composition and temperature, as well as microwave remote sensing of natural surfaces in order to estimate their bio-geophysical parameters and to investigate the cryosphere. These activities are carried out in the frame of various national and international collaborations and valuable contracts with space agencies (ASI, ESA, NASA, JPL, JAXA), public bodies and aerospace industries (e.g. Selex ES, CGS, Sitael).