Institute of structure of matter (ISM)


The Institute, with its staff of 120 people (geographically distributed across the Rome Research Area in Tor Vergata, the Rome Research Area in Montelibretti, the Potenza Research Area in Tito Scalo and Trieste Area Science Park), deals with cutting-edge research in an interdisciplinary field between physics, chemistry and materials science. Its activities find applications in areas such as energy, environment, biological systems, electronic and magnetic devices and cultural heritage.

The research activities of the institute range from theoretical modeling to the development of prototypal devices by means of the study of the processes involved, the preparation and functionalization of materials, and the characterization of their structural and electronic properties with novel instrumentation and methodologies.

In particular, the different activities can be divided into the following categories:

Modeling of processes and materials.
Theoretical methods based on Density Functional Theory and Molecular Dynamics simulations for the study of structural and electronic properties of solids and molecular systems.
Modeling of the dynamics of ultra-fast processes.
Analysis and control of elementary processes in isolated systems, on functionalized surfaces and interface

Preparation of materials
Nanoscale materials and low-dimensional systems are made both via chemical processes and physical technologies.
Classes of materials of interest are:
- Magnetic materials structured at the atomic and nanometer scale: nanoparticles, thin films and multilayers;
- Organic-inorganic hybrid materials: films of organic, organometallic and chiral molecules, hybrid organic / semiconductor films, organic/metal films;
- Nanostructured anode and cathode materials based on transition-metal, lanthanide and lithium oxides;
- 2D materials (graphene, silicene).

Characterization of the physical, chemical and functional properties of systems

- Analysis and control of elementary processes in isolated systems, on functionalized surfaces and at interfaces.
- Determination of the geometric structure and elemental composition of surfaces and interfaces and characterization of the electronic and crystalline structure by means of spectroscopic and diffraction techniques and microscopy
- Study of physical (optical, magnetic, and transport) and chemical (chemisorption, catalysis) properties and their correlation with the atomic and electronic structure of the surface and interface.

Device and instrumentation development

Production and characterization of devices for energy and photonics.
Development of instrumentation and methods for microscopy, X-ray diffraction and spectroscopies, and mass spectrometry.
Management of beamlines and experimental stations at synchrotron radiation and Free Electron Laser facilities.