The ability to manipulate, control and exploit matter from the mesoscale down to nanometric level has paved the way to the development of a new generation of advanced sensors and devices with applications in key technologies such as telecommunication, security, health, transportation, energy, food safety and environmental monitoring.
The breakthrough of nanotechnologies in these areas is linked to the dramatic changes displayed by the properties of matter when one or more of its dimensions reduce in the size range 1-100 nanometers.
The properties of these nanostructured systems, which govern the operation of devices and enhances the reactivity and sensitivity of sensors, may differ considerably from those of bulk materials.
The origin of these peculiar properties that control the optical, electrical and magnetic behavior of matter is twofold: On the one hand, the dramatic increase of the surface-to-volume ratio, and, on the other hand, the emergence of quantum confinement phenomena. Some of the latter, such as quantum tunneling, may actually interfere with, or block completely, the performance of conventional devices. As a result more and more efforts are devoted to exploit information-carrying entities other than electron charge, such as photon polarization, electron spin, and atomic/molecular position and states, or quantum entanglement phenomena.
The mission of IOM in the area of Sensors and Devices focuses on applications of nanotechnology that are governed by a wide range of physical properties, ranging from electronic transport, light-matter interaction, to magnetism.
Our research applies a multidisciplinary approach integrating material synthesis, studies of fundamental properties through large-scale facilities and advanced simulation techniques, and device development.