The company

The National Research Council (CNR) is the largest public research institution in Italy, the only one under the Research Ministry performing multidisciplinary activities; its duty is to carry out, promote, spread, transfer and improve research activities in the main sectors of knowledge growth and of its applications for the scientific, technological, economic and social development of the Country. CNR’s Scientific Network comprises 7 Departments which are organizational units, structured by macro – areas of technological and scientific research, with the task of planning, coordinating and monitoring research activities in the affiliated institutes, by assuring them the necessary financial resources. The 102 Institutes, located throughout Italy, grouping together these technical and scientific areas of expertise, have been given the task of managing programmes and implementing the scheduled research activities, coordinated by the departments. The Institutes are not dependent on the Departments but are autonomously responsible for their scientific research and duties. The geographical distribution of the Institutes, and their interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary features, enable them to contribute to the growth of regional innovation systems.
The Institute of Applied Sciences and Intelligent Systems “Eduardo Caianiello” (ISASI-CNR) with its nanofabrication Lab has large experience in the field of design, fabrication and characterization of biosensors and nanodevices. The institute carries out research in the fields of Physical science, Life Science, Engineering in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary way joining the different expertise of its researchers. Research is focused on various topics including nano-photonics, the study of interface between nanotechnology and biology, development of optical methods for characterization of materials and systems, new strategies for manipulation of soft-matter at nano and microscale. The institute has several equipped laboratories including: photolithography laboratory, nanolithography laboratory with Electron Beam Lithography (EBL) system RAITH150 and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), laboratory of Integrated Optics with different coherent light sources, laboratory of Nanocomposites and Soft Matter, laboratory of Image Analysis and calculation.

Riccardo Castagna is Researcher at the Institute of Applied Sciences and Intelligent Systems of the Italian National Council of Research (CNR). He graduated on 2002 in Biological Sciences, and in 2006 he got his Ph.D in Biomolecular Applied Sciences, Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, at the Department of Materials Sciences, Organic Chemistry Laboratory of Prof. L. Greci, Polytechnique University of Marche, Ancona, Italy, mainly working on antioxidants (synthesis and applications) in biological systems. During his Ph.D., he spent one year as Visiting Scholar in UCDAvis, Davis, California, USA, in the Laboratory of Prof. C. E. Cross (Genome Building). As Post-Doc, he spent a period of two years in the Laboratory of Optical Physics of Prof. Simoni, Fimet Department, Polytechnique University of Marche, ideating and realizing micro-holograms for optical data storage, plastic visualizers of laser light polarization states, opened systems for real time refractive index measurements. As Senior Post-Doc, he has worked in the École normale supérieure de Cachan (École normale supérieure de Paris-Saclay), Cachan, France, at D’Alembert Institute, in the Laboratory of Quantum and Molecular Photonics of Prof. J. Zyss, and a total period of two years as Visiting Scientist in the Laboratory of Nonlinear Optics of Prof. Y. Prior, at Department of Chemical Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, to develop nonlinear polymeric nano-structured systems for Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) at the nanoscale to be used in the fields of nano-imaging and ultra/high-density optical data storage. Later on he was Researcher at NEST (National Enterprise for nano-Science and nano-Technology), Istituto Nanoscienze – CNR, c/o Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy, working on nano-structured systems and markers for nano-diagnostics and nano-imaging. His research interests mainly regard light-matter interactions, photonics, polymers conversion of light into mechanical work, free radicals, nitroxide radicals. He is author of 50 papers in International Journals, over 70 contributions at International Congresses (many times as Invited Speaker), 4 Italian, 1 European and 1 US patents.


Lucia Petti received the doctoral degree cum laude in Physics from the University Federico II of Naples in 1996 with a thesis on “Nonlinear optical devices in liquid crystal waveguides”. She received her Ph.D in Physics from the Physics Department of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, in 2001. Her doctoral thesis was entitled “Thermo- and Electro-Optical Analysis of Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal systems”. She has been a contract researcher at the Institute of Cybernetics of the Italian National Council of Research (ICIB-CNR) now ISASI from 1997 up to 2007 working to study and characterize new materials for applied optics (liquid crystals, polymers and polymeric blends, PDLC’s, micro and nano-composites) and the fabrication and testing of electro-optical devices. In more details, she focused her attention to the Optics of Liquid Crystals, Linear and nonlinear Optics in polymeric systems and hybrid organic-inorganic composites, Spectroscopic analysis of thin films from UV to far IR, and in Fabrication of Photonics Nanodevices through Electron Beam Lithography technique.

Lucia Petti is now a staff researcher and Team Leader at the Institute of Applied Sciences and Intelligent Systems of the Italian National Council of Research (CNR) coordinating three projects: i) “Development and Validation of Methods in Nanosciences and Agro-Food: Innovative Materials and Sensors (DFM.AD005.015)”, ii) “H2OSafety- Design and development of environmental sensors for the research of microbiological and chemical contaminants hazardous to health” (National Project funded by MIUR Call “Proof of Concept”), iii) “Photo-Piezo-ActUators based on Light SEnsitive COMposite -PULSE-COM” (European project Horizon2020 FETOPEN-01-2018-2019-2020)”. All of which are focused on research activities aimed at the development of new methodologies using innovative materials and nanostructured devices. She is coordinating the activities of the “Nanocomposites and Soft matter” and “Nanolithography” Labs. From 2005 she is Responsible for the Large Research Facility “Electron Beam Lithography system” at ISASI-CNR. From 2011 she is Responsible for ISASI-CNR in the frame of the Technological Italian Platform “Sources and Photonic Sensors”. From 2016 she is an Expert participating in the evaluation of H2020 projects. From 2020 she has been enabled to the role of Full Professor in Experimental Physics of Matter. Her current research focuses on Photonics, Biophotonics and Plasmonics with more focus on the Study, Fabrication and Characterization of Active Photonic Crystals and Quasi-Crystals in either organic/inorganic nanocomposites or metal; Waveguiding Optics; Electrooptics, Linear and Nonlinear Optics of Liquid Crystals, Polymers and Organic Molecules; development of plasmonics LSPR and SERS based- nanobiosensors by electron beam lithography for the detection of chemical species and bio-analyses for Medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and Food safety.

She is author/co-author of three patents and 112 scientific papers published in peer reviewed journals and 18 technical reports. Over 115 International and national conference presentations (as poster and as oral) have been presented in Italy, Germany, Israel, USA, Taiwan, Russia, Cuba, India, France, Ireland. She has been invited 33 times for oral presentations in Germany, Romania, Israel, France, USA and China.


Massimo Rippa graduated in Physics cum Laude, in 2004, at the Science Faculty of the University of Naples “Federico II”, with a thesis on “Polymeric Films for optics communications: materials characterization and devices design”. In December 2009 he received his Ph.D in the International course “Novel Technology for Materials, Sensor and Imaging” from the Science Faculty of the University of Naples “Federico II” with a doctoral thesis entitled “Monitoring of laser – biological tissue interaction on plane angioma by functional infrared imaging”. Dr. Rippa has been working in the Institute of Cybernetics “E. Caianiello” (ICIB-CNR) and in the Institute of Chemistry and Polymer Technology (ICTP-CNR) for several years. He is currently a staff researcher at the Institute of Applied Sciences and Intelligent Systems of the Italian National Council of Research (ISASI-CNR). He has been involved in several national and International projects including bilateral projects of cooperation between the Italian National Council of Research (CNR) and the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS). He attended three Short Term Mobility Research program at the Ningbo University (China) to develop plasmonic nanobiosensors, financed by CNR. His current research focuses on Photonics, Biophotonics and Plasmonics with particular regard to design, fabrication and characterization of nanostructures (Photonic Crystals, Photonic Quasi-Crystals and Metamaterials) for sensors, lighting applications and electro-nonlinear optics with liquid crystals. He has a good expertize in Thermography and Infrared Imaging applications. He is author/co-author of 59 scientific papers published on International journals, 2 patents and one monographic publication. He has participated at over 60 International and national conferences as poster or as oral.

Massimo RIPPA

Valentina Marchesano obtained her PhD in Medical Biotechnology at the University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy in 2013. During the PhD she worked in the frame of the Nanotruck European project: Multifunctional gold Nanoparticles for gene therapy at the CNR Institute of Cybernetics “E. Caianiello” in Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy. Her Expertises and skills are: sample preparation for light, fluorescence and electron microscopy (TEM and SEM); Cytological and histological preparative techniques; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology skills (protein extraction, SDS-page, western blot, PCR, cloning, in-situ hybridization and quantitative Real Time PCR); Cell culture and cell adhesion on nanostructured substrates. She is expert in using light-responsive polymeric nanomaterials, in light-manipulated ferroelectric systems, in nanostructured systems for light-matter interaction, in Transmission and Scanning Electron Microscopy, SERS, LSPR, in optical and fluorescence microscopy and got a proven experience in the field of nanotechnologies (use of nanoparticles and nanomaterials). She is author and\or co-author of 25 papers published in international peer reviewed journals and of more than 30 conference papers.

Valentina Marchesano Post doctoral researcher

From Pistoia (Italy), Ambra Vestri gained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Molecular Biotechnology from the University of Florence (Italy). She completed in Verona (Italy) in 2016 her PhD focused on “Molecularly Imprinted Nanoparticles for the measurements of the Iron Regulator Hormone Hepcidin in Serum Samples”. The work experience in the academic environment helped her to gain a relevant expertise in polymer synthesis and nanomaterial/surface functionalization for different applications. During her Postgraduate Master in Drug Design and Synthesis at the University of Siena (Italy), she carried out a project on the synthesis of polymers for drug delivery purposes at the University of Nottingham (Steven Howdle group). She joined Lucia Petti’s group in 2020 at the ISASI-CNR of Pozzuoli (Italy) to work on the development of photoactive monodomain polymers (PULSE-COM project).

Ambra Vestri Postdoctoral researcher

Domenico Sagnelli graduated in Biotechnology at the University « Federico II » of Naples. He completed his PhD in Copenhagen developing novel polysaccharide-based materials. He was awarded with a postdoctoral grant from the Danish council of research in 2018 and joined the Howdle group to work on the synthesis of polymers from renewable resources in supercritical CO2. He joined the SMART materials Team of Lucia Petti in the Institute of Applied and Intelligent Systems (ISASI – CNR) of the Italian National Council of Research to develop novel liquid crystal based photo-mobile polymers. He is expert in synthesis and characterization of polymeric materials. During his career he was highly trained in physico-chemical characterization of polymers and biomacromolecules. Furthermore he has deep knowledge of analytical tecniques such as: DMA, DSC, dynamometer, permeabilimeter, NMR, GC/MS, MALDI TOF, microscopy, HPLC, SEC, IEC. Dr. Sagnelli is author and co-author of 17 papers.

Domenico Sagnelli Postdoctoral researcher

Marcella Calabrese, currently PhD student, graduated in Chemical Engineering at the University of Naples “Federico II”, with final thesis on the technical-economic analysis of biogas upgrading through Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA). Graduate student in Chemical Process Engineering; for her internship and the master degree’s thesis she joined the team of Lucia Petti at the Institute of Applied and Intelligent Systems of Pozzuoli (NA) of the National Research Council for the development and synthesis of photomobile Azo-polymer networks for industrial applications. Her skills and experiences include deep knowledge of chemical processes both in continuous feeding and batch mode, risk assesment of chemical plants, reactor engineering and transport phenomena as well as the use of some software suitable for chemical engineering (Aspen +, Matlab, Aloha).

Marcella Calabrese PhD Student