Laboratori Nazionali del Sud

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Applied Physics

The INFN Commission V, referred as the 'Technological Commission', is the National Institute of Nuclear Physics committee involved in technological and multidisciplinary activities. 

It includes all activities related to the accelerators physics, the development of new detectors and multidisciplinary physics in general (applications of physics to medical, computing, space, environmental, cultural heritage and computing applications).

At Southern National Laboratories, the Commission V has a total of about (year 2016) 50 FTE (Full Time Equivalent). The activities include the study and development of new acceleration techniques (DEMETRA, ELIMED, L3IA), the study of new and innovative sources of ions and their diagnostic (AISHA, ESS, VESPRI),  and of new detectors (SICILIA). But they, also are related to the medical physics (RDH projects, IRPT, NADIR, ELIMED), the computational physics (INFN-MC project) and cultural and environmental heritage (CHNET_IMAGING, Radiolab).

Here is a list (in alphabetical order) of currently active projects ( 2016 ) with a brief description and the relevant link to the official web page.



Resp Nazionale e Locale: Dr Paolo Romano

Sito web:

The CHNET_IMAGING scientific proposal aim is the realisation of a measurement station, operating with integrated analytical techniques for 2D- imaging and for surface measures, in a heterogeneous lateral chemical elements distribution samples and a stratigraphic structure along the thickness of the same.

The measurement equipment is operating at the 80 degrees experimental beam line of LNS. It includes the following techniques: the Full Field Particle Induced X-Ray Emission (FF-PIXE), based on the use of low-energy protons beams, accelerated by the LNS TANDEM accelerator. The Energy Resolved X-Ray Radiography (ER-XRR) operating through an high brilliance X beam, already available at LNS, to make an energy-resolved digital radiography conducted simultaneously with the FF-PIXE measurements. The Grazing Incidence X-ray Fluorescence (GI-XRD) trading under laminar beams obtained by coupling angular filters (special parallel beam polycapillary lenses) to a high-power X-ray source.


DEMETRA (DiElectric and METallic Radiofrequency Accelerator 

National and local responsible: Prof. G. Sorbello

Web site:

The DEMETRA project is related to the modelling, development and experimental validation of metallic and dielectric high-gradient linear accelerating structures. In a LINAC accelerator the maximum accelerating gradient is an important figure of merit since it determines the length of the accelerator and the power consumption. The goal for next generation of linear accelerators is very challenging in terms of accelerating gradients. To upgrade performances of X band LINACs at 11.424 GHz, several aspects must be considered and some of them will be addressed in this experiment. Apart from linear collider for fundamental research, there is a growing demand from the industrial and research communities for high gradient, compact RF, accelerating structures. In the last century accelerators have played a key role in the science and in the society and they will certainly continue playing a key role also in the next decades (not only in high-energy physics). More than 15000 accelerators are in use around the world and more than 97% of these accelerators are used for different industrial and commercial applications and this number is still growing. Actually, electron linacs used for radiotherapy represent one third of all existing accelerators. Because of electrical breakdown of metals in presence of high electric fields, “dielectric accelerators” have been proposed in the recent years. The two main interrelated innovative aspects of this approach are


1. the improved damage threshold of dielectrics with respect to metals;

2. the possibility to avoid classical metal structures and work at much higher frequencies in optical regime.

The proposal of the DEMETRA experiment is organized in two interrelated work packages (WPs): WP1: Innovative Metallic Structures WP2: Innovative Dielectric Structures.


ELIMED (ELI-Beamlines MEDical and multidisciplinary applications)
L3IA (Line for Laser Light Ions Acceleration)

National responsible: Dr D Giove, Dr L Gizzi, Dr GAP Cirrone

Local responsible: Dr GAP Cirrone

Web site:

ELIMED and L3IA are two projects intimately connected and both dedicated to the development of new acceleration techniques and associated diagnostic tools for ion beams accelerated by high power laser interaction with solid materials.

The activity and the status of ELIMED project is described in detail in the dedicated page.

The L3IA activity is dedicated to the development of an acceleration and transport line of laser-driven beams at the INO Institute of CNR. L3IA is now the only Italian facility under construction that will be dedicated to the transport of ion beam accelerated by laser for multidisciplinary applications.

The L3IA activity is not only limited to the development of the line, but, also, to the study and development of detectors for the accelerated beams diagnostics. These beams, in fact, have particular energy and temporal characteristics and need the development of absolutely innovative detectors.

ESS (European Spallation Source)

See dedicated section


MC-INFN: Monte Carlo nell'INFN

National and local responsible: Dr GAP Cirrone

Web site:

The MC-INFN project includes, at the current time, all the activities of computing and modelling present within the Commission V. In particular, it is now made up of two different groups: the group of FLUKA and that of  Geant4 italian developers.

The project activities are therefore mainly related to the development of the two codes and, consequently, they have a close connection, and a close integration with those pursued within the international collaborations.

Details of the activities conducted within MC-INFN can be found in the official project website ( and Facebook page (, this page devoted specifically to dissemination activities.


NADIR (biological relevant Nanodosimetry of Ionising Radiation)

National responsible: Dr V. Conte

Local responsible: Dr GAP Cirrone

Recent results obtained in the framework of the INFN MITRA experiment and in the international European BioQUart project, indicate the real possibility of a new dosimetric concept for the interaction of ionising radiation with matter.

Particular characteristics of the track structure of the particles, measured at nanometer level, appear to be very well correlated with the radiobiological cross sections that are derived from cell survival curves. Therefore, some measurable physical quantities, which can describe and predict the biological effect of the ionising radiation are identified, once that the measuring apparatus has been calibrated on the biological end-point examined.

This result was independently confirmed by three research groups with three different experimental setups.

The correlation between physical and radiobiological quantities was carried out using the cell survival curves available in the literature, for which the radiation field is specified by the type and energy (sometimes the LET) of the ionising particle.

The corresponding nano dosimetric physical quantity, absent in radiobiological database, was calculated using Monte Carlo simulations.

It would be much more significant to characterise the radiation field both from the nano dosimetric and radiobiological point of view.

 To make these measures feasible, it is necessary to build a new experimental setup in which to make simultaneous nano dosimetric and radiobiological measurements of healthy and cancerous cells.

The purpose of this project is the realisation of a European facility in which physical, radio-biologists and physicians working in synergy to characterise the radiation physical quality, which significantly determines the biological or, even better, therapeutic effect.

This knowledge allows the appropriate use of combined treatment, which will improve the therapeutic index of radiation treatment.


SiCILIA (SIlicon Carbide detectors for Intense Luminosity Investigations and Applications)

National responsible: Dr S Tudisco

Local responsible: Prof G Lanzalone

Web site:

The Silicon Carbide technology offers today an ideal response to the numerous challenges coming from the particles detection field, since it gives the opportunity to couple the excellent properties of silicon detectors (resolution, efficiency, linearity, compactness) with a bigger radiation hardness (up to five orders of magnitudes for heavy ions), thermal stability and insensitivity to visible light. However, nowadays, no detector exists with these characteristics and a significant upgrade of present devices is required in terms of thickness of the active region and detection area.

The aim of SiCILIA is to develop innovative processes, which allows a massive production of thick and large area (about 1 cm2) SiC detectors with unprecedented level of defects.


VESPRI (VEry Sensitive evaluation of Plasma density by micRowave Interferometry)

National responsible: Dr D Mascali

Local responsible: Dr D Mascali

Web site:

The VESPRI experiment proposes the realisation of a microwave interferometer for measuring the electron density in an excited and magnetically confined plasma.

The motivations behind this research are strictly connected to the development of plasma ion sources (ECRIS: Electron Cyclotron Resonance Ion Sources) able to satisfy the strong demand of high current, high charge state and low emittance ion beams, coming from the basic physics and industrial applications.

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