Activity D: Light-matter interaction and non-equilibrium dynamics in advanced materials and devices

Activity DThe light-matter interaction science and optics as well as the variety of their applications to probe/develop new materials, create innovative devices and techniques are the core of this project.
The project focuses on phenomena and effects arising when light meets materials (superconductors, oxides, non-linear optical materials etc.).

The control and understanding of light/matter interactions will lead to a wave of new functionalities and technologies based on Quantum Components and Light-driven micro/nano-structuring and fabrication of matter with the goal of having an impact in Quantum Technologies, Metamaterials and Advanced Sensing.

Our research activity is multidisciplinary in what combines cond-mat physics and materials science with laser physics and quantum optics. In this sense, it helps pushing the boundaries of what can be envisaged in emerging fields and technologies that are based on new materials and optics as well as on standard materials rigged out with novel functionalities.

Activity Leader: Cristiano Roberto

The main topics are:

  • Superconducting single-photon and THz detectors for the most demanding applications that encompass quantum information and communication, atmospheric remote sensing and LIDAR, metrology, ultra-sensitive imaging and spectroscopy of faint emission sources in medicine and biology.
  • Non-linear materials in quantum communication. Non-linear optical effects are the core process to generate entangled states in the optical domain that represent the main resource for quantum communication.
  • Light-driven structuring and fabrication of matter by approaches based both on conventional laser beams and on the emerging use of spatially and polarization structured laser beams, on direct laser surface structuring with continuous and ultrashort laser pulses, on pulsed laser ablation and Matrix Assisted Pulsed Laser Evaporation (MAPLE) techniques and so forth.
  • Passive and active metamaterials and other micro - and nano - fabricated devices able to control and mold the flow of light or to manipulate electromagnetic waves with different approaches, offering new opportunities for slowing or even stopping the light, signal switching and cloaking, beam shaping and modulation.
  • Novel excitonic superconductors & devices, Surface Plasmon, Polaritons and Metasurfaces. Investigation of novel physical phenomena emerging in micro/nanoscale structures and at surfaces/interfaces, including the application of structured-light. Possibility to control light at the nanoscale and transfer information on subwavelength scales.

Expertise, Methods & Techniques

  • LIDAR and remote optical sensing with particular emphasis to the monitoring of CO2 and many other greenhouse and emission gases that have absorption lines in the near and mid-infrared spectral region and to the development of ringlaser arrays for general relativity effect detection.
  • Spectroscopic methods including ultrafast spectroscopy, pump&probe and MOKE techniques, time-resolved spectroscopy, electronic Raman spectroscopy, THz probe spectroscopy for the investigation of superconductors and other innovative materials like organics, graphene, nanocomposites, and low-dimensional materials and interfaces.


Main collaborations

Our work is valued by partners across Italy and by many leading international institutions.


Most of the SPIN Units are within the local Universities where collaborations are established. For the activities of this project, Napoli Federico II and Salerno Universities are strongly involved.
In addition, we collaborate with Università degli studi della Campania and Università degli studi di Milano.
We also take advantage of networking with several CNR Institutes: IFN, NANOTEC, IMM, INO and ISASI.
Common research projects in this scientific area are carried out with other national agencies like INRIM, CNISM and INFN.



  • Chalmers Univ. of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden
  • Glasgow Univ. (UK)
  • Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  • Tampere University of Technology, Finland
  • Institute of Electronics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • Institute of Electron Technology, Warszawa, Poland
  • Laboratoire Kastler Brossel and Univ. P. et M. Curie (Paris, France)
  • IPCC The Institute of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine, Kiev, Ukraine


  • Middle East Technical Univ, Ankara


  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Rochester Univ.
  • Harvard Univ.
  • Hypres, Inc.


  • Tianjin Univ, Tianjin Polytechnic Univ. and Tianjin Univ. of Technology and Education
  • Beijing Research Institute of Telemetry
  • Southeast Univ., Nanjing
  • CAS-SIMIT Shanghai; BRIT; Southeast Univ., Nanjing.


  • Saitama Univ.
  • AIST - National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Tsukuba)
  • Tokyo Univ. of Agriculture and Technology.