NanoStructures Group (NSG)

NanoStructures Group (NSG)


Tiziana Cesca, Chiara Maurizio, Giovanni Mattei, Alessandro Patelli


Ionuț Gabriel Balașa, Boris Kalinic, Niccolò Michieli, Diego Piccotti

Technical staff

Carlo Scian

Research Activity

The research activity of the NanoStructures Group (NSG) is focused on nanoscience and nanotecnology mostly involving metallic nanostructures for applications in plasmonics, nano-photonics, magnetism and catalysis. Combining competencies in physics and materials science, NSG investigates matter at the nanoscale using an approach spanning from  nanofabrication, to characterization and modeling of innovative functional nanostructures. Due to the quantum confinement, materials properties depend on the size of the nanostructures. Thus, controlling their size, morphology and interaction degree, it is possible to obtain novel properties that are interesting not only from the viewpoint of basic physics research but also for their relevant technological applications.

Among the ongoing research areas of the NSG Group:


When photons in the visible or near-infrared range interact with metallic nanostructures whose size, shape and composition (e.g., Au or Ag or their alloys) suitably designed to exploit the surface plasmon resonance phenomenon, it becomes possible to localize the electromagnetic field intensity in sub-wavelength regions (surpassing the diffraction limit) or to exploit peculiar phenomena working at the nanoscale such as the extraordinary optical transmission from ordered arrays of nanohole with sub-wavelength diameter) in a thin plasmonic film. Some investigated topics:
. Plasmonic nanoantennas. Linear and nonlinear optical properties of metal nanostructures
. 2D ordered arrays of plasmonic nanostructures for optical bio-sensing
. Modeling of the plasmonic properties of isolated or interacting nanostructures


NSG investigates the possibility to control the emission efficiency of single quantum emitters through the coupling with suitably designed metamaterials. Some investigated topics:
. Emitter-Nanostructures interaction for controlling the quantum efficiency
. Energy transfer processes between emitters and plasmonic nanostructures
. Metamaterials


At the nanoscale it is possible to combine optical with magnetic functionalities to produce ‘active’ materials, whose optical properties can be tuned with the magnetic ones and vice-versa. Some investigated topics:
. Bi-metallic nanostructures for magneto-plasmonics
. Magneto-optical characterization

Nanomaterials for energy

Photocatalysis is one of the most interesting processes for promoting chemical reactions due to its use of solar energy. The ability of plasmonic nanostructures to focus light and to locally amplify its intensity is extremely relevant when coupled to nanostructures of semiconducting oxides, allowing to control the injection of hot carriers activated during plasmonic resonances. Some investigated topics:
. High-surface area nanostructures for photocatalysis

Nano- and Micro-patterning of surface

The control of the surface properties in terms of hydrophobicity, conductivity or morphology allows the use of such chemically and/or morphologically patterned surfaces as an ‘active’ substrate to control dynamics of fluids above or more complex processes, like cell growth. Some investigated topics:
. Atmospheric Plasma treatments for chemical/morphological surface modification
. Nano- and Micro-patterned surfaces for cellular growth

Further info on NSG Group people and facilities at: