doe infn


DOE-INFN Summer Exchange Program for 2017

16th Edition


INFN - Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati

Founded in 1955, the Frascati National Laboratories (LNF) are the oldest and largest laboratories of INFN, the Italian agency devoted to fundamental research in nuclear and subnuclear physics. The LNF cover an area of 140000 m2 and are located about 20 km from the centre of Rome. They can be easily reached by car, by plane (two international airports), by bus and by train. Research activities in the LNF are pursued in all major INFN areas of interest: Particle Physics, Astroparticle Physics, Nuclear Physics, Theoretical Physics and Detector Physics. Several groups are participating in experimental programs in collaboration with US institutions.
Candidates must be enrolled as students at a US University and must have begun, at the time of application, at least the third year of a US University curriculum in physics, engineering or computing science. They can join a team at the LNF for 2 months between June 1st and October 31st, 2017. For further details refer to the Summer Exchange Program homepage. Opportunities include participation in physics analysis, activities of running experiments as well as involvement in detector developments.

The Frascati Laboratories will be closed from August 12th to August 20th.

The 10 available positions at Frascati are the following:

1 position: ALICE

Title: Development of high-resolution, multi-layered, low-material silicon pixel detectors for particle tracking and vertexing at luminosities up to of L = 6 x 1027 cm-2s-1 for lead-lead collisions at the CERN ALICE Experiment.

Description: Frontier precision measurements in high energy experiments requires access to the rarest physics signals. In particular, starting form 2020, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN will progressively increase the luminosity of heavy ion beams eventually reaching an instantaneous luminosities of L = 6 x 1027 cm-2s-1. This upgrade plan will require the replacement of the two main tracking devices, the Time Projection Chamber (TPC) and the Inner Tracking system (ITS). The upgraded ALICE silicon inner tracker is an innovative and challenging extra-small material-budget detector (factor 4 and 5 smaller than that of CMS and ATLAS experiments) allowing ALICE to measure charm and beauty production in Pb-Pb collisions with sufficient statistical accuracy down to very low transverse momentum (pT about 100 MeV/c), and detect charmed baryons and perform exclusive measurements of beauty production. Within this program, the ALICE collaboration is developing large area detector based on high-resolution, fast-readout monolithic pixel sensors (MAPS), built on a thin silicon substrate (50 to 100 um). A pivoting task of this project (ongoing at the INFN-Frascati as one of the ITS production sites) is the detector assembly and by pushing to the limit technologies such as: computerized alignment (via Coordinate Measuring Machines, CMM) of the modules (each module is composed by 7x2 silicon chips wire bonded to its printed circuit), module gluing over the carbon fibre support and cooling plates (total of 7 modules per plate), high precision welding of the modulate to module inter-connections, alignment of the equipped carbon fibre plats with the support structure, high precision welding of the interconnections for the chip powering, readout tests of the initial base module unit and of the final unit.

Tutors: Federico Ronchetti & Valeria Muccifora (

Recommended period: September-October 2017

1 position: CYGNUS-RD

Title: Data analysis tools for CYGNUS-RD detector

Description: CYGNUS-RD is the name of the innovative detector R&D aimed to merge the technique of negative ion field gage with optical triple-gem readout, proposed for dark matter direction search in the CYGNUS international collaboration. A peculiar modification of conventional TPC involves the addition to the gas mixture of a highly electronegative molecule, making it a Negative Ion TPC: NITPC. When negative ions act as image carrier instead of electrons, diffusion is reduced to the thermal limit without the need for a magnetic field implying a better track reconstruction. The optical readout with CMOS sensor can provide very high granularity (higher then chip pixels) and with the proper camera aperture and focal lent can image large area at lower cost. The purpose of the stage is collaborate on the analysis of the data recently collected during the tests beam.

Tutor: Giovanni Mazzitelli (

Recommended period: June-July

1 position: KLOE-2 at LNF

Title: Running the KLOE-2 experiment at DAFNE: data taking, detector monitoring and data analysis.
Description: The KLOE-2 experiment is currently taking data at the upgraded e+e-  DAFNE collider of the INFN Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati.
For the very first time  the "crab-waist" concept – an innovative beam interaction scheme, developed in Frascati – has been applied in presence of a high-field detector solenoid. This scheme will be employed in the upgrade of the B-factory currently under construction at the KEK Laboratory, in Japan, and is also considered a valid option in several future projects.
KLOE-2 physics program is mainly focused on KS, eta and eta′ meson rare decays as well as on kaon interferometry and search for physics beyond the Standard Model. The new data taking campaign will allow to perform CPT symmetry and quantum coherence tests using neutral kaons with an unprecedented precision, high precision studies of γγ-physics processes like e+e- -> e+e- pi0 (gg->pi0),  and the search for new exotic particles that could constitute the dark matter, among the fields to be addressed.
The general purpose detector, composed by one of the biggest Drift Chamber ever built surrounded by a lead-scintillating fiber Electromagnetic Calorimeter among the best ones for energy and timing performance at low energies, undergone several upgrades including State-of-The-art cylindrical GEM detector:  the Inner Tracker. To improve its vertex reconstruction capabilities near the interaction region, KLOE-2 is the first  high-energy experiment using the GEM technology with a cylindrical geometry, a novel idea that was developed at LNF exploiting the kapton properties to build a transparent and compact tracking system. To study γγ-physics the detector has been upgraded with two pairs of electron-positron taggers: the Low Energy Tagger (LET), inside the KLOE apparatus, and the High Energy Tagger (HET) along the beam lines outside the KLOE detector.
The student will experience the running of a high-energy experiment and participate in all the experiment activities contributing to data taking, detector operation and monitoring, and  data analysis.

Tutor: Erika De Lucia (

Recommended period: June-July, September-October

1 position: LHCB

Title: Development of a novel B_s tagging algorithm.

Description: LHCb is one of the main experiments collecting data at the Large Hadron Collider accelerator. One of its primary goal is to study with high accuracy the properties of b-hadrons that are copiously produced in the proton-proton collisions at LHC. Among these properties, the observables related to the violation of the CP symmetry in the B_s meson, are powerful tools to challenge the Standard Model and are a portal to search for New Physics phenomena. The B_s meson has a relatively long lifetime, so it flies on average about 1 cm before it decays in lighter particles that are subsequently detected by the LHCb detector. In its flights, due to a quantum phenomenon called meson-oscillation, the B_s changes the flavour, with a measured frequency, from a B_s to the corresponding anti-particle anti-B_s. The B_s meson oscillation is an interesting phenomena that allows to access many observables related to the CP-violation in B_s mesons. To perform the measurements of the CP-violating observables it is critical the Flavour Tagging, i.e. the determination of the correct flavour, B_s or anti-B_s, when it is produced by the proton-proton collision. Various algorithms have been developed for the B_s tagging. One of the most powerful algorithm exploits the features of the Kaon mesons often produced in association with the B_s meson, in a Neural Network trained to disentangle the correctly tagged B_s. Overall the effective tagging power is of the order of 5% and any improvement on this efficiency will have significant impact on the sensitivity of CP-observables. For such goal we are going to exploit other particles produced in association with the B_s. The baryon Lambda seems very promising and has various interesting characteristics that could have important impact on the overall B_s tagging power.
Activity: The student will be deeply involved in the study and design of the novel tagging algorithm based on the Lambda baryon. He/she will look at simulated events to develop and tune the algorithm, and also at real data to evaluate the performances on proper control samples. Some knowledge in computing is desirable but not mandatory.

LHCb collaboration website for useful general informations:

References to recent developments on B-tagging:
1) Algorithm for B_s tagging using the Kaons
2) Algorithm for B0 tagging using pions and protons

Marcello Rotondo (
Barbara Sciascia (

Recommended period: End of August - October

2 Positions: MoonLIGHT-2 & SCF_Lab

Title: Space Research with the MoonLIGHT-2 experiment and the SCF_Lab test facility

Description: The space research activities of the SCF_Lab test facilities are describe at The goal of MoonLIGHT-2 (Moon Laser Instrumentation for General relativity High-accuracy Tests for the International Lunar Network – Phase 2) is the development, space characterization and deployment of 2nd generation laser retroreflectors for the sub-mm-precision orbit determination of the Moon through a laser-pulse time-of-flight measurement, in order to achieve a high-accuracy test of General Relativity and new theories of gravity. This discipline, called Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR), started 40 years ago, when the Apollo and Lunokhod missions deployed retroreflectors on the surface of the Moon. LLR data are freely available and provide the best overall test of General Relativity with a single experiment (weak and strong equivalence principle, PPN parameter beta, geodetic precession, deviations from the inverse-square law, time variation of the gravitational constant G, extensions of General Relativity). The experiment is an international collaboration between Italian and US institutions. The latter include: the University of Maryland at College Park (UMD), which was Principal Investigator of the 1st generation retroreflectors; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, MA, USA (CfA), which has developed the powerful Planetary Ephemeris Program capable (among many other things) of accurately tracking the Moon orbit; the University of California at San Diego, CA, USA (UCSD), which leads the best LLR station, located in USA, called APOLLO (Apache Point Observatory LLr Operation; We have four lunar landing mission opportunities with Moon Express Inc., the first one at the end of 2017.
See also .
For Mars science (gravity, geodesy) and exploration we built and space-qualified INRRI-EDM/2016 (INstrument for landing/Roving laser Retroreflector Investigations) the first-ever laser retroreflector to be deployed on the surface of the red planet by the ESA/ASI ExoMars EDM 2016 mission. INRRI is a compact, lightweight, passive and maintenance-free array of laser retroreflectors of very long lifetime, installed on the external, zenith-facing surface of the ExoMars EDM, with unobstructed view to orbit. INRRI will enable the EDM to be laser-located from Mars orbiters operational either during the EDM lifetime and/or after the EDM end-of-life. INRRI is provided by ASI and INFN-LNF. The ExoMars EDM lander, dubbed “Schiaparelli” will be launched in March 2016.
See: and
The student will participate in the: (1) thermal-optical-vacuum test and data analysis of the new payload funded by INFN and NASA, at the world-unique INFN-LNF SCF_Lab infrastructure (Satellite/lunar/GNSS laser ranging and altimetry Characterization Facilities Laboratory); and/or (2) analysis of LLR data acquired from existing Apollo/Lunokhod payloads for precision gravity tests (with CfA – J. Chandler et al; UCSD – T. Murphy et al). Another major SCF_Lab activity is the SCF-Test of LAGEOS, the Laser GEOdynamics Satellites (with NASA-GSFC – S. Merkowitz at al).
1. Creation of the new industry-standard space test of laser retroreflectors for GNSS and LAGEOS, S. Dell’Agnello, G.O. Delle Monache, D.G. Currie, R. Vittori, C. Cantone, M. Garattini, A. Boni, M. Martini, C. Lops, N. Intaglietta, R. Tauraso, D.A. Arnold, M.R. Pearlman, G. Bianco, S. Zerbini, M. Maiello, S. Berardi, L. Porcelli, C.O. Alley, J.F. McGarry, C. Sciarretta, V. Luceri, T.W. Zagwodzki, J. Adv. Space Res. 47 (2011) 822–842.
2. A Lunar Laser Ranging Retroreflector Array for the 21st Century, D. Currie, S. Dell’Agnello, G. Delle Monache, Acta Astron. 68, 667– 680 (2011).
3. SCF_Lab brochure:

Tutors: Simone Dell’Agnello ( and/or
Giovanni Delle Monache (

Recommended period: June-July or September-October

3 Positions: Nanostructurs

Title n. 1: Nanosensors for biomedical applications 

Description: Electrochemical DNA – sensors are one of the most promising tools with very diverse areas of application such as medical diagnostics, environmental pollutants monitoring, biological weapons defence etc. In spite of DNA – sensors already widely used in practice, they have a perspective for the improvement of functionality and cost – effectivity.  One of the important directions in this matter is the increasing selectivity and sensitivity of sensors in expense of enhancement of electric signal and target – probe hybridization stability. Another important direction is the improvement of the electrode effectivity and manufacturability. From this point of view the best choice is the polymer – CNT enhanced nanocomposites, combining these two important features. At the same time, the better understanding of molecular mechanisms behind the DNA and RNA hybridization on the surface of electric transducer, and polymer – CNT nanocomposites formation is relevant for the improvement of effectivity and manufacturability of DNA – sensors. The Student will carry out all-round activity in nanoscience, with a specific calling for technological applications, stemming from scientific achievements and with the help of a careful theoretical research and modeling activity.
The Student will also participate to the realization of the Nanomaterial (e.g. carbon nanotubes and graphene) that are synthesized in the nanotechnology laboratory, and the corresponding biosensor nano-devices, which he will  subsequently characterize and test. The student will engage in the Chemical Vapour Deposition of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and Graphene on catalytic substrates and/or in porous templates, as well as in the arc discharge synthesis of carbon nanotubes, without impurities and with a low density of defects. Purification and functionalization of carbon nanotubes are carried out by LNF team by physical and chemical methods.

Main references: 1.    "Biological interactions of carbon-based nanomaterials: From coronation to degradation"   Kunal Bhattacharya, Sourav P Mukherjee, Audrey Gallud, Seth C Burkert, Silvia Bistarelli, Stefano Bellucci, Massimo Bottini, Alexander Star, Bengt Fadeel,  Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, Available online 17 December 2015
2.    "Multiwalled carbon nanotube buckypaper induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human leukemia cell lines through modulation of AKT and MAPK signaling pathways", Simona Dinicola, Maria Grazia Masiello, Sara Proietti, Pierpaolo Coluccia, Gianmarco Fabrizi, Alessandro Palombo, Federico Micciulla, Silvia Bistarelli, Giulia Ricci, Angela Catizone, Giorgio De Toma, Mariano Bizzarri, Stefano Bellucci, Alessandra Cucina, Toxicology in Vitro 7 (2015) 1298-1308
3.    "Collapse and hybridization of RNA: View from replica technique approach", Y Sh Mamasakhlisov, S Bellucci, Shura Hayryan, H Caturyan, Z Grigoryan, Chin-Kun Hu, The European Physical Journal E 38 (2015) 1-9.
4.    "Growth inhibition, cell-cycle alteration and apoptosis in stimulated human peripheral blood lymphocytes by multiwalled carbon nanotube buckypaper", O Zeni, A Sannino, S Romeo, F Micciulla, S Bellucci, MR Scarfi, Nanomedicine 10 (2015), 351-360
5.    "Differences in cytotoxic, genotoxic, and inflammatory response of bronchial and alveolar human lung epithelial cells to pristine and COOH-functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes", Cinzia Lucia Ursini, Delia Cavallo, Anna Maria Fresegna, Aureliano Ciervo, Raffaele Maiello, Giuliana Buresti, Stefano Casciardi, Stefano Bellucci, Sergio Iavicoli,  BioMed Research International,Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 359506, 14 pages
6.     "Targeted Nanodrugs for Cancer Therapy: Prospects and Challenges", Massimo Bottini, Cristiano Sacchetti, Antonio Pietroiusti, Stefano Bellucci, Andrea Magrini, Nicola Rosato, Nunzio Bottini, J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol 14 (2014) 98-114

Tutor: Stefano Bellucci (

Recommended period: June-July or September-October


Title n. 2: Electron beam acceleration for advanced materials characterization 

Description: With the advent of the era of graphene, the universally famous two-dimensional allotrope of carbon, with its lightweight, amazing strength and unsurpassed ability to conduct electricity and heat better than any other material, previously unconceivable technological opportunities are opening up in a manifold of various applicative areas, in the true spirit of enabling technologies. The use of graphene can be envisaged in nanoelectronics, as a promising alternative to customary materials such as copper, which show well-known limitations in their utilization at the nanometer scale, owing to the challenges of dealing with higher values of frequencies and smaller sizes in beyond state of the art applications. Features like tunable electronic properties may be exploited to realize, for instance, a microwave electronically tunable microstrip attenuator. Electronic systems intended for Aerospace and Aeronautics applications are requested to exhibit such high performances in terms of operating conditions and reliability, that the used materials must retain outstanding mechanical, thermal and electrical properties. New technological solutions must provide significant reduction of weight of parts and supports (such as electronic cases), realized with optimized shapes. A solution to such problems can be provided by exploiting the recent advances in Nanotechnology in the synthesis of the so-called nanocomposites, a class of composites where one or more separate phases have one dimension in the nanoscale (less than 100nm).
The Student will also participate to the Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy, and the Electron and atomic force microscopy, characterizations of the nanomaterials, e.g. graphene, nanotubes, and epoxy nanocomposites. The Student will become experienced with modelling and simulation of the CNT growth over catalyst patterned substrates and porous templates, along with the conductance properties of CNT/metal junctions, as well as in modelling CNT electron transport properties. The Student will engage in the realization and characterization of epoxy resin nanocomposites based on nanocarbon materials. and study their electrical and mechanical properties and the electromagnetic shielding they provide in the microwave frequency range.

Main references: 1.    "What does see the impulse acoustic microscopy inside nanocomposites?"   VM Levin, YS Petronyuk, ES Morokov, A Celzard, S Bellucci, PP Kuzhir,  Physics Procedia 70 (2015) 703-706
2.    "Microstructure, elastic and electromagnetic properties of epoxy-graphite composites", SS Bellucci, F Micciulla, VM Levin, Yu S Petronyuk, LA Chernozatonskii, PP Kuzhir, AG Paddubskaya, J Macutkevic, MA Pletnev, V Fierro, A Celzard, AIP Advances 5 (2015) 067137
3.    "Broadband Dielectric Spectroscopy of Composites Filled With Various Carbon Materials", Stefano Bellucci, Silvia Bistarelli, Antonino Cataldo, Federico Micciulla, Ieva Kranauskaite, Jan Macutkevic, Juras Banys, Nadezhda Volynets, Alesya Paddubskaya, Dmitry Bychanok, Polina Kuzhir, Sergey Maksimenko, Vanessa Fierro, Alain Celzard,  IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques,  63 (2015) 2024-2031
4.    "Nanocomposites of epoxy resin with graphene nanoplates and exfoliated graphite: Synthesis and electrical properties", A Dabrowska, S Bellucci, A Cataldo, F Micciulla, A Huczko, physica status solidi (b) 251 (2014), 2599-2602.
5.    "Heat-resistant unfired phosphate ceramics with carbon nanotubes for electromagnetic application", Artyom Plyushch, Dzmitry Bychanok, Polina Kuzhir, Sergey Maksimenko, Konstantin Lapko, Alexey Sokol, Jan Macutkevic, Juras Banys, Federico Micciulla, Antonino Cataldo, Stefano Bellucci, physica status solidi (a) 211 (2014), 2580-2585
6.    "Multi-walled carbon nanotubes/unsaturated polyester composites: Mechanical and thermal properties study", MSI Makki, MY Abdelaal, S Bellucci, M Abdel Salam,  Fullerenes, Nanotubes and Carbon Nanostructures 22 (2014), 820-833

Tutor: Stefano Bellucci (

Recommended period: June-July or September-October


Title n. 3: NanoElectromagnetics (microwave/RF/photonics)

Description: We have experience in the frequency (energy)/time-domain full-wave multiphysics modeling of the combined electromagnetic-coherent transport problem in carbon-based (graphene, CNT) nano-structured materials and devices. The core concept is that while the advancement of research in this area heavily depends on the progress of manufacturing technology, still, the global modeling of multi-physics phenomena at the nanoscale is crucial to its development. Modeling, in turn, provides the appropriate basis for design. The bridge between nanosciences and the realized circuits can be achieved by using the panoply of microwave/RF engineering at our disposal. From the theoretical models and techniques, we produced efficient software for the analysis and design.
In our models, the quantum transport is described by the Schrödinger equation or its Dirac-like counterpart, for small energies. The electromagnetic field provides sources terms for the quantum transport equations that, in turn, provide charges and currents for the electromagnetic field. In the frequency-domain, a rigorous Poisson-coherent transport equation system is provided, including electrostatic sources (bias potentials). Interesting results involve new concept-devices, such as Graphene-Nano-Ribbon (GNR) nano-transistors and multipath/multilayer GNR circuits, where charges are ballistically scattered among different ports under external electrostatic control. Further examples are given by the simulation of cold-cathodes for field emission based on graphene and by the analysis of optical emission/absorption by single or few layers GNR.
Recently, we began to work on the model of the graphene/CNT-metal transition and related equivalent circuits models, ii) the inclusion of thermal effects in graphene/CNT, e.g. as deriving from ballistic path reduction due to phonon scattering and as arising at the contact between graphene and silicon dioxide.  
In the time-domain, we now avail a novel Schrödinger/Dirac-based transmission line matrix (TLM) solver for the self-consistent analysis of the electromagnetic-coherent transport dynamics in realistic environments. It is highlighted that the self-generated electromagnetic field may affect the dynamics (group velocity, kinetic energy etc.) of the quantum transport. This is particularly important in the analysis of time transients and in the describing the behavior of high energy carrier bands, as well as the onset of non-linear phenomena due to impinging external electromagnetic fields. We are now capable of modelling THz carbon-based emitters/detectors, CNT-enabled traveling wave (TW-CNT) devices, and the carbon-metal transition; we are exploiting novel properties and devices based on frequency multiplication, graphene gyrotropic effects, photoconductive effects.
The Student's activity we will be focusing on:
•    Multiphysics Schrödinger/Dirac-based modeling of the electromagnetic-coherent transport phenomena of the graphene/CNT devices. Microwave and Terahertz circuit characterization stemming from the above  analysis in a form  suitable for design.
•    Models of the graphene/CNT-metal transition. Their equivalent circuits models.
•    Inclusion of thermal effects in graphene/CNT (e.g. the contact between graphene and silicon dioxide). Their circuit models in system characterization.
•    Characterization and validation of electromagnetic/quantum-mechanics properties of carbon nanostructures.
•    Electromagnetic characterization of carbon-based foams. Shielding EM interference in chaotic environments.

Main references: 1.    "Spatial dispersion effects upon local excitation of extrinsic plasmons in a graphene micro-disk"   Davide Mencarelli, Stefano Bellucci, Antonello Sindona, Luca Pierantoni,  Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 48 (2015), 465104
2.    "Broadband microwave attenuator based on few layer graphene flakes", Luca Pierantoni, Davide Mencarelli, Maurizio Bozzi, Riccardo Moro, Stefano Moscato, Luca Perregrini, Federico Micciulla, Antonino Cataldo, Stefano Bellucci, IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques,  63 (2015) 2491-2497
3.    "Applications of Graphene at Microwave Frequencies", Maurizio Bozzi, Luca Pierantoni, Stefano Bellucci, Radioengineering 24 (2015) 661-669.
4.    "Sharp variations in the electronic properties of graphene deposited on the h-BN layer", DG Kvashnin, S Bellucci, LA Chernozatonskii, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 17 (2015) 4354-4359
5.    "Graphene-based electronically tuneable microstrip attenuator", L Pierantoni, D Mencarelli, M Bozzi, R Moro, S Bellucci, Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology 4 (2014), 4-18
Tutor: Stefano Bellucci (

Recommended period: June-July or September-October

1 position: PADME

Title: Search for dark matter signals at LNF with PADME

Description: There are models attempting to solve the dark matter problem, as well as the muon (g-2) anomaly, that have postulated the existence of a low-mass spin-1 particle that would possess a gauge coupling of electroweak strength to dark matter, and a much smaller coupling to the Standard Model (SM) hypercharge. The PADME experiment aims to search for signals of this light dark photon using the beam of the LNF LINAC.
By studying positron interaction with a thin carbon target the goal is to produce such a particle via the reaction e^+e^- -> gamma A', where A' is the dark photon that would be identified via a missing mass measurement.

Activity: The student will take part to the work of characterization and test of the BGO crystals and of the photomultipliers of the e.m. calorimenter under construction at the Frascati lab.

Tutor: Paola Gianotti (

Recommended period: June-July

The application form is available on the Summer Exchange Program homepage.



Administration and Logistic:

Gianluca Dalla Vecchia (Personnel Office)

Scientific coordination:
Catalina Curceanu (coordinator)
M. Cristina D'Amato (secretary)
Phone +39-06-94032373

author: mcd