doe infn


DOE-INFN Summer Exchange Program for 2015

14th 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.
In particular the following groups have expressed their interest in the 2015 edition of the Summer Exchange Program and they invite US students to join their research activities: ATLAS, !CHAOS, ETRUSCO-GMES, LHCb, MoonLIGHT-2, MU2E, Nano Technologies. 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, 2015. 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 17th to August 21st.

The 10 available positions at Frascati are the following:

1 Position: ATLAS

Title: Measurements of the Higgs boson properties in the H->ZZ*->4l channel with the ATLAS experiment at LHC.
Tutors: Roberto Di Nardo (, Marianna Testa (

Description: During the LHC RunI the Frascati group was fully involved in several measurements  of the Higgs boson properties exploiting the H-> ZZ*-> 4l decay channel and gave an important contribution to the Higgs boson discovery in 2012.
During the  RunII, that will start in the spring 2015, proton-proton collisions  will be produced at 13 TeV, an energy never achieved by any accelerator in the past.
To fully exploit the increased energy and the amount of  data that will be collected,  analyses optimizations are mandatory in order to improve even more the knowledge of the Higgs boson properties. The activity will consist in the investigation of potential improvements of the H->ZZ*->4l  analysis to increase the expected signal significance, especially when the Higgs boson is produced through the vector boson fusion or in association with a W/Z boson.
Recommended period:  June-July or September-October

1 position: !CHAOS

Title: Software Development for Experiments and Accelerators Distributed Control Systems
Tutor: Giovanni Mazzitelli (

Description: The !CHAOS open source project has evolved from a prototype of Distributed Control Systems and DAQ for High Energy Physics (HEP) accelerators and experiments, to a candidate for a dynamic and on-demand national cloud infrastructure for interdisciplinary highly-distributed monitoring and control application. The project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Research (MIUR), foresees its completion by the end of 2015, including the development of all functionalities of the framework and a prototype of an IT infrastructure offering "controls as service", its qualification and benchmark tests. The candidate will be involved in the development of use case application and API to interface the novel architecture to major standards. C++ knowledge is required.  

Recommended period: June-July

1 position: LHCb

Title: Construction and uniformity test of the wire chambers of the LHCb experiment.
Tutor: Pierluigi Campana (

Description: The LHCb experiment at the LHC collider is searching for explanations of the
observed matter anti-matter asymmetry in the Universe, which could come from New Physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics.
The LHCb Frascati group is currently building the detectors for the upgrade of the experiment to be installed in 2018. These detectors consist of wire chambers which have high granularity and high time resolution and are used in the muon trigger, to isolate interesting events coming from p-p collisions.
The student will have an unique hands-on opportunity to build a particle detector in a clean room facility, which will be installed in the experiment, to understand the principles of its functioning and to test it directly, measuring the uniformity of the response as a function of HV, at a dedicated low dose gamma ray source installation at the Frascati Laboratories.

Recommended period: June-July or September-October


1 position: ETRUSCO-GMES

Title: ETRUSCO-GMES R&D project of INFN-CSN5
Simone Dell'Agnello ( and/or Luca Porcelli (

Description: The 2013 goal of ETRUSCO-GMES (Extra Terrestrial Ranging to Unified Satellite Constellations – Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) consist in the development and the characterization of the space performance of next-generation laser retroreflector arrays for the mm-precision orbit determination of Earth Observation (EO) satellites for Copernicus, a flagship space program of the European Union renamed Copernicus for HORIZON2020) and for Galileo, the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and the other, and  most important, space flagship program of the EU. This orbit determination is achieved through Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), a laser-pulse time-of-flight measurement, in absolute terms, that is, with respect to the International Terrestrial Reference System (ITRS, defined by geodetic techniques: SLR, VLBI, GNSS, DORIS, etc). SLR is managed by the International Laser Ranging service (ILRS), with which the SCF_Lab is tightly integrated (
Our activity takes place at the world-unique infrastructure owned by INFN-LNF, the SCF_Lab (Satellite/lunar/GNSS laser ranging and altimetry Characterization Facilities’ Laboratory), which includes two laser retroreflector characterization facilities (SCF and SCF-G) operated in a dedicated clean room of class 10000 or better. The characterization of retroreflector space performance (SCF-Test) consists in the concurrent and integrated measurement and modelling of the detailed thermal behaviour and the optical performance of cube corner GNSS Retroreflector Arrays (GRAs) in representative space conditions. Optical measurements include far field diffraction pattern and Fizeau interferometry. Temperature measurements include the use of infrared camera and contact probes. The SCF_Lab is also equipped with two AM0 close-match solar simulators.
GNSS Constellations and agencies for which we work are: Galileo/ESA-ASI, IRNSS/ISRO, GPS/NASA. For EO we work with the Italian Ministry of Defense. 
The student will participate in: SCF-Test & data analysis of the new GRA for Galileo & GPS-3, funded by ASI & INFN; and/or analysis of SLR data from existing GNSS constellations (including Galileo IOV, GPS-2), and/or LLR; and/or LAGEOS.


Main references:

  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. ETRUSCO-2: An ASI-INFN project of technological development and “SCF-Test” of GNSS laser Retroreflector Arrays, S. Dell’Agnello et al, 3rd International Colloquium - Scientific and Fundamental Aspects of the Galileo Programme, Copenhagen, Denmark (2011).
  3. SCF_Lab brochure:

Recommended period: June-July or September-October


1 position: MoonLIGHT-2

Title: MoonLIGHT-2 experiment of INFN-CSN2
Tutors: Simone Dell’Agnello ( and/or Giovanni Delle Monache (

Description: 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;
Another important goals is the development, space characterization and deployment of the first-ever laser retroreflector on Mars rovers and landers, to be laser-located by Mars orbiters equipped with lasercomm, capable of laser ranging as demonstrated by NASA's lunar mission LADEE.
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).
Main references:

  1. A Lunar Laser Ranging Retroreflector Array for the 21st Century, D. Currie, S. Dell’Agnello, G. Delle Monache, Acta Astron. 68, 667– 680 (2011).
  2. SCF_Lab brochure:

Recommended period:: June-July or September-October

1 position: MU2E

Title: Characterization of UV emitting Crystals and UV extended Silicon photosensors
Tutors: Simona Giovannella (, Ivano Sarra (

Description:The R&D phase of the calorimeter for the MU2E experiment is being concluded. The choice of UV emitting crystals such as BaF2 or CsI is under way in combination with two very advanced Silicon photosensors.
In the first case, the BaF2 has two components, a fast one (1 ns) at 220 nm and a slow one (600 ns) at wavelengths above 280 nm. The development of a super-lattice APD that is solar blind to frequency above 280 nm is being carried out by the Caltech/JPL/RMD consortium. At LNF, we are developing the preamplifiers and we expect to test the first sensors in the coming fall. Solar blind Silicon Photomultipliers are also being considered.
In the second case, the CsI has a dominant component at 320 nm with a time emission of 16 ns. This crystals is well matched by a new version of UV extended Silicon Photomultipliers by Hamamatsu with quantum efficiency down to 240 nm. New SIPM from Sensl and FBK will be available for the fall.
The student will be inserted in the group activity and will help in the characterization of the various crystals and photosensor combination with tests done both at a crystal station, transmittance test with a UV source and data taking of single assembled crystal+photosensor+FEE units with a simple Cosmic Ray trigger.

Recommended period:: September-October


1 position: NanoElectromagnetics

Title: NanoElectromagnetics (microwave/RF/photonics)
Stefano Bellucci (

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. Our work on the model of the graphene/CNT-metal transition and related equivalent circuits models, aims also to 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.

Recommended period: June-July or September-October

1 position: NEXT - Carbon-lines

Title: Carbon-lines: modellization and characterization of innovative electronic nano-interconnections in graphene and carbon nanotubes
Tutor: Stefano Bellucci (

Description: Aims of the research: analyzing certain properties connected to the electrical transport in graphene or carbon nanotubes interconnections, with particular regard to the electrical conductivity. Such materials are very promising for nanoelectronics applications, owing to their excellent electrical, thermal and mechanical characteristics, and their possible use for the realization of nano-interconnections for integrated circuits and transistors has been recently demonstrated, thanks to the realization of examples of prototype devices. Such a perspective, made it especially important to boost the modeling and characterization
activity of such materials. Starting from the experience of the NEXT Nanotechnology Team at the INFN-Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati connected to the electromagnetic and circuita modellization of such structures, the research will investigate the electrical conductivity of graphene ribbons and nanoplatelets, as well as that of carbon nanotubes, with reference to the effects of chirality, the possible presence of an electrical field, the boundary conditions and the contacts. Such an analysis will be carried out in the conditions expected for next generations electrical interconnections in integrate circuits (14 nm or 10 nm technologies), namely low bias conditions and frequencies up to hundreds of GHz.
Expected results:

  • designing and realizing an experimental setup suitable for measuring the electrical conductivity of samples made by graphene ribbons or nanoplatelets, or by carbon nanotube bundles, up to 18 GHz
  • proposal, extension and experimental validation of models of electrical conductivity
  • outlook for possible future modeling and electromagnetic characterization activity of interconnections based on graphene or carbon nanotubes in the non-linear regime and in the THz range.

Recommended period:June-July or September-October

1 Position: Bio-nanotechnologies

Title: Bio-nanotechnologies: studies of nanomaterials biocompatibility for nano-theranostics.
Tutors: Stefano Bellucci (

Description: Aims of the research: analyzing certain properties connected to the biological and medical applications of graphene and carbon nanotubes, for the realization of biosensors/diagnostic devices and drug delivery as a therapeutic mean in neurodegenerative diseases, pulmonary affections in children, and cancer. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) will carried out on immobilized cells treated with the nanomaterials. Functionalization of the nanomaterials will be carried out for achieving their optimal binding to DNA, for the realization of DNA-sensors.
The development of multifunctional carbon nanotubes will be targeted to in vitro and in vivo delivery and imaging of miRNAs, and characterization of circulating miRNAs as innovative therapeutic and diagnostic tools for pediatric pulmonary hypertension.

Recommend period: June-July or September-October

1 Position: AFM

Title: Atomic Force Microscopy studies of the microgravity-cell interactions.
Tutors: Stefano Bellucci (

Description: Aims of the research: Characterization of biological samples by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), which allows to check the morphology of cell samples, the strength, endurance and strength of adhesion of the same to the substrate after being exposed to microgravity.
In order to understand the interaction between gravity and matter AFM will be used.
It interacts directly with the surface of the biological sample without any special preparation. It will allow to get information about topography, surface rigidity, its adhesion to the substrate and its elasticity. All these data compared and correlated with those from other characterization techniques and analysis will allow to verify which changes can occur after exposure to microgravity (comparing them with a control sample) and seek to understand whether these effects are reversible or irreversible.

Recommend period: June-July or September-October

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



Administration and Logistic:
Maria Luisa Bontempi (Administration Office)
Patrizia Fioretti (Personnel Office)
Gianluca Dalla Vecchia (Visitor's Office)

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

author: mcd