PhD Award of AICIng to Dr. Irene VASSALINI

THESIS: Synthesis and characterization of multifunctional smart nanomaterials

Over the past two decades nanomaterials and nanoparticles have encountered a great interest among the scientific community. This is justified by the new properties arising in a material as a result of its nanometric size. Examples are the lowering of melting point, unique optical properties related to Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance, changes of band gap energy values inside semiconductor quantum dots and changes in chemical reactivity.

The aim of the project is to create “intelligent” and adaptive nanomaterials, venturing beyond equilibrium/static structures, that, instead, are the major part of nanomaterials studied until now. In fact, the use of systems far from equilibrium can provide interesting properties: stimulated sensing, adaptability, self-healing, self‐replication and movement.

The idea is to create responsive and nonequilibrium materials, that could use externally delivered energy to change their structures and overall functions on demand, exploiting the simple synthesis technique known for nanomaterial preparation. The external stimuli that will be more widely investigated will be:

  1. light introducing in the materials functions that are sensitive to light, with particular regards to wavelength selective illumination and response;
  2. changes in chemical composition, exploiting, for example, oscillating reactions if a continuous response is wanted, or by introducing a time limited concentration variation if, for example, a sensing activity is wanted.

The systems studied could find an application as:

  • actuators (photo‐thermal actuators, self-­actuators);
  • catalysts (self-­repairing catalyst, catalyst with dynamically reconfigurable structures);
  • sensors (allowing a controlled and cyclic uptake and release of the analyte of interest);
  • systems that allow an information storage.

Welcome on board! PhD students (XXXIII)

Candidate  Area/curriculum/scholarship
ASSI AHMAD Mat/Industrial/A2A Elza Bontempi
BONETTI DANIELA ProLog/Industrial/GPI Marco Perona
BOZ BUKET TeSe/no scholarship Alberto Salvadori
CASTELLI KEVIN MeccApp/no scholarship Giovanni Legnani
CERESOLI FEDERICO MeccApp/Research/University Rodolfo Faglia
DONZELLA ANTONIETTA MeccApp/no scholarship Aldo Zenoni
FRACASSI ALESSIA MeccApp/Industrial/SALERI Antonio Ghidoni
GARGIULO GIOVANNA Mat/Industrial/no scholarship Elza Bontempi
GIACOMELLI MARCO MeccApp/Industrial/I-MECH Antonio Visioli
HAO LEI MeccApp/International/EVOLUT Giovanni Legnani
MUSTAPHA ANIS TeSe/ Industrial/Ditta Scolari Srl Pietro Poesio
NUZZI CRISTINA MeccApp/Research /University Giovanna Sansoni
RODRIQUEZ MIRANDA ENRIQUE MeccApp/International/ University Antonio Visioli
SERPELLONI MATTIA TeSe/Research/University Pietro Poesio
URBANO DARIO GIUSEPPE TeSe/ Industrial/PRIN2015 Adriano Lezzi
ZANI NICOLA MeccApp/ Industrial/LUCCHINI RS Angelo Mazzù
ZHENG TING ProLog/Research/University Nicola Saccani

Final Examinations (XXIX Cycle)

The final examination of: Nicolò Bontempi, Silvia Cecchel and Angelo Damone will be held on December 15 at 10:00 in Aula Consiliare, Via Branze 38 Brescia.


  1. Prof. Matteo Tommasini, Politecnico di Milano
  2. Prof. Marco V. Boniardi, Politecnico di Milano
  3. Prof. Eliodoro Chiavazzo, Politecnico di Torino

Alternate members:

  1. Prof. Adriano Lezzi, DIMI, UniBS
  2. Prof. Elza Bontempi, UniBS

The final examination of Ghazaleh Azizpour, Milad Ashour Pour and Luca Simoni will be held on December 21 at 11:00 in Aula Consiliare, Via Branze 38 Brescia.


  1. Prof. Ramon Vilanova, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
  2. Prof. Federico Casolo, Politecnico di Milano
  3. Prof. Roberto Pinto, UniBG,

Available scholarships (XXXIII Cycle)

13 scholarships are available:

  • 4 scholarships are financed by University of Brescia, plus 1 extra scholarship reserved to candidates with  an eligible University degree from a non-Italian University.
    Candidates can develop their research on free topics related to DRIMI research areas.
  • 1 scholarship financed by Lucchini RS, Industrial curriculum.
    The research topic is: “The effects of environmental factors and consequences on the damage of railway wheels produced using different materials”.
    Corresponding Professor: Angelo Mazzù
  • 1 scholarship financed by Scolari SpA, Industrial curriculum.
    The research topic is: “Energy optimization of industrial dryers“.
    Corresponding Professor: Pietro Poesio
  • 1 scholarship financed by Industrie Saleri Srl, Industrial curriculum.
    The research topic is: “Development of a RANS-LES Hybrid Method for Fluid Dynamic Performance Analysis of a Centrifugal Pump”.
    Corresponding Professor: Antonio Ghidoni
  • 1 scholarship financed by GPI SpA, Industrial Curriculum.
    The research topic is: “Pharma supply chain 4.0.
    Corresponding Professor: Marco Perona
  • 1 scholarship co-financed by DIMI, General Research Curriculum.
    The research topic is: “Heat Transfer Enhancement Induced by Spinodal Decomposition of Liquid-Liquid Mixtures in Microchannels” as part of PRIN 2015, Clean Heating and Cooling Technologies for an Energy Efficient Smart Grid.
    Corresponding Professor: Adriano Maria Lezzi
  • 1 scholarship co-financed by CNR, General Research Curriculum.
    The research topic is:
     “Micro-assembly of embedded components“.
    Corresponding Professor: Dr. Irene Fassi (CNR)
  • 1 scholarship financed by EVOLUT, Industrial curriculum, reserved to candidates  with an eligible University degree from a non-Italian University.
    The research topic is: “Research on collaborative robot precision operation and advanced motion planning based on multi-sensor in non-structured environment“.
    Corresponding Professor: Giovanni Legnani
  • 1 scholarship financed by A2A, Industrial curriculum.
    The research topic is: Improvement of the waste combustion process for the optimization of fly ash quality.
    Corresponding Professor: Elza Bontempi

Call for PhD Applications (XXXIII Cycle)

To register, click here!

Beginning of PhD Courses: 1st November 2017

Opening of on-line applications: 07 July 2017 at 14.00 hrs (Italian Time)

Closing of on-line applications: 25 August 2017 at 13.00 hrs (Italian Time)

No tuition fees are envisaged to participate in the competitive examination for PhD Courses!

Example of possible research topics:


Study, analysis and development of kinetic-diffusion models of ligands-receptors interactions on cell membranes for the interpretation of various phenomenological aspects of cell molecular biology, in collaboration with researcher of the department of Molecular and Translational Medicine and of the department of Civil, Environmental, Architectural Engineering and Mathematics.

Model reduction in complex kinetic schemes, from combustion to biology

Development, implementation, application and comparisons of mathematical methods of model order reduction already proven successful for complex combustion kinetics, with the objective to ‘export’ and validate them to biological modelling frameworks requiring complex kinetic schemes.

Steepest entropy ascent in continuum mechanics

Analysis and development of models of plasticity and constitutive relations for complex fluids and microstructured solids. Formulation in terms of variational schemes such as ‘steepest entropy ascent’, GENERIC and ‘maximum entropy production’ by means of current methods of ‘non-equilibrium thermodynamics’.

Active membranes and sensors for detection/removal of persistent pollutants

Sensitive detection and efficient removal of micropollutants are challenging tasks in environmental remediation. This research activity aims at developing a new class of adaptive materials that can efficiently capture and remove various micropollutants, including drugs, persistent organic pollutants and inorganic species like hexavalent chromium and arsenite/arseniate ions. The micropollutants are captured by receptors obtained by either raw or waste materials and the individual components are integrated in membranes/adaptive scavengers able to operate in real working conditions.

Engineering nano- and microparticles for microwelding, nanofabrication and laser writing

Most of the critical steps in nanofabrication, microelectronics and additive manufacturing rely on precise control of melting processes at the micro- or even nanoscale. This research activity aims at taking advantage of nanointerface engineering for optimising the opto-thermal properties of core/shell beads and related heterostructures that can be applied to different laser-based processes, including micro- and nanowelding, nanofabrication, information storage, thermal and chemical sensing and photothermal therapy .

Analysis of propulsion systems for vehicles with low environmental impact

The path towards a higher environmental sustainability in the field of mobility has made an unexpected acceleration over the last ten years, especially when compared with the limited progresses made throughout the last century. This is promoting a transition to what is commonly referred to as “sustainable mobility”, characterized by a progressive replacement of traditional vehicles powered by fuels derived from fossil energy resources. The use of electricity and hydrogen is in fact a revolution in the automotive industry, leading to maturity of innovative technologies such as electric, hybrid and fuel cell propulsion systems. The study and development of innovative propulsion systems, based on energy carriers with low environmental impact, also integrated with on-board energy recovery systems, represents a research field with high level of multidisciplinarity and high potential for innovation.

Heat engines based on Rankine cycles and operating with unconventional working fluids

The need to resort to “sustainable” systems for energy production and energy conversion and the increasing use of renewable energies sources, require often the study of engines suited to different thermal sources and to different power sizes. The modes of operation and control must then meet the most varied situations and hence the opportunity to realize simple, reliable engines and the need to investigate its dynamic aspects too. Furthermore, the choice of working fluid and the configuration of the thermodynamic cycle affect the type and the size of the engine components. A detailed design of turbomachines and of heat exchangers requires sophisticated thermo-fluid-dynamic analysis techniques. At last, the working fluid must have the necessary thermal stability, at the operating temperatures and in presence of the materials with which the engine will be made. The study and development of Rankine cycle thermodynamic engines, operating with unconventional working fluids, represents a research field with a high level of multidisciplinarity and a high potential for innovation.

Stability monitoring of historical buildings with a cosmic ray tracking system

Primary cosmic rays are particles coming from the Sun and the outer space. Upon impact with the Earth’s atmosphere, they usually produce showers of secondary particles, mainly muons, which are extremely penetrating. Cosmic rays have been successfully used not only in scientific studies, but also in several industrial and civil applications, usually to inspect the inner composition of both artificial and natural structures. In this application environment, the research activity aims at using cosmic rays to monitor the stability of historical buildings, where mechanical or optical sensors could not be used. The research activity will concentrate in developing specific detectors for the application along with the measurement techniques. The final goal will be to build a fully operational prototype that could monitor the stability of a structure of small/medium dimensions.

Design and validate models predicting the diffusion through ultrathin oxide layers deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition for target applications

ALD has recently emerged as a powerful and widely used tool for many industrial and research applications. For example, ALD is widely employed in microelectronics and biomedical applications. Relevant are its uses to create diffusion barriers for gases and water, to avoid ion migration and, recently, also to control drug dissolution. In spite of the wide use of ADL, comprehensive models able to predict the physical-chemical properties of layers deposited with this technique is still missing, while this would be highly desirable for designing customized depositions having optimal properties for target applications.

Integrated Assessment modelling to support decision making in planning/controlling multi-dimension systems

Formalization, development, implementation and validation of mathematical models to simulate and forecast non-linear dynamical systems. Formalization, development, implementation and application of decision support and control systems for environmental (air pollution, climate change, ….), social, health , … systems.

Rheological investigation and modelling of semi-solid metals

Semi-solid processing of metals is an attracting technology due to its ability to produce sound casting. Lately, significant attention has been paid by automotive industries for the production of high performance and light parts. The process involves forming metallic alloys between the solidus and the liquidus. For the process to operate, the microstructure must consist of solid spheroids in the liquid matrix, rather than dendrites. In this condition, the material flows under a shear stress, allowing the complete filling of the mould cavity. Semi-solid metal alloys exhibit non-Newtonian flow properties, which do not only depend on the materials current thermal and kinetic state, but also on the respective histories. The aim of the study is to analyse the rheological properties of partially solidified alloys, by experimental tests, in order to understand the importance of yield stress. The obtained results can be useful to optimize the industrial process parameter. Furthermore, reliable experimental results can allow the validation of a thixotropic model to be implemented in simulation software.

3D printed anatomic models for surgical training

The field of interest is on ENT- and neuro-surgery. At the moment, optimal surgical training is at risk, being limited by residents’ hours restrictions. Specimens are expensive and some pathological conditions are impossible to simulate. The objective of this project is to create and validate surgical 3D models for pre-clinical surgical training produced with materials mimicking the human tissues and using Additive Manufacturing technologies.

Nanofiller elastomer composites

The use of nanoparticles (e.g. carbon nanotubes, graphene) as reinforcing fillers for elastomeric systems can impart specific properties, not achievable only with traditional fillers, such as anisotropic properties, reduced weight and functional properties. This project aims at exploit such effects for industrial applications of rubber components.

Recycling of rubber industrial scrap

Rubber recycling is more and more urgent for environmental reasons. During the production of technical rubber goods, much of the vulcanized product (flash) is a scrap, which has to be eliminated. This project aims at studying the reuse of such scrap and its reintroduction into the production process.

Supply chain energy efficiency

Energy efficiency has been largely neglected in supply chain and logistics. The production and logistics processes are usually seen as independent entities in which the objective of improving energy efficiency is targeted at the level of single companies. However, this myopic approach does not allow to fully discover the benefits achievable with energy efficiency with an assessment at the system level. The aim of this research is to identify how supply chain management can lead to increased opportunities for energy efficiency improvement and may represents an opportunity in overcoming the barriers of implementing energy efficiency measures. Mathematical modelling and optimisation of energy usage within different stages of the supply chain will represent a significant part of the work.

Industrial energy symbiosis

Industrial symbiosis represents a great opportunity for boosting energy efficiency, shifting the focus from a single industry to cluster of firms. Collaboration and synergistic possibilities offered by geographic proximity lead to great competitive advantages involving waste and resources flows. The aim of this research is to identify synergies currently applied and propose the introduction of foreseeable new synergies within different industrial distrctis aiming at reducing the energy and material utilization and environmental impact. Mathematical modelling and optimisation of energy and material flows will represent a significant part of the work.

Inventory models for management of energy storage systems

The proper design and management of energy storage systems is getting more and more important in practice. Energy storage systems are a promising way to make more efficient use of the power capacity of renewable energy sources (RES) and to improve the profitability of these systems. In fact, supporting an RES with an electrical energy storage system (EESS) helps to balance energy supply and demand by decoupling energy generation and consumption. The present research aims to implement traditional inventory management policies, generally applied to regular commodities, for optimally sizing and managing an EESS for a user of a renewable energy source (such as a photovoltaic system or a wind turbine). Mathematical modelling and optimisation of EESS will represent a significant part of the work.

Development of automated solutions for micro-assembling of embedded components

The manipulation of millimetric or submillimetric objects is quite challenging do to adhesive force that may produce sticking between the objects, the manipulation systems and the surrounding environment. Also precision is a must. And the design of several components have to be optimized for this applications. In this context specialized robotics solutions have to be developed. Application fields are very broad and include (but are not limited to)  manipulation of electronics components, biological material, micromechanics.

Modelisation and control of industrial manipulators

The achievement of high performance of robot working cells require advanced control techniques which are based on kinematics and dynamics models of the manipulator and the other mechatronics components. Moreover the trajectory generation has to be optimized. The study of these issues may include theoretical research and experimental verification.

Mechatronics devices interacting with humans

While in the past the direct physical interaction between humans and machinery was very limited due to safety issues, the new developments of mechatronics open wider horizons. Different sensor-based techniques are under developments to assure that a safe contact and physical interaction is possible. Actual standard applications include Rehabilitation exoskeleton devices and Industrial collaborative robots.

Biomechanics of human movement

The Biomechanics of human movement has a lot of applications in several fields including (but not limited to) medical diagnosis and therapy, sport (improvements of performances and injuries prevention). The biomechanical study require often the analysis of the interaction with the environment and/or some devices. Devices may include (for instance) rehabilitation units or sport equipment. In these context kinematics and dynamics models have to be developed and their study concern theoretical and experimental investigations.

Research on collaborative robot precision operation and advanced motion planning based on multi-sensor in non-structural environment

Collaborative robots are the new paradigm on which some advanced robot applications are developed. In this context robots and human operators share a common physical environment to realize a task. Since the safety must be assured several methodology based on intelligent and reliable sensor integrated must be implemented.

Additive manufacturing of metal

Additive manufacturing of metal is becoming a mainstream fabrication process and its use continues to grow. This technique has gradually extended to include various types of metals like aluminum alloys and stainless steels, but also titanium or nickel alloys, as well as several other special materials. As known, the additive manufacturing of metal involves non-uniform temperature distributions and rapid thermal cycles that result in microstructures featured with porosity and anisotropy, which differ drastically from their cast or wrought counterparts. Such different microstructures critically affect the mechanical properties and corrosion resistance of AM products, also determining a different response to heat treatments. The aim of this research activity is the understanding of the microstructure evolution and consequent properties of AM metallic parts as a function of the heat treatment conditions, in particular in the case of Ti and Ni alloys.

Additive Manufacturing impact on Supply Chains

As the general attention of researchers and professionals towards additive manufacturing (AM) has gradually shifted away from prototyping purposes  towards production-oriented approaches which can accommodate AM as a feasible manufacturing technology, it deems necessary to look closer into the research fields that are shaping main discussions about AM, and provide a more precise evaluation of AM implications in the manufacturing arena. In particular, the central core of this project is the evaluation of AM overall implications for firms’ supply chains, in terms of impacts on preparation (design, inbound logistics), production (pre-production, production, outbound logistics) and use (usage, service, end-of-life) phase.

Industry 4.0, a new digital era

Industry 4.0 is a vision of the future of manufacturing in which Information (i.e. Internet of things, cloud, big data) & Operational (i.e. additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics, augmented reality) Technologies are going to boost competitiveness and efficiency by interconnecting  every resource (data, people and machinery) in the Value Chain. The idea behind this research stream is to identify and quantify the main benefits obtainable applying digital technologies on firms business processes. Secondly, it could be important to underline the organizational changes that are requested in order to fully reach the above mentioned benefits, sometimes identifying new business models. Last but not least, it’s necessary to depict over time the state-of-the-art in terms of knowledge and usage of these new digital technologies by manufacturing companies in Italy vs. the rest of the world.