Several research groups and laboratories from the Department of Electronics Information and Bioengineering, the Department of Physics and CIFE Foundation, working in the fields of nanoelectronics, photonics, nanomagnetism and photovoltaics, are in close collaboration with PoliFAB.
Nanomagnetism for Biology and Spintronics (NaBiS)
The research activities of the NaBiS group of the Physics Department of Politecnico di Milano, headed by Prof. Riccardo Bertacco, focus on the applications of nanomagnetism to biology and spintronics. The group has a well established experience on the growth of heterostructures made of magnetic and ferroelectric materials, functional oxides and semiconductors, as well as on their investigation via surface science techniques, both on-campus and at synchrotron radiation facilities. Furthermore, it has accumulated a significant know-how on the fabrication of complex devices via optical, electron-beam and scanning probe lithography. Advanced techniques for the electric, magnetic and optical characterization of devices and materials are also available in the laboratory.
As regards the applications to biology, the NaBiS group is currently working on: (i) platforms for biomolecular recognition based on microarrays of magnetic tunnelling junctions, (ii) on-chip magnetic actuators for mechanobiology studies and (iii) ultrasensitive sensors for the magnetic detection of the firing activity of neuronal networks.
Within the field of spintronics the activity focuses on the development of: (i) strategies for the electric writing of the magnetic information in spintronic devices, (ii) memory devices based on antiferromagnets as storage media, (iii) devices integrating computing and memory capabilities based on Ferroelectric Rashba Semiconductors , (iv) non-destructive and reversible patterning of magnetic devices via scanning probe lithography.
Photonic Devices Group
The Photonic Devices Group has matured almost twenty years of experience in the analysis, design, modelling and experimental characterization of Photonic Integrated Circuits and Photonics Integration. The research activities mainly focus on integrated optics and devices, linear and nonlinear optical signal processing, numerical modelling, advanced characterization techniques, high bit rates optical communications and optical interconnects. The main aim is to increase the scalability of Photonic Integrated Circuit while reducing the design complexity.
The laboratorary is an 80 m2 fully equipped Lab for in-depth characterization of optical waveguides and PICs in almost any technological platform. The Lab includes 5 polarization-controlled setups for characterization of waveguides and components in both frequency (attenuation, insertion loss, birefringence, group delay, chromatic dispersion, near field and backscattering) and time domain (BER up to 10 Gbit/s, single pulse down to 1 ps). The group also owns a proprietary unique frequency-domain interferometric technique for the measurement of backscattering and polarization rotation in optical waveguides.
The Photonic Devices Lab aims to become a reference center for photonics integration in Italy and play the role of characterization and design center, assisting academic and industrial users, offering knowledge and technological capabilities, promoting activities at the national level and acting as the provider of numerical methods, models and data for the software partners and PDK builders in Italy and Europe.
Innovative Integrated Instrumentation for the Nanoscience (I3N)
The I3N group is part of the Department of Electronics, Information and Biotechnology (DEIB) and devotes its research to the design of high-sensitivity electronic instrumentation for the nanoscience to access the electronic properties of nano-bio devices and sensors systems.
The group has a long tradition in designing very low-noise electronic integrated instrumentation for the measurement of currents, voltages, impedances and noise, to provide high performance system tools for Physics, Biology, Material Science or Chemistry research activities. Performance of FemptoAmpere (fA) in the current resolution, of ZeptoFarad (zF) in Impedance resolution and of few fA/√Hz (and few pV/√Hz) in noise spectral density have been reached. On-chip instrumentation is the goal of present activity, to better address the need of portability and multichannel capability in the nano- and bio-science, both for experiments at room temperature or at cryogenic temperatures.
Examples of custom instruments developed by the lab are: i) an add-on for atomic force microscopes to access local quantitative information on the dielectric properties of the sample; ii) cryogenic amplifiers in CMOS technology to investigate single-atom based transistors operating at sub-kelvin temperatures; iii) a multichannel CMOS current detector & lock-in amplifier for a non-invasive light detection in photonic integrated chips to allow a feedback control on the working condition of the photonic chip; iv) noise spectrum analyzer based on correlation technique with the sensitivity required for the first experimental evidence that resistors may produce shot noise, in contrast to common belief; v) single-chip potentiostat for nano-scale electrochemistry and direct interface with biological cells cultured on microelectrodes.
Surface Functionalization Laboratory (SurfFunLab)
SurfFunLab is a chemical laboratory for surface functionalization, equipped, among other instrumentations, with microcentrifuge and programmable rotator. Materials functionalization and hybridization reactions, soft extraction, particles washing and separation, as well as, binding of biological components onto surface can be performed. SurfFun Lab is an adaptable area located close to the cleanroom to support devices fabrication and functionalization.