The use of science for the conservation of cultural heritage is nowadays widespread. Many studies have been conducted on artworks made of single materials (e.g. paintings, stones, metals). However, a novel research field is rising among European conservation scientists: the characterisation and conservation of composite artefacts. This project will be focused on composite artworks made of painted metal. Indeed, the particular use of metals as “canvas” has never been investigated even though many masterpieces were created using this technique. Known are the degradation mechanisms occurring to metal artefacts as well as to paints as single materials. However, rare studies about painted metals and paint-metal interactions have been undertaken so far. Indeed, there is an extended lack of knowledge about the degradation processes that occur on such artefacts and about the conservation methodology to adopt. The project INTERFACE (paINTed mEtal aRteFActs ConsErvation) aims to fill this lack of scientific information, having two main objectives: 1. The characterisation of the degradation mechanisms, with particular attention to the processes occurring at the paint-metal interface; 2. The development of a conservation methodology to preserve both paint film and metal substrate. In particular, the decay mechanisms and the conservation approaches of copper and iron/low carbon steel as substrates decorated with linseed oil paints and lacquers will be investigated. The first phase of the project will focus its attention on the permeation of the paint film, on the metal corrosion processes (e.g. differential aeration, cathodic delamination) and on the interaction between the binder fatty acids and the metal substrate at their interface. For the first time the interface area between the paint film and the metallic support will be characterized at micro and nano-scale. The second phase will be devoted to the development of a conservation methodology for painted metal artworks.
OUTNANO is about developing a new generation of nanophotonic devices by exploiting ultrafast dynamics of electrons driven out-of-equilibrium. Photonic sciences profoundly impact our society, enabling the development of high-technology devices that are currently employed in our daily life: DVD players, LEDs, laser printers, barcode scanners, displays, sensors, optical fibres, medical equipment and many others. Among the future frontiers of photonics, the achievement of ultraviolet lasers, compact white-light sources, and on-the-chip signal processing play a crucial role for several applications, e.g., all-optical computing, spectroscopy, imaging techniques, bio-sensing, cancer treatment, dental surgery, and micro-machining. Extreme exploitation of optical nonlinearities in nanophotonic components is fundamentally important in tackling these challenges, as frequency conversion mechanisms can be enhanced to generate ultraviolet radiation. Besides, optical nonlinearity enables active controlling of light by means of light, a basic requirement for developing all-optical devices. The high field enhancement provided by plasmonic materials and metamaterials is crucial for the full exploitation of nonlinear effects. Currently, the inherent high losses of these materials hamper their efficiency and their application in new-generation photonic devices. OUTNANO aims at tackling these challenges of nanophotonics by using ultrashort optical pulses with time duration of few femtoseconds, which drive the out-of-equilibrium electron plasma in the collisionless regime, where ohmic losses are suppressed. This novel regime enables the development of low-loss plasmonic circuits for on-chip all-optical computing and the engineering of highly nonlinear nanophotonic devices with enhanced efficiencies for generating UV radiation and for achieving ultra-compact white-light sources.
Tissue and organ failure, caused by injury or other type of damage, accounts for a large part of the health care costs in EU and U.S. Current surgical or grafting procedures are only partly successful in restoring the functions of the damaged tissues.Tissue Engineering has emerged as a rapidly expanding field for repair and regeneration of damaged tissue and organs.This involves the seeding and attachment of human cells onto a scaffold through in-vitro, or a combination of in-vitro and in-vivo. Existing scaffold fabrication techniques are time consuming and costly. We plan to take the first steps towards the commercialization of a novel system to fabricate tissue scaffolds made of Graphene Oxide (GO) in an extremely dynamical and efficient manner. The prototype consists of opto-mechanical and laser components that will be used to dynamically deform the initially flat surface consisting of a single layer of GO deposited over a porous membrane. Specifically, we will utilize a Spatial Light Modulator laser and a novel software application in order to realize a pixelated surface with the desired profile. The spatial deformation will be controlled and detected with the use of Atomic Force Microscopy. Special shapes of the asperities, i.e. local surface maxima of a rough surface, enhance adhesion over the entire surface when in contact with a biological material. Analogously to known natural surfaces with hierarchical roughness, we aim to mimic this kind of effects by using Graphene thanks to its high strength and flexibility. All in all, the goal of VANGuaRD is two-fold: (1) to establish the technical feasibility of our idea by designing and building a highly versatile prototype device that includes both hardware and software components for fabricating easily reconfigurable GO-based scaffolds using only a single substrate. (2) to establish the commercialization potential of such system by means of designing a viable and scalable business model.
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