Mapping matter & physical space

Imaging at the Interface     

Looking at the interfaces is very important for many biological and chemical applications: from the imaging of thin polymeric films to the study of cell/substrate interactions. Total Internal Reflection (TIR) and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) are usually the techniques of choice when high sensitivity of measurement is required. They yield information about few hundreds of nanometers from the contact surface and had proven themselves as a good tool for the characterization of thin films, cellular focal adhesions and biomolecular binding events, both using fluorescent markers or in a label-free fashion. We focus on designing and building new optical setups, which exploit the capabilities of Total Internal Reflection and Surface Plasmon Resonance Microscopy in combination with Digital Holography to achieve further insight on phenomena at the interface.

People:

Melania Paturzo

Alejandro Calabuig Barroso

Biagio Mandracchia

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DHM-TIR phase-contrast image of onion cells (left) and Holographic SPR reconstruction of photoresist stripes (right).

Looking through Turbid Media    

In many practical applications, it is not possible to image the object of interest avoiding the presence of scattering sources. Often the amount of noise is such that it is impossible to form any image. Optical imaging through turbid media has many potential uses, from homeland security to microscopic particle research. In a turbid liquid, the dispersed particles provoke light scattering, impairing the image formation by any standard optical system. On the contrary, imaging by digital holography (DH) is possible in both amplitude and phase. Consequently, the particles or cells can be clearly imaged even in a scattering liquid flow, thus circumventing the severe limitation caused by the presence of the turbid medium.

People:

Melania Paturzo

Vittorio Bianco

Pasquale Memmolo

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Lab-on-a-chip Diagnostic Tools

Lately, one of the challenges for general healthcare is the realization of portable and cheap devices for fast and accurate diagnosis. Lab-on-a-Chips have undergone a great growth in this direction, seeking the integration of different laboratory tasks in small and easy-to-use diagnostic tools. In this framework, we employ Digital Holography (DH) as powerful imaging technique for lab-on-chip applications allowing quantitative, high resolution, and marker-free investigation of biological unstained samples. The Optical Tweezers (OT) capabilities are combined with DH microscopy in a unique optofluidic platform, able to provide quantitative information about the morphology, the volume and the mechanical properties of different kinds of cells. In particular, 3D reconstruction provides accurate biovolume estimation and 3D rendering of spermatozoa and Red Blood Cells (RBCs), very important for biomedical and diagnostic purposes.

People:

Melania Paturzo

Lisa Miccio

Francesco Merola

Martina Mugnano

Vittorio Bianco

Pasquale Memmolo

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3D reconstruction for biovolume estimation of discocyte RBC

Far-Infrared Digital Holography  

Digital Holography at far-infrared wavelengths has considerable advantages that make it very flexible and useful for recording human-sized objects. Thanks to the new generation of commercially available infrared detectors and CO2 lasers, Holography goes out of the laboratory and straight into the real world. Vision through smoke and flames and large areas imaging for security and non-destructive testing are just few of the many applications we aim to develop to bring Holography into everyday life.

People:

Melania Paturzo

Lisa Miccio

Vittorio Bianco

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Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry for Cultural Heritage Diagnostics

Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry (ESPI) is a high sensitivity, non-contact and non-destructive testing technique. Thanks to its features, ESPI is a perfect diagnostic tool in the field of Cultural Heritage, on almost any surface and material. The object under examination is simply illuminated by a low intensity laser light and does not need any handling or sample collection. ESPI provides sub-micrometric capacities in evaluating global structural distortions as well as localized displacements, micro-cracks, hidden detachments and flaws, usually produced by   microclimate variations. The ESPI output consists of an interference fringes-pattern (Interferogram) overlaid onto the image of the object under testing. PC based numerical methods allow for, high spatial resolution, quantitative measurements. In our laboratory, we are utilizing the ESPI technique for long-term survey on distinct objects of Cultural Heritage interest. Usually it is very difficult to move an artwork from its locations to a laboratory. We implemented a portable system intended for in-situ utilization. In this case, the setting vibrations produce unpredictable fringe distortions. However, an adequate number of interferograms, usable for retrieving suitable measurements, can be randomly found. We carry out continuous acquisitions of a large number of consecutive interferograms.  From the recorded sequences, useful frames are selected by a specific PC based method that we developed.

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People:

Melania Paturzo

Giovanni Arena

Vito Pagliarulo

Tiziana Russo

Full field optical techniques for NDI to prevent structural components failure

Within the study of advanced materials such as composites, hybrid and metal alloys, with applications in technologically strategic areas such as aerospace and aeronautical, the possibility of non-destructive structural analysis, detection of damages, imperfections and the study of mechanical dynamics is a determining factor. The diagnostic and inspection optical techniques are a consolidated but in continuous development tool that combines sensitivity, speed and scalability of the measurement even at full field. Holographic techniques, such as Digital Holography or Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry, are suitable to reveal barely visible damage, residual stress or cracks at the beginning stage. They meet the industrial request to improve the overall quality and to reduce the costs allowing a smart structural characterization of advanced materials and a fast, full field inspection also directly on the aircraft.

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Typical fringes pattern to reveal barely visible damage due to an impact

People:

Vito Pagliarulo

Tiziana Russo

V. Pagliarulo et al. Impact damage investigation on composite laminates: comparison among different NDT methods and numerical simulation Meas. Sci. Technol. 26 (2015) 085603 (9pp)

Applied thermography and IR Imaging

The research unit deals with Thermography and IR imaging in different sectors of Science and Technology. In particular, we developed expertize ranging from Medicine to Materials sciences, from cultural heritage to agriculture, from security to environmental monitoring, from energy saving to industrial inspection. In Medicine, we have developed a new 2-D approach, based on Thermal Infrared Imaging, for monitoring and optimizing the laser-therapy in dermatology. We employ IR imaging in order to select and optimize the laser treatment parameters for patients affected by plane angioma.We use Thermal Infrared Imaging to perform non-invasive analysis on plants and leaves. Using cameras ranging from NIR to long wave infrared, we have the possibility to collect important parameters of plant physiology such as transpiration rates, heat capacity per unit area of the leaf, associated to water need of the plant. In this way, we can study the behavior of a plant suffering a stress induced by external parameters (temperature, humidity, wind and water) or diseases. Due to the negative correlation between transpiration rate and leaf temperature, digital infrared thermography allows an indirect visualization of a potential stress. Through this approach, we can analyze the health state of plants and adjust parameters that could affect the quality and quantity of the crop.

           rippa1                                 rippa2IR imaging of laser treatment on patient with plane angioma.

      rippa3Thermal image showing a disease in a leaf (a) compared with a picture  in the visible range

Responsabile dell’attività: Massimo Rippa

Collaboratori della commessa: Pasquale Mormile, Lucia Petti

Projects

These activities are being developed in collaboration with Department of Agriculture of the University of Naples “Federico II”, the Italian Research Centre for Agriculture (CRA), and IPCB-CNR.

  • Project PSR Campania Misura 124 (HC), “RISIDRA – Risparmio idrico in agricoltura mediante film plastici fotoselettivi e microorganismi benefici”, 2013-2015

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

  1. Laser-tissue photothermal interaction: a thermal infrared imaging study

Massimo Rippa, Giuseppe Monfrecola, Antonello Baldo, Arcangelo Merla, Lucia Petti, Pasquale Mormile. Thermology international, 23(4) 164-174 (2013). ISSN-1560-604X

  1. Monitoring of the degradation dynamics of agricultural films by IR thermography.
  2. Mormile, L. PETTI, M. Rippa, B. Immirzi, M. Malinconico, G. Santagata. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 92, 777-784 (2007).
  3. Infrared (IR) image analysis as a new experimental approach for measuring waveguide losses.
  4. Rippa, L. Petti, P. Mormile. Measurement Science and Technology, 20, 095706 (2009).

Study and characterization of New Materials and Innovative systems for Agro-Food

The research activity is focused on the analysis of light impact in agriculture through plastic films and on innovative systems and new methodologies for the improvement of agronomical productions. In particular, we investigate optical and thermo-optical properties of photo-selective plastic films, used in agriculture, and we study the contribution of each component of solar radiation, mainly UV-B and Vis parts, to the plants growth. We deal also with the monitoring of the effects of bio-materials, employed for the reduction of chemicals in agriculture. Our research activity in this sector is supported by thermography, IR imaging, UV-VIS spectrophotometry and colorimetry.

Water Condensation effect under different mulches

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Responsabile dell’attività: Pasquale Mormile

Collaboratori della commessa: Lucia Petti, Massimo Rippa

Projects

These activities are being developed in collaboration with Department of Agriculture of the University of Naples “Federico II”, the Italian Research Centre for Agriculture (CRA),  and IPCB-CNR.

  • Project PSR Campania Misura 124 (HC), “RISIDRA – Risparmio idrico in agricoltura mediante film plastici fotoselettivi e microorganismi benefici”, 2013-2015;
  • MIUR PON R&C (PON03PE_00106_1, “MAREA – Materiali avanzati per la ricerca ed il comparto agroalimentare), 2013-2015;
  • Joint Project  by Agreement Italy-China, CNR/CAAS Cooperative Program, MIRA –Study on the function of special plastic films for saving water in Agriculture”,  2014-2016.
  • Progetto bando OIGA del Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali “Cooperazione per lo sviluppo di nuovi prodotti, processi e tecnologie nei settori agricolo e alimentare e settore forestale”, (Misura 2 Fondi 2011), dal Titolo: “Materiali biodegradabili e mezzi di controllo biologico innovativi per miglioramento dell’efficacia della solarizzazione del terreno e del controllo delle malerbe negli ortaggi da foglia destinati alla IV gamma” (MABISCOMBI). PI: Mario Malinconico. Responsabile unità ICIB-CNR P. Mormile. Annualità 2014-2015, approvato (Fondi per CNR 22.380 Euro)

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

  1. Photo-Reflective Mulches and Beneficial Microbes for Saving Water in Agriculture. Mormile, M. Rippa, G. Bonanomi, F. Scala, C. Yan, L. Petti. Icafus 2015, Amsterdam 14-15 Maggio.
  2. Monitoring of the degradation dynamics of agricultural films by IR thermography. Mormile, L. PETTI, M. Rippa, B. Immirzi, M. Malinconico, G. Santagata. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 92, 777-784 (2007).
  3. Light filtering by innovative plastic films for mulching and soil solarization. Mormile, R. Capasso, M. Rippa and L. Petti. Acta horticulturae 1015 113-121 (2014).
  4. Ultrathin a-Si PV panel for greenhouse: preliminary trials in Italy. Pasquale Mormile, Antonio Coletta and Paolo Petrella, Acta Horticulturae 1015, 2013.
  5. A combined system for a more efficient soil solarization. P. Mormile, M. Rippa and L. Petti. Plasticulture 10 (132), 44-55 (2013).
  6. Physical behaviour of biodegradabile alginate-polyvinylalcohol blend films. Russo, M. Malinconico, L PETTI, G. Romano. J. Polym. Sci. Phys. Ed., 43, 10, pp1205-1213 (2005).
  7. Blends of Polyvinylalcohol and Funcionalised Polycaprolactone – A Study on the Melt Estrusion and Post-cure of films Suitable for Protected cultivation. Malinconico, B. Immirzi, M. La Mantia, S. Massenti, P. Mormile, L. PETTI. J. of  Materials Science, 37, pp. 4973-4978 (2002).
  8. Preparation, physico-chemical characterisation and optical analysis of polyvinylalcohol-based films suitable for protected cultivation. De Prisco, B. Immirzi, M. Malinconico, P. Mormile, L. PETTI, G. Gatta. J. of Applied Polymer Science, 86, pp 622-632, (2002).