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IIT - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

  The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a Foundation created to promote excellence in research in Italy. It is open to the active participation of private organizations to encourage technological development and training in high technology. IIT aims at becoming an international center of excellence for scientific research in advanced technology, attracting contributions from researchers and experts from the world of research. Focusing on synergy and interdisciplinarity, four technological platforms (Neurosciences, Nanobiotechnologies, Drug Discovery Development and Robotics) are developing research activities with the common aim of studying humanoid technologies. The research will result in multiple industrial and social outcomes and impacts regarding various sectors such as manufacturing, medical/surgical, security, and space exploration. Currently, there are over 1100 researchers at IIT. IIT participates in the project with three research units: Nanostructures (NAST), Nanophysics (NPHYS) and Neuroscience and Brain Technologies (NBT).

The NBT department (about 120 staff members), led by Prof. Fabio Benfenati, has the objective to apply new technologies to the study of the central nervous system. The main themes investigated by NBT are: (i) cellular mechanisms of plasticity at various levels of brain complexity from individual synapses to neural networks to the live animal; (ii) experimental models of brain diseases; (iii) neuron-to-chip systems allowing the study of the basic properties of simplified neuronal networks and the implementation of new neuron-based biosensors and neuroprosthetic interfaces.


The scientific activity of the IIT Nanostructures department that Enzo Di Fabrizio coordinates spans from nanotechnology and biophotonic (including photonic crystal and plasmonic based devices) to biomedicine. Special attention is dedicated to the in situ release of drugs for tumors care, through innovative devices based in general on nanocarriers such as nanocapsules, nanoparticles and biopolymers. Additional biophotonic devices based on the SERS effect (surface Enhanced Raman Scattering) and on NEAR-INFRA (Near Field Infrared) are under development. These devices will have a sensitivity close to that of single molecules. Further scientific effort is dedicated to the drawing and to the fabrication of microfluidic devices whose aim is the quantitative study of the conditions of interaction of drugs with different cell and tissue types and to the diffusion, in the extracellular matrix. On these scientific themes, Enzo Di Fabrizio coordinates, and/or participates in different national and EU projects. During this last year, the laboratory has started an activity on low consumption eco-compatible devices and on the realization of biocompatible and bioerodible nanostructured devices for tissue engineering applications.


The Nanophysics facility, lead by Prof. Alberto Diaspro, is formed by researchers of many European and Extra-European Countries, being a strong point in its international settlement. The scientific activities of the IIT  Nanophysics facility follow two main lines, namely i) design and realization of hybrid micro-nanostructured systems ; ii) design, realization and/or utilization of advanced methods for characterizing nanostructured materials and for their nano-micro-manipulation. 

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia