Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy Seminar by Dr. Valter Sergo and Dr. Vanni Lughi of University of Trieste

Dr. Valter Sergo (left) and Dr. Vanni Lughi (right) of University of Trieste

by Marienette Morales Vega, Ph. D.

The Department of Physics of the School of Science and Engineering would like to invite you to a seminar on Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy to be held on 04 June 2018, 10:30 a.m. at Faura Hall Room 106. The seminar consists of two talks:

  • “Nanoparticles and nanostructured materials for energy applications” by Vanni Lughi, Assistant professor of Materials, University of Trieste
  • “Raman spectroscopy and surface-enhaced Raman spectroscopy as biomedical tools: Fundamentals and applications” by Valter Sergo, Full Professor of Materials Science and Chemistry at the University of Trieste

Below are the abstracts of the talks and the profiles of the speakers.

I. Nanoparticles and nanostructured materials for energy applications

Abstract. Nanoparticles can be thought as tailorable building blocks for fabricating new materials with on-demand, tunable properties–for example by assembling them in a controlled way. The final properties of the material will depend on the mesoscale architecture of the assembly as well as on the characteristics of the nanoparticles. I will review existing approaches and some of our laboratory’s efforts for designing and realizing engineered nanoparticle architectures (“engineering nanoparticles”), as well as for utilizing them to fabricate new materials for applications in photovoltaics and biomedical-related fields (“engineering ‘with’ nanoparticles”).

About the Speaker.  Vanni Lughi is an assistant professor of materials at the University of Trieste, and holds the national academic qualification (“abilitazione”) as associate professor. He received PhD and MS degrees in Materials from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he worked on functional thin films and coatings. His current research and teaching activity at the nanoMaterials & Energy Laboratory (naME Lab) focuses on nanostructured materials for energy-related applications, such as for photovoltaic cells. Recently, he started researching more systemic and interdisciplinary aspects of photovoltaic systems and renewable energy sources. Over the past few years he has led or participated in a number of energy-related projects funded by public institutions as well as private companies.

II. Raman spectroscopy and surface-enhaced Raman spectroscopy as biomedical tools: Fundamentals and applications

Abstract. In recent years the use of Raman spectroscopy and Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) for biomedical applications has been growing considerably. Intrinsically, the Raman effect is label-free and, as such, it does not introduce unwanted guests in the system under analysis. In a label-free Raman SERS approach, analytes (drugs, biomarkers, etc.) are put in contact with nanostructured metallic surfaces, (typically Au or Ag nanoparticles with suitable optical properties) generating a complex spectrum very rich in information. This fact, coupled with the rapidity of measurements and the ease of sample preparation, have paved the way for a wide spread use of these techniques in materials science, life sciences, and in medicine. In this talk an introduction to the Raman and SERS effect will be presented; then the schematic of the equipment will be outlined and then some practical case histories will be discussed: (a) Localization of hemozoin inside single red blood cells infected with malaria (Plasmodium falciparum), (b) Aging of zirconium oxide leading to catastrophic failure of ceramic hip joint prostheses, (c) Raman Mapping of the cartilage tissues and calcified cardiac valves, (d) Nanotechnologies and Raman SERS applied to quantification of low-concentration chemotherapics, and (e) Nanotechnologies, Raman SERS, and statistical analysis for screening of prostate and breast cancer.

About the Speaker. Valter Sergo is a Full Professor of Materials Science and Chemistry at the University of Trieste (Italy). He has published over 100 scientific papers, mostly in materials science and Raman spectroscopy. He has been a research associate at the University of California at Santa Barbara, at the Kyoto Institute of Technology (Japan) and has been visiting professor at the Technical University of Dresden (Germany). In the last ten years his main research focus has been on the development of medical optical diagnostic tools based on Raman spectroscopy. Presently he is one of the five Working Group leaders of the official European COST action RAMAN4CLINICS, devoted to the introduction of Raman spectroscopy in clinical practice and the member officially representing Italy in the management committee of the same EU project.

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