Born: August 21, 1956, Catania, Italy
Academic Qualification: 1980 - Degree in Physics at the University of Catania
- Researcher of Physics at Faculty of Engineering, Catania University, since February 1985
- Assistant Professor of Physics at Faculty of Engineering, Catania University, since November 1992
- Associate Professor of Experimental Physics at Faculty of Engineering, Catania University, since November 2002
Publications: more than 100 papers on international journals and scientific books.
- Optical properties of surfaces for thermal conversion of solar energy.
- Interaction of electromagnetic waves and rough metal surfaces.
- Diffraction gratings as generators of sub-millimeter waves.
- Spontaneous and photo-induced ultra-weak photon emission from living systems.
- Non chemical intercellular communication.
- Theoretical model of delayed luminescence.
- Application of delayed luminescence in agriculture, ecology and medicine.
- Development of innovative instrumentation for single photon measurements.
Her Topic of Materials' Days 2010:
Delayed Luminescence as an intrinsic probe to investigate cellís state
The term Delayed Luminescence (DL) refers to the prolonged ultra-weak emission of optical photons from biological and other material on being illuminated. By nature it is extremely polyphasic and is inherently a low-level signal, so prone to noise contamination.
Biological materials are extremely complex and complicated systems that exhibit a non-trivial order, are relatively stable but far from equilibrium and have extraordinary dielectric properties. Accordingly, long-range interactions have relevant role in the biological activity, leading to collective properties of the whole biological multicomponent systems, thus creating functional order.
The idea is that due to the long time involved, from measurements of DL one may gather information about energy transfer pathways from more distant molecules, so taking into account for long-range interactions along the biological ordered structure.
As a matter of fact the application of a Davydov solitons model, describing self-trapped localized electron or exciton states in soft biological macromolecules, succeeded in explain DL arising from simple biological systems as unicellular algae and collagen samples.
So experimental and theoretical study on DL kinetics can open new horizons in the interpretation of the energy and information transfer mechanisms in biological systems.
Starting from the first phenomenological results and the improvements of the experimental apparatus able to reveal such low level signal, through theoretical approaches and experimental results obtained on plant and human cells, the correlation between the parameters of the DL and the organized structure of the system will be pointed out.
Moreover the use of DL as analysis technique in water pollution, food quality and non invasive clinical diagnosis will be addressed.