About Us

Welcome! The Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (ISTP) deals with theoretical and experimental research in the field of dynamics of laboratory and natural plasmas. Activities range from controlled thermonuclear fusion to the physics of low temperature plasmas, astrophysical plasmas and aerospace research, including studies on the interaction of plasmas with particle beams, electromagnetic radiation and materials.

ISTP was established in April 2019 during the process of reorganization of the network of Institutes of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) and is the result of the union of three groups that have been active in the plasma physics research for many years:

the Institute of Plasma Physics (IFP-CNR, Milan), the Institute of Ionized Gases (IGI-CNR, Padua) and the P.Las.M.I. Lab group (P.Las.M.I., Bari).

ISTP belongs to the Department of Physical Sciences and Technology of Matter of CNR and counts about 120 people, including over 80 Physicists, Engineers, Chemists and Geologists. Headquarters are in Milan, with secondary offices in Padua and Bari.

In this website you can find general information about the Institute, its internal organization, staff and contacts, the many activities underway in the frame of national and international programs and job opportunities.

News & Events


Thursday 22 April 2021 from 16.00 to 18.00
Virtual platform. See webinar

Participation is free, upon registration on the webinar website

For further information on the event, do not hesitate to contact Monica Favaro, ICMATE Padova, by writing to the email een@adr.pd.cnr.it

Organized by:
Hanzehogeschool Groeningen


Mission, Organization and Partnerships


CNR established the Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (ISTP) in 2019.

The scientific and technological expertise of the Institute or Plasma Physics ‘P. Caldirola’ (IFP-CNR) in Milan, of the Istitute of Ionized Gases (IGI-CNR-CRFX) in Padua and part of the Institute of Nanotechnology (NANOTEC) in Bari were merged together in ISTP. ISTP is therefore characterized by a broad spectrum of competences in plasma physics and technology, covering:

  • controlled thermonuclear fusion;
  • design, construction and operation of thermonuclear fusion devices;
  • low temperature plasmas and their applications;
  • plasmas for aerospace;
  • astrophysical and space plasmas;
  • plasma interaction with particle beams, electromagnetic radiation, materials and related applications.

The Institute is distributed in three locations

  • the Milan Headquarters, in the CNR Research Area 3 of Milan, 
  • the Padua Secondary Office, in the CNR Research Area of Padua.
  • the Bari Secondary Office, in the CNR Research Area of Bari.

Research Activities

Plasma physics and thermonuclear fusion

Research activities on Thermonuclear Fusion aim at the realization and scientific success of ITER, the international experimental reactor in construction in Cadarache (France), of its satellite JT60-SA (Japan) and at the conceptual design of DEMO, the first demonstration fusion reactor.

Since 2014, within the Horizon 2020 framework program (FP8), ISTP has been a member of the EUROfusion European Consortium for Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion research. ISTP contributes to the Consortium activities in many Work Packages and Enabling Research projects.

In the framework of the Broader Approach programme, ISTP contributes to the construction of the Japanese tokamak JT-60SA, to the preparation of the experimental operation and to the design of two diagnostics.

ISTP participates in the experimental campaigns of the main European tokamaks, including JET (UK), ASDEX (D) and TCV (CH) and supports experiments with theoretical studies, modeling, numerical simulations and data analysis on plasma physics and fusion science.

Neutral Beam Injection (NBI) and Electron Cyclotron Resonance Heating (ECRH) are studied as additional heating systems for ITER plasma.
ISTP participates in the design of an ECRH antenna and the gyrotron source for Electron Cyclotron waves and in the design of gamma ray diagnostics.
In Padova, the RFX Consortium is designing and constructing the ITER 1 MeV NBI prototype.

Activities on the above topics, as well on the plasma-wall interaction and on the divertor are carried out in support of DTT, the Italian tokamak under construction at ENEA in Frascati.

The RFX-mod2 toroidal machine is being developed in Padua for studies on the physics and technology of plasmas in a magnetic configuration called Reversed Field Pinch. The flexibility of the experiment allows scientific exploitation in both RFP and tokamak configurations with several outcomes for the scientific community.

In Milan, the linear device GyM is in operation for experimental plasma wall interaction studies.

An intense research activity is devoted to the theoretical-experimental investigation on non-equilibrium plasmas, i.e. gas discharges, hypersonic flows and laser-induced plasmas, with kinetic simulation codes developed in-house, including state-specific data calculated for elementary processes in volume and at the surface, and advanced diagnostic techniques. This expertise allows the characterization of plasmas of interest for different fields like aerospace (heat load on Thermal Protection System of space vehicles re-entering the atmosphere, electric propulsion and hypersonic flights), astrochemistry, plasma technologies (innovative materials, CO2 reduction, plasma medicine and agriculture), fusion (negative ion sources for neutral beam injection, divertor region and plasma-wall interaction), environment and cultural heritage (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy multi-elemental analysis, also in situ). Interesting results are obtained in the study of nonlinear processes for the dynamics of astrophysical plasmas.  


Plasma and applications

ISTP has an internationally acknowledged expertise in the field of plasma physics and chemistry and relevant applications, like the Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion with magnetic confinement for plasma heating and related technologies, negative ion sources, low-temperature plasmas for application in aerospace, energetics, medicine, agriculture, innovative materials, environment, cultural heritage, and plasmas for astrophysics.


Milan, Padua and Bari


The linear device GyM (Gyrotron Machine) is running for experimental studies of plasma-materials interaction. The experiments cover various phenomenologies, like studies of turbulence and coherent structures typical of the tokamak periphery, instabilities associated with drift waves and studies of the electron velocity distribution function. High density plasmas also allow the study of the interaction between energy ions and the surfaces of materials, opening up the possibility to characterize processes of high technological interest, particularly for fusion science.

Other laboratories (microwave, neutron diagnostics, cold plasmas) are operational for component development, process characterization and surface analysis, with high potential impact in fusion technology.


A test and development facility for the optimization of the neutral beam injection system for plasma heating in ITER (the  Neutral Beam Test Facility – NBTF)  is under construction in Padova, under Conosrzio RFX responsibility. The plant host the prototype of the 1:1 H/D negative ion source (SPIDER), in operation since 2018, and the prototype of the 1:1  neutral beam injector (MITICA) which will accelerate a 40 A negative ion beam up to 1 MeV, to power ITER with 17 MW pulses (with duration up to 1 h). In order to increase the production of negative ions, two Caesium ovens have been installed in SPIDER.


Experiments for detecting excited energy levels of atoms and molecules in plasmas are running in our Bari laboratory, in particular:

  • Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF) / Two Photon Absorption LIF (TALIF)
  • Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)
  • Coherent Antistokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS)
  • Cavity Ring Dowm spectroscopy (CRDS)

An MWPECVD (Microwave Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition) laboratory is also operational.


Addresses and contacts of ISTP Offices



c/o ARM 3 Milano Bicocca
Via Roberto Cozzi 53 – 20125 Milan (MI) 
Phone: + 39 02 66173238
Fax: +39 02 66173239


Secondary Office

c/o Area della Ricerca di Padova
Corso Stati Uniti, 4 – 35127  Padua (PD) 
Phone: +39 049 8295033
Fax: +39 049 8295671


Secondary Office

c/o Area della Ricerca di Bari
Via Amendola, 122/D – 70126 Bari (BA) 
Phone: +39 080 5929507
Fax: +39 080 5929520