The Institute for Plasma Science and Technology – ISTP is a CNR institute, founded in April 2019, joining three CNR research groups that have been active in plasma physics research for many decades.
ISTP counts about 120 staff people, including over 80 Physicists, Engineers, Chemists and Geologists, 25% of which are female scientists.
ISTP belongs to the Department of Physical Sciences and Technology of Matter of CNR (DSFTM). Headquarters are located in Milano, with three research units, in Milano, Padova and Bari. Each site has its own laboratories, experiments and premises. The majority of ISTP personnel in Padova is seconded to Consorzio RFX.
With the foundation of ISTP, the scientific and technological expertise of the Institute or Plasma Physics ‘Piero Caldirola’ (IFP-CNR) in Milano, of the Institute of Ionized Gases (IGI-CNR) in Padova and of the P.Las.M.I. Lab within the Institute of Nanotechnology (NANOTEC-CNR) in Bari were merged together in a single institute.
Thus, CNR has integrated most of its plasma science and technology expertise in ISTP, which can now boast a broad spectrum of competences to address the institute mission.
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 space and astrophysical plasmas.
We investigate physical processes in magnetically confined plasmas and design facilities with the ultimate goal to produce energy from the fusion of light atomic nuclei – like in the sun.
We investigate LTP by a State-to-State Multiscale approach to go from the elementary processes to the modelling down to diagnostics and different experimental applications.
We perform theoretical, numerical and experimental studies of solar, heliospheric and astrophysical plasmas. We provide numerical modeling of aerospace plasmas, focusing on planetary entry and plasma propulsion systems.
The research groups in Milano, Padova and Bari have a long tradition in Plasma Science with activities that started in the sixties.
In Milano and Padova the main focus has been on magnetically confined plasmas of relevance for thermonuclear fusion, while in Bari on Plasma Chemistry and Physics.
The scientific and administrative direction of the institute is located in Milano. A deputy is in charge in Bari, appointed by the Director of the Institute. Research activities in Padova are carried out within the RFX Consortium.
The Board of the Institute represents the ISTP scientific community and expresses views and formulates proposals on the development of skills, progress of research activities, on the mission of the institute.
In the field of fusion research, a well-established network is in place since many years, and ISTP is part of it. Scientific collaborations are active with Italian research institutions, in particular ENEA, and with international organizations, as Consortium EUROfusion, Fusion for Energy agency and ITER International Organization. Within the fusion network, ISTP researchers collaborate with many research institutes, participating to experimental campaigns, analyzing data, performing simulations and conducting theoretical research, at various fusion sites in Europe and around world.
Scientific collaboration, joint projects and visiting exchange are active with many national and international research institutes in the fields of space and astrophysical plasmas, aerospace plasmas and low-temperature plasmas. Agreements are in place with industrial partners in the field of aerospace.
CNR is partner of Consorzio RFX since it was established in 1996. ISTP personnel in Padova is almost all seconded to RFX, thus strongly contributing to the its scientific and technological activities.
CNR recently joined the DTT S.c. a r.l. as a partner. ISTP researchers are contributing to the design and realization of this new experiment providing an extraordinary wide spectrum of expertise to tackle its theoretical, scientific and technological challenges in strong synergy with the research community.