Funding

CBN finances its research activities on the base of competitive funding from European, national and international institutions (horizon 2020, american national institute of health, etc). Moreover its vocation to develop applied reasearch allows the centre to participate to collaborative projects with private companies to develop techonologies transfer and push for innovative products in enterprises and startups.

Here a list of running projects:

MODEM: Multipoint Optical DEvices for Minimally invasive neural circuits interface

2016 - 2021: financed by EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC). A primary goal of experimental neuroscience is to dissect the neural microcircuitry underlying brain function, ultimately to link specific neural circuits to behavior. There is widespread agreement that innovative new research tools are required to better understand the incredible structural and functional complexity of the brain. To this aim, optical techniques based on genetically encoded neural activity indicators and actuators have represented a revolution for experimental neuroscience, allowing genetic targeting of specific classes of neurons and brain circuits. However, for optical approaches to reach their full potential, we need new generations of devices better able to interface with the extreme complexity and diversity of brain topology and connectivity. (Project MODEM on CORDIS database)

This project aspires to develop innovative technologies for multipoint optical neural interfacing with the mammalian brain in vivo. The limitations of the current state-of-the-art will be surmounted by developing a radically new approach for modal multiplexing and de-multiplexing of light into a single, thin, minimally invasive tapered optical fiber serving as a carrier for multipoint signals to and from the brain. This will be achieved through nano- and micro-structuring of the taper edge, capitalizing on the photonic properties of the tapered waveguide to precisely control light delivery and collection in vivo. This general approach will propel the development of innovative new nano- and micro-photonic devices for studying the living brain.

The main objectives of the proposals are:

1) Development of minimally invasive technologies for versatile, user-defined optogenetic control over deep brain regions;

2) Development of fully integrated high signal-to- noise-ratio optrodes;

3) Development of minimally invasive technologies for multi-point in vivo all-optical “electrophysiology” through a single waveguide;

4) Development of new optical methodologies for dissecting brain circuitry at small and large scale

Design and characterisation of a Parylene-based coating process for Ultrasonic probe fabrication

2016 – 2018: The purpose of the collaboration will be the provision of services for the characterization of tribological and adhesion properties of Parylene layers deposited on soft materials (e.g. polyurethane-ether and / or silicon RTV).

The project will aim at validating an industrializable Parylene deposition process for the manufacture of acoustic probes for applications in ultrasound imaging.

In collaboration with ESAOTE.


Energy harvesting in marine environment

2017 – 2019: Development of innovative technologies in the field of energy conversion in marine environment. In collaboration with ENEL Green Power.

Production of innovative methods to generate and store electric energy by marine water motion. In particular, we are interested in the realization of a compact and low-visual impact Aluminun Nitride (AlN)-based, flexible, piezoelectric harvester, capable of generating electrical power from the action of water currents and the energy of waves.

In collaboration with ENEL Green Power.


Nanoplatforms for enhanced immune responses

2017 – 2020: financed by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. The present research project falls in the subject area of nanomaterials for medicine and health-care.

Specifically, we intend to take advantage of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) as multivalent platforms to prepare putative nanovaccines by synthesizing:

1) AuNPs displaying two different carbohydrate antigens arranged in a controlled fashion on a single nanoparticle, which have the potential to target simultaneously distinct serotypes of a single bacterial species;

2) AuNPs where the monolayer has been engineered to include also a peptide, acting as a T-helper cell epitope;

3) In a more complex evolution, three-components AuNPs comprising also an immunostimulating compound, as a built-in adjuvant or immune potentiator, targeting the innate immune cells.

REM: Recover of Energy from fluid Mechanics for internet of things and remote sensing

2017 - 2020: financed by Horizon 2020– PON 2014/2020. The project aims to develop a recovery system of kinetic energy and make it immediately available to day-to-day applications (wearable devices, low-power actuators, low-range wireless transmitters). The proposed system is based on recyclable and environmentally friendly materials, which uses extremely flexible piezoelectric devices and a very small size to recover kinetic energy from gaseous fluids (wind, gas pipelines and air currents), but also by the movement of liquids (motions Waves, sea and river currents) with virtually no environmental and visual impact.

The ultimate demonstrator will consist of a Remote, Wireless and Powerless IoT node (Internet of Things) inserted into the exhaust gas current emitted by an automobile muffler, with sensing capabilities (temperature, accelerometers, gyroscopes, proximity, concentration of chemical species for Pollution measures ...) and periodic transmission of the data to a collection station.

Novel optrodes for large-scale electrophysiology and site-specific stimulation

2015 – 2018: The project target is to develop, implement, and test new devices for large scale recording and optogenetic manipulation of neurons in the rodent and non-human primate brain.

The project is funded by National Institute of Health (USA).

BRAINBIT - All-optical brain-to-brain behaviour and information transfer

2016 – 2019: financed by EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC). The goal of this project is to establish a novel paradigm of brain-to-brain communication based on direct full-optical recording and controlled stimulation of neuronal activity in different subjects.

WiNOT - Wireless Networks through on-chip Optical Technology

2017 – 2020: financed by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. This project aims at demonstrating wireless nano and micro scale optical communication through nanoantennas integrated in optical Networks on Chip (NoC), to achieve unprecedented improvements of computational efficiency of upcoming Chip Multi Processors (CMPs).

To demonstrate the feasibility of optical wireless link for on-chip integration, the WiNOT Project will focus on the:

- wireless link design by devoloping integrated theoretical/numerical tools suitable for the design of optical nanoantennas, the modelling of the intra-chip wireless propagation channel and both the analysis and the optimization of on-chip wireless optical networks;

- fabrication and characterization of optical wireless links in simple point-to-point and more advanced point-to-multipoint configurations thus showing the effectiveness of the proposed solution for CMP communications;

- network design and optimization.