2000: graduated in Physics, University Federico II Naples, Italy
2004: PhD in physics, Politecnico Milan, Italy
2009-2011: Visiting Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany
Associate professor of Physics Politecnico Milan, Italy and Scientific Advisor of Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI-ALPS) Szeged, Hungary.
After the first three years of my studies in Physics in Naples, I applied for an Erasmus fellowship and I had the opportunity to complete my master at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. The stay, which initially was supposed to last only six months, turned out to be much longer and I spent in Jena more than one a half year. Despite the initial strong difficulties with the language, I finally managed to let me understand (in some way…) and to complete my master thesis on the characterization of ultrashort femtosecond laser pulses. I enjoyed a lot that experience and I had the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art laser systems and to enjoy an incredible scientific freedom.
After this step and a long internal struggle, I decided to accept a PhD position in Milan at the Technical University (Politecnico) joining the ultrafast group led by Sandro De Silvestri. At that time we were still in the first phase of attosecond pulse generation and just only a few months after my start in Milan, the first experimental works on the attosecond structure of XUV radiation were published. We were among the first groups to stabilize the CEP of amplified pulses and this achievement opened up the way for a series of beautiful experiments with long and short femtosecond pulses that finally converged in the main topic of my PhD thesis.
After the completion of the PhD I remained the Politecnico as assistant professor and the subsequent four years were characterized by exciting experiments performed in large international collaborations. Together with Eric Constant and Eric Mevel from the University of Bordeaux, we demonstrated for the first time the generation of XUV continua and isolated attosecond pulses using the polarization gating technique envisaged by Paul Corkum more than 10 years before. These experiments led to (at that time) the shortest pulse ever produced (just 130 as)! Using these pulses, I was then involved in a very large (and also very long) European collaboration involving several research groups active in attosecond science. The main result of that collaboration was the first demonstration of attosecond dynamics in molecules, a price that took us almost a three-year long experimental campaign to be achieved!
I then decided that it was time to visit a new laboratory and to gain different expertise and, thanks to an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship, I joined the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg under the supervision of Joachim Ullrich and Robert Moshammer. Together with the very pleasant atmosphere of Heidelberg, I enjoyed a wonderful working situation during the two years I spent in Germany. I had the opportunity to build up and a test a Reaction Microscope and I was amazed by the complexity and high-technology involved in the construction of this machine. You can easily imagine my fear when, during the transportation of the Reaction Microscope to the laboratories at the Politecnico, I realized that one of the belt securing it to the bottom of the van went loose! For fortune nothing dramatically happened and, once arrived in Milan, the system immediately worked perfectly.
In the meanwhile, I received a large national grant to start my own attosecond laboratory at Politecnico. I took us a few years to setup everything but we finally managed to integrate the Reaction Microscope and to measure the first coincidence data.
In the meanwhile, frustrated by the poor efficiency of high-order-harmonic generation (a feeling that I guess many scientists of the network will share with me) I applied for a beamtime at the new Free Electron Laser in Italy FERMI. The scientific goal of the project was the investigation of a two-XUV–photon excitation mechanism of neon dimers, a process that I would not be not able to perform in my laboraoty. It was a very wise decision because, since then, we have been involved in several experiments at the Low-density-matter end station at FERMI. Every time the performances and the success of the experimental campaigns have increased constantly, like the friendly and nice atmosphere of the team and our colleagues in Trieste.
In the last years. I accepted a new challenge when I decided to work as Division Head of the Secondary Sources at the Extreme Light Infrastructure Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ELI-ALPS). It is really exciting to be part of the development of one of the largest laser facilities worldwide and it is really rewarding to see how an ambitious project turns out in something real.
So at the moment I am sharing my time between Milano and Szeged, with some short deviations to Trieste always looking for new and exciting experiments