The ICTP MLAB promotes interdisciplinary experimental activities based on advanced instruments and methods developed in basic physics research. The aim of this programme is to stimulate synergic cooperation with other research laboratories in the Trieste area as well as at national and international levels. MLab activities include scientific instrumentation development, novel detector and electronic circuit design and prototyping, X-ray imaging and accelerator-based analytical techniques. The goal is also to involve visiting scientists and PhD students from developing countries in hands-on activities, including:
- ICTP-INFN Microprocessor Laboratory: Microprocessors and microelectronics have brought about a revolution in computer science, manufacturing, and telecommunications, as well as in space and high-energy physics. To ensure that scientists from developing countries have access to this technology, ICTP, in collaboration with the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), and other partners such as CERN and Actel Corp., offers courses on microelectronics and their applications in physics and experimental research. The Microprocessor Laboratory has cutting-edge technological alternatives for the design of instrumentation, including classical board-level design using microprocessors and programmable hardware logic devices, and the design of application-specific integrated circuits.
- Plasma-Focus Laboratory: The Plasma-Focus Laboratory explores applications in materials, medical and plasma sciences using a plasma-focus device, a relatively inexpensive, non-radioactive, compact, and efficient source of plasma and radiation. The Dense Plasma Focus device (DPF) applications include characterization of nano-technology materials; dynamical defectoscopy of fast moving or rotating objects (such as tyres and airplane turbines), materials testing, explosives and other illicit materials detection, and production of isotopes for medical diagnosis and cancer therapy.
- X-ray Imaging Laboratory: The Imaging Laboratory uses X-rays to study artefacts, and also offers non-destructive analysis methods for disciplines ranging from material sciences to geology. With recent funding from the local government of Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Laboratory is developing a compact portable device based on X-ray fluorescence for the in-situ, non-destructive, chemical characterization of a wide range of materials of interest to cultural heritage.
- Accelerator Mass Spectrometry: Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is an analytical technique that measures carbon-14 and long-lived radionuclides to give accurate dates for archaeology and cultural heritage studies; AMS is also widely used in biomedical research. By collaborating with Italy's top AMS facilities in Caserta, ICTP provides access for scientists from developing countries to use advanced equipment that cannot be found in their home countries.
For more details about MLab research and activities, see the MLab website.