Thesis projects (for Laurea triennale and Laurea magistrale in Physics) on the following topics are available:

  • Development of an ion source for the efficient generation of molecular cations (both singly and doubly charged). The source should be implemented on an existing tandem mass spectrometer based on a RF octupole guide. The set-up will be used to study gas phase reactivity of ions with molecules of relevance for modelling the molecular physics of laboratory plasmas, combustion systems, planetary atmospheres and the interstellar space.
  • Experimental studies on elementary processes for molecular synthesis in extraterrestrial environments: ionic pathways for the synthesis of prebiotic molecules Titan's atmosphere.
One of the open problems in astrobiology is understanding the formation of carbon and nitrogen containing molecules because such species can be considered the building block from which biotic molecules can form. Titan is Saturn's largest moon and the only satellite in the Solar System with an extensive "Earth-like" atmosphere, largely composed of N2, with small amounts of CH4, H2 and NH3. Surprisingly, several other complex organic species (hydrocarbons, nitriles, aromatics and polyaromatics) have been discovered by the joint NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission. Titan's atmosphere is considered to be a reservoir of prebiotic molecules that serve as the springboard to life, and its study may offer a new perspective on the emergence of life on Earth. The study of Titanís organic inventory and astrobiological potential is one of the scientific goals of the new NASA/ESA Titan Saturn System Mission.
  • Experimental studies on ionic elementary processes in laboratory plasmas.