University of CalabriaHRS4RUniversity of CalabriaHRS4R
University of CalabriaHRS4R
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STAR - Southern Europe Thomson Back-Scattering Source for Applied Research, is a national research infrastructure that provides advanced scientific investigation services in all fields of materials science.

The infrastructure is equipped with a high-energy X ray source, whose penetrating power allows the investigation – by means of ultra-high-resolution tridimensional images – of the internal structure of materials either used in the biological and biomedical field or composing archaeological finds up to advanced materials employed in engineering or nanotechnologies.

STAR is integrated with a system of service labs for the characterization, preparation and physical prototyping of materials. The services provided by STAR are typical of large facilities, but with lower costs with at least one order of magnitude.

Organizzazione dei laboratori dell'infrastruttura di ricerca STAR/MaTeRiA

STAR has a 3-level structure.

STAR-Lab (1st level): it is the core of STAR and it is located in an ad-hoc building on the campus. It houses a powerfulnewly-developed X ray source with an experimental station of microtomography (μTomo). Two new, high- and low-energy beamlines are being developed, along with two additional experimental stations: SoftX, for the investigations on biological, polymeric and composite materials and µTomo2, for materials in the mechanical field, electronics and cultural heritage.

Service labs (2nd level): these are six labs for applied research that connect STAR with the Department labs at the University of Calabria. They are the Lab for materials characterization (LCM); the Lab for physical Prototyping (LPF); the Lab for Modeling, Simulation and Visualization (LMSV); the Lab for Materials Preparation (LPM); the Lab for Advanced Spectroscopy of Materials (LSAM); and the Lab for the preparation of Biological Samples (LPCB). 

Departmental Labs (3rd level): the network of department labs at the University of Calabria, provides users with info that integrates the findings from the X ray beamline of the STAR source with those of 2nd level Labs.

The project of the STAR “source” and the system of supporting Labs at the University of Calabria (originally named MaTeRiA project) was developed in 2011 with a partnership between Unical and the National Inter-University Consortium of physical sciences of matter (CNISM). It was then launched in 2012 with a major financing (about 15 million Euro) obtained through a competitive tendering of the National Operational Program Research 2007-2013.

The National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste helped in the executive design and implementation of START. In addition to the STAR source, the buildings housing the 1st and 2nd level Labs were built and they were provided with the scientific and technological equipment of the Technological Pole and of the Departments. The establishment of the Research Structure at the University of Calabria, was officialized in 2016, upon completion of the project.

In 2017, the National Plan for Research Infrastructures, included STAR in a list of 18 infrastructures of national interest. The new tendering of the National Plan for Research and Innovation 2014-2020 Action II.1 (the STAR2 project with a financial allocation of 17.5 million Euro) financed the new beamline and the new experimental stations and enabled to upgrade the equipment of the service labs. The new organization, which will be developed with the supervision and the support of the INFN National Labs of Frascati and of Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, will be completed at the end of 2022.

In 2020, the Regional Operational Plan Calabria 2014-2020 supported the training of specialized professionals for the management of the infrastructure and the promotion of its services.

In 2021, with the consolidation of the start-up project in partnership with the University, CNISM donated the X-ray source to Unical and entrusted the university with the task of completing its development and management.


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Strutture di ricerca

Campus Unical, via Tito Flavio