Pisa experts develop Internet of the future
Project aims to reverse Italy's 'brain drain'25 September, 17:53
Their work involves specialists from the Institute of Communication Technologies, Information, Perception (Tecip ) based in the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa, working in collaboration with researchers from the National Inter-University Consortium for Telecommunications (CNIT). According to the researchers, the Tecip laboratories are the only Italian site performing this particular work involving the design and construction of prototypes of integrated circuits using photonics. Photonics is the science of light, with an enormous range of applications in everything from telecommunications and semiconductors to medicine.
They also hope that their project, involving such advanced tools as lasers, silicon and photonics, will lead to a new Internet for the new millennium – as well as possibly helping to reverse Italy's "brain drain". The work by CNIT and the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in integrated photonics is expected to draw investments totalling more than eight million euros, which will help to finance the construction of a new workshop in the San Cataldo research facility, located a few steps from Pisa's historic centre. Funding for the 800-square-meter lab is to be provided by the Region of Tuscany and the Province of Pisa. The lab will be carefully controlled for the extremely high levels of cleanliness required for the complex processes used in developing photonic integrated circuits and devices. Proponents say the project should draw investments from industry, including companies with a particular interest in technologies that will improve the energy efficiency of telecommunications systems and reduce the size of transmission equipment – a contribution to a more green economy.
This kind of work will help to draw researchers and academics back to Italy, reversing the effects of a brain drain that has too often seen skilled Italian scientists drawn to other countries by significant research being performed outside the country, say proponents. One example is physicist Marco Romagnoli, who returned to Tuscany from Boston's acclaimed MIT to coordinate research on photonics.
The CNIT is a non-profit organization among 37 Italian universities, founded in 1995 and recognized by the ministry of universities and research.
It aims to coordinate and promote theoretical research and application in cooperation with national and international companies and industries, as well as perform advanced training in the field of telecommunications.