Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Recent publications
This paper presents a controller for robots that balance in a vertical plane on a rolling contact on a flat horizontal surface. It is an extension of Featherstone's balance controller to the case of robots that balance on rounded feet or wheels. Simulation results demonstrate the ability of the new controller to balance an inverted double pendulum on a rolling contact and to balance a Segway- like wheeled robot and make it follow a motion command signal. Experimental validation is provided on an underactuated inverted double pendulum robot.
The relationship between decision-making and emotions has been extensively studied in both theoretical and empirical research. Game Theory-based paradigms utilizing socio-economic and trust-based contexts have been established to elicit specific emotional responses in autistic individuals. Serious games, incorporating cohesive storylines and multiple interactions within these contexts, can serve as engaging tools for emotion elicitation in autistic individuals. As autistic adolescents tend to show higher engagement with games, we aimed to investigate applicability in this population. To achieve this, we developed a mobile serious game that combines four socio-economic and trust-based game paradigms, aiming to evoke specific emotions of varying intensities during different interactions. This paper presents the outcomes of a preliminary experiment involving thirteen participants. The results show that the game’s designed interactions successfully elicited emotional responses aligning with the expectations derived from literature in non-game applications.
Purpose of Review In this narrative review, the early interplay between olfaction and vision is analysed, highlighting clinical effects of its manipulation in typical subjects and in presence of visual disorders. In addition, new methods of early intervention, based on this multisensory interaction, and their applications on different infant populations at risk of neurodevelopmental disabilities are discussed. Recent Findings Multisensory processes permit combinations of several inputs, coming from different sensory systems, playing a key role in human neurodevelopment, and permitting an adequate and efficient interaction with the environment. In particular, during the early stages of life, the olfactory and the visual systems appear to interact to facilitate the adaptation and the mutual bond with the caregiver and to mediate the development of social attention of the infant, although, at birth, the olfactory system is much more mature than the visual system. Summary Although the results from this line of research are promising, mechanisms at the basis of this interlink between sight and smell are unclear, so more work needs to be done before concluding that a multisensory approach, based on visual and olfactory stimulations, is applicable in clinical practice.
Bandgap tunability of lead mixed halide perovskites (LMHPs) is a crucial characteristic for versatile optoelectronic applications. Nevertheless, LMHPs show the formation of iodide‐rich (I‐rich) phase under illumination, which destabilizes the semiconductor bandgap and impedes their exploitation. Here, we show how I 2 , photogenerated upon charge carrier trapping at iodine interstitials in LMHPs, can promote the formation of I‐rich phase. I 2 can react with bromide (Br ⁻ ) in the perovskite to form a trihalide ion I 2 Br ⁻ (I δ− ‐I δ+ ‐Br δ− ), whose negatively charged iodide (I δ− ) can further exchange with another lattice Br ⁻ to form the I‐rich phase. Importantly, we observe that the effectiveness of the process is dependent on the overall stability of the crystalline perovskite structure. Therefore, the bandgap instability in LMHPs is governed by two factors, i.e., the density of native defects leading to I 2 production and the Br ⁻ binding strength within the crystalline unit. Eventually, our study provides rules for the design of chemical composition in LMHPs to reach their full potential for optoelectronic devices. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
The ongoing reproducibility crisis in psychology and cognitive neuroscience has sparked increasing calls to re-evaluate and reshape scientific culture and practices. Heeding those calls, we have recently launched the EEGManyPipelines project as a means to assess the robustness of EEG research in naturalistic conditions and experiment with an alternative model of conducting scientific research. One hundred sixty-eight analyst teams, encompassing 396 individual researchers from 37 countries, independently analyzed the same unpublished, representative EEG data set to test the same set of predefined hypotheses and then provided their analysis pipelines and reported outcomes. Here, we lay out how large-scale scientific projects can be set up in a grassroots, community-driven manner without a central organizing laboratory. We explain our recruitment strategy, our guidance for analysts, the eventual outputs of this project and how it might have a lasting impact on the field.
In this work, we demonstrate highly sensitive and scalable Hall sensors fabricated by adopting arrays of monolayer single-crystal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) graphene. The devices are based on graphene Hall bars with a carrier mobility of >12000 cm 2 V −1 s −1 and a low residual carrier density of ∼1 × 10 11 cm −2 , showing Hall sensitivity higher than 5000 V A −1 T −1 , which is a value previously only achieved when using exfoliated graphene encapsulated with flakes of hexagonal boron nitride. We also implement a facile and scalable polymeric encapsulation, allowing the performance of graphene Hall bars to be stabilized when measured in an ambient environment. We demonstrate that this capping method can reduce the degradation of electrical transport properties when the graphene devices are kept in air over 10 weeks. State-of-the-art performance of the realized devices, based on scalable synthesis and encapsulation, contributes to the proliferation of graphene-based Hall sensors. ■ INTRODUCTION Hall effect sensors are extensively used for proximity sensing, accurate positioning, switching, angular sensing, speed detection, and current sensing, thus being of crucial importance in automotive, aeronautics, consumer electronics, Internet of Things (IoT), and robotic applications. 1−3 The global Hall sensor market size was estimated to be worth USD ∼1.6 billion in 2022 and to rise at a considerable rate for the next 6 years. 4 To date, silicon-based Hall sensors are dominating in most applications thanks to well-developed silicon complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology and low fabrication costs. However, the room temperature (RT) current sensitivity S I of silicon Hall sensors is typically limited to ∼100 V A −1 T −1 , 5 which restricts their applicability. Higher sensitivity can be obtained when using III−V semiconductor materials, 5,6 which, however, imply higher fabrication costs. Graphene, thanks to its ability to achieve extremely low carrier densities and exceptional mobility, 7,8 has emerged as an appealing material for the development of highly sensitive cost-effective Hall sensors that are compatible with the existing CMOS platforms. To date, the best-performing graphene Hall sensors have been realized using mechanically exfoliated graphene flakes encapsulated with exfoliated hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), reaching a current-related sensitivity (S I) of ∼5700 V A −1 T −1. 9 Hall sensors based on ultraclean exfoliated graphene/hBN stacks were also studied at cryogenic temperatures. 10 RT measurements (presented in the Supporting Information of ref 10) indicate high S I ∼ 8000 V A −1 T −1 in these devices. Indeed, hBN encapsulation is a key ingredient for the realization of highly performing graphene-based devices because it protects graphene from contaminants and ensures the achievement of record carrier mobility. 11 Exposure of graphene-based Hall sensors to air leads to decreasing S I over time due to the physical adsorption of oxygen or water molecules. 12 Devices based on exfoliated flakes of graphene and hBN, such as the one presented in ref 9, demonstrate high performance, but this approach cannot be considered for industrial production because the size of the exfoliated flakes is typically limited to tens of microns. This issue has been addressed using graphene synthesized via chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on Cu, which has been produced on a wafer scale and successfully integrated into the semiconductor processing lines. 13 To date, Hall sensors based on CVD graphene have shown S I ∼ 1200 V A −1 T −114 and remarkable magnetic resolution. 15 Scalable encapsulation of graphene, however, remains a challenge to be solved. Graphene Hall sensors with CVD hBN encapsulation have shown lowered sensitivity (i.e., S I ∼ 97 V A −1 T −1), 16 although more promising results (i.e., S I ∼ 1986 V A −1 T −1)
Purpose To investigate the role of adiposity in the associations between ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption and head and neck cancer (HNC) and oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Methods Our study included 450,111 EPIC participants. We used Cox regressions to investigate the associations between the consumption of UPFs and HNC and OAC risk. A mediation analysis was performed to assess the role of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) in these associations. In sensitivity analyses, we investigated accidental death as a negative control outcome. Results During a mean follow-up of 14.13 ± 3.98 years, 910 and 215 participants developed HNC and OAC, respectively. A 10% g/d higher consumption of UPFs was associated with an increased risk of HNC (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14–1.34) and OAC (HR = 1.24, 95% CI 1.05–1.47). WHR mediated 5% (95% CI 3–10%) of the association between the consumption of UPFs and HNC risk, while BMI and WHR, respectively, mediated 13% (95% CI 6–53%) and 15% (95% CI 8–72%) of the association between the consumption of UPFs and OAC risk. UPF consumption was positively associated with accidental death in the negative control analysis. Conclusions We reaffirmed that higher UPF consumption is associated with greater risk of HNC and OAC in EPIC. The proportion mediated via adiposity was small. Further research is required to investigate other mechanisms that may be at play (if there is indeed any causal effect of UPF consumption on these cancers).
We show for the first time DMSO-free tin-based perovskite solar cells with a self-assembled hole selective contact (MeO-2PACz). Our method provides reproducible and hysteresis-free devices with MeO-2PACz, having the best device PCE of 5.8 % with a V OC of 638 mV. P erovskite solar cells (PSC) have attracted extensive research interest for next-generation solution-processed photovoltaic devices and have taken a big step toward commercialization. Interest in lead-free tin perovskite solar cells (Sn-PSCs) soared once their optoelectronic properties revealed promising alternatives to toxic lead-based PSCs like having low bandgap, large charge-carrier mobility, and low exciton binding energy. 1 To the best of our knowledge, the highest achieved power conversion efficiency (PCE) of Sn-PSCs is 14.6 % in 2021. 2 Despite the promising optoelectronic properties and the experience of scientists specialized in the perovskite materials, Sn-PSCs still have not achieved the expected device performance. Hence, some obstacles need to be overcome, such as the undesirable Sn(II) oxidation, the unregulated crystallization rate, and the high hysteresis measured after aging devices. 3,4 The high-performing Sn-PSCs are generally made in the pin sandwich architecture with poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT:PSS); 2 however, the hygroscopic and acidic nature of PEDOT:PSS significantly limits the device performance and operational stability under ambient ultraviolet radiation and humidity. 5 Otherwise, self-assembled molecules (SAMs) recently have been used as hole-selective layers (HSLs) in pin structures, thanks to their low-price synthesis pathway 6,7 and easily functionalized molecular structures, 8 and demonstrated conformal coverage on large-area substrates. 9 Additionally , SAM will be a promising HSLs in Sn-PSCs, owing to its ability to modify the contact layers, i.e., indium tin oxide (ITO), and enhance its charge transfer properties. The first application of SAMs as an HSL in Sn-PSCs has been reported by Song et al. and the PCE of the best device reached 6.5 % (the efficiency distribution is 5.2 % ± 0.6 %). 10 They managed to obtain a uniform dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)-processed FASnI 3-based perovskite film via a two-step sequential deposition method on top of the [2-(3,6-dimethoxy-9H-carbazol-9-yl)ethyl]phosphonic acid (MeO-2PACz) SAM. Despite the good performance, a preannealing step at 400°C for 30 min of the ITO substrates was necessary. 10 In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that FASnI 3 perovskite can be successfully deposited on top of the MeO-2PACz SAM with a one-step method using a low-temperature and DMSO-free solvent system of [N,N-diethylformamide (DEF) and N,N′-dimethylpropylene urea (DMPU)]. 11 Indeed, we previously showed that DMSO acts as an oxidizing agent for Sn(II) in an acidic medium, 12 and that it can oxidize Sn(II) species even during the synthesis of the perovskite precursor
The key properties and high versatility of metal nanoparticles have shed new perspectives on cancer therapy, with copper nanoparticles gaining great interest because of the ability to couple the intrinsic properties of metal nanoparticles with the biological activities of copper ions in cancer cells. Copper, indeed, is a cofactor involved in different metabolic pathways of many physiological and pathological processes. Literature data report on the use of copper in preclinical protocols for cancer treatment based on chemo-, photothermal-, or copper chelating-therapies. Copper nanoparticles exhibit anticancer activity via multiple routes, mainly involving the targeting of mitochondria, the modulation of oxidative stress, the induction of apoptosis and autophagy, and the modulation of immune response. Moreover, compared to other metal nanoparticles (e.g. gold, silver, palladium, and platinum), copper nanoparticles are rapidly cleared from organs with low systemic toxicity and benefit from the copper's low cost and wide availability. Within this review, we aim to explore the impact of copper in cancer research, focusing on glioma, the most common primary brain tumour. Glioma accounts for about 80% of all malignant brain tumours and shows a poor prognosis with the five-year survival rate being less than 5%. After introducing the glioma pathogenesis and the limitation of current therapeutic strategies, we will discuss the potential impact of copper therapy and present the key results of the most relevant literature to establish a reliable foundation for future development of copper-based approaches.
Bioelectricity is the electrical activity that occurs within living cells and tissues. This activity is critical for regulating homeostatic cellular function and communication, and disruptions of the same can lead to a variety of conditions, including cancer. Cancer cells are known to exhibit abnormal electrical properties compared to their healthy counterparts, and this has driven researchers to investigate the potential of harnessing bioelectricity as a tool in cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. In parallel, bioelectricity represents one of the means to gain fundamental insights on how electrical signals and charges play a role in cancer insurgence, growth, and progression. This review provides a comprehensive analysis of the literature in this field, addressing the fundamentals of bioelectricity in single cancer cells, cancer cell cohorts, and cancerous tissues. The emerging role of bioelectricity in cancer proliferation and metastasis is introduced. Based on the acknowledgement that this biological information is still hard to access due to the existing gap between biological findings and translational medicine, the latest advancements in the field of nanotechnologies for cellular electrophysiology are examined, as well as the most recent developments in micro‐ and nano‐devices for cancer diagnostics and therapy targeting bioelectricity.
Herein, the ability of highly porous colorimetric indicators to sense volatile and biogenic amine vapors in real time is presented. Curcumin-loaded polycaprolactone porous fiber mats are exposed to various concentrations of off-flavor compounds such as the volatile amine trimethylamine, and the biogenic amines cadaverine, putrescine, spermidine, and histamine, in order to investigate their colorimetric response. CIELAB color space analysis demonstrates that the porous fiber mats can detect the amine vapors, showing a distinct color change in the presence of down to 2.1 ppm of trimethylamine and ca. 11.0 ppm of biogenic amines, surpassing the limit of visual perception in just a few seconds. Moreover, the color changes are reversible either spontaneously, in the case of the volatile amines, or in an assisted way, through interactions with an acidic environment, in the case of the biogenic amines, enabling the use of the same indicator several times. Finally, yet importantly, the strong antioxidant activity of the curcumin-loaded fibers is successfully demonstrated through DPPH● and ABTS● radical scavenging assays. Through such a detailed study, we prove that the developed porous mats can be successfully established as a reusable smart system in applications where the rapid detection of alkaline vapors and/or the antioxidant activity are essential, such as food packaging, biomedicine, and environmental protection.
Trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1) is an attractive target for the design of innovative drugs to be applied in diverse pharmacological settings. Due to a non-negligible structural similarity with endogenous ligands, most of the agonists developed so far resulted in being affected by a low selectivity for TAAR1 with respect to other monoaminergic G protein-coupled receptors, like the adrenoreceptors. This study utilized comparative molecular docking studies and quantitative-structure activity relationship (QSAR) analyses to unveil key structural differences between TAAR1 and alpha2-adrenoreceptor (α 2-ADR), with the aim to design novel TAAR1 agonists characterized by a higher selectivity profile and reduced off-target effects. While the presence of hydrophobic motives is encouraged towards both the two receptors, the introduction of polar/positively charged groups and the ligand conformation deeply affect the TAAR1 or α 2-ADR putative selectivity. These computational methods allowed the identification of the α 2 A-ADR agonist guanfacine as an attractive TAAR1-targeting lead compound, demonstrating nanomolar activity in vitro. In vivo exploration of the efficacy of guanfacine showed that it is able to decrease the locomotor activity of dopamine transporter knockout (DAT-KO) rats. Therefore, guanfacine can be considered as an interesting template molecule worthy of structural optimization. The dual activity of guanfacine on both α 2-ADR and TAAR1 signaling and the related crosstalk between the two pathways will deserve more in-depth investigation.
Aptamer-based sensing of small molecules such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain, requires characterization of the specific aptamer sequences in solutions mimicking the in vivo environment with physiological ionic concentrations. In particular, divalent cations (Mg2+ and Ca2+) present in brain fluid, have been shown to affect the conformational dynamics of aptamers upon target recognition. Thus, for biosensors that transduce aptamer structure switching as the signal response, it is critical to interrogate the influence of divalent cations on each unique aptamer sequence. Herein, we demonstrate the potential of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to predict the behaviour of dopamine and serotonin aptamers on sensor surfaces. The simulations enable molecular-level visualization of aptamer conformational changes that, in some cases, are significantly influenced by divalent cations. The correlations of theoretical simulations with experimental findings validate the potential for MD simulations to predict aptamer-specific behaviors on biosensors.
Institution pages aggregate content on ResearchGate related to an institution. The members listed on this page have self-identified as being affiliated with this institution. Publications listed on this page were identified by our algorithms as relating to this institution. This page was not created or approved by the institution. If you represent an institution and have questions about these pages or wish to report inaccurate content, you can contact us here.
1,383 members
Giuseppe Vecchio
  • Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies
Virgilio Brunetti
  • Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies
Stefano Palagi
  • Center for Micro-BioRobotics
Via Morego, 30, 16163, Genoa, Genova, Italy
Head of institution
Roberto Cingolani
+39 010 71781