A. Tiengo

Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia, Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (198)608.09 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We report on the discovery of a new member of the magnetar class, SGR J1935+2154, and on its timing and spectral properties measured by an extensive observational campaign carried out between July 2014 and March 2015 with Chandra and XMM-Newton (11 pointings). We discovered the spin period of SGR J1935+2154 through the detection of coherent pulsations at a period of about 3.24s. The magnetar is slowing-down at a rate of 1.43(1)x10^{-11} s/s and with a decreasing trend due to a negative second period derivative of -3.5(7)x10^{-19} s/s^2. This implies a surface dipolar magnetic field strength of about 2.2x10^{14} G, a characteristic age of about 3.6kyr and, a spin-down luminosity L_{sd} of about 1.7x10^{34} erg/s. The source spectrum is well modelled by a blackbody with temperature of about 500eV plus a power-law component with photon index of about 2. The source showed a moderate long-term variability, with a flux decay of about 25\% during the first four months since its discovery, and a re-brightening of the same amount during the second four months. The X-ray data were also used to study the source environment. In particular, we discovered a diffuse emission extending on spatial scales from about 1" up to at least 1' around SGR J1935+2154 both in Chandra and XMM-Newton data. This component is constant in flux (at least within uncertainties) and its spectrum is well modelled by a power-law spectrum steeper than that of the pulsar. Though a scattering halo origin seems to be more probable we cannot exclude that part, or all, of the diffuse emission is due to a pulsar wind nebula.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: The relativistic double neutron star binary PSR J0737-3039 shows clear evidence of orbital phase-dependent wind-companion interaction, both in radio and X-rays. In this paper we present the results of timing analysis of PSR J0737-3039 performed during 2006 and 2011 XMM-Newton Large Programs that collected ~20,000 X-ray counts from the system. We detected pulsations from PSR J0737-3039A (PSR A) through the most accurate timing measurement obtained by XMM-Newton so far, the spin period error being of 2x10^-13 s. PSR A's pulse profile in X-rays is very stable despite significant relativistic spin precession that occurred within the time span of observations. This yields a constraint on the misalignment between the spin axis and the orbital momentum axis Delta_A ~6.6^{+1.3}_{-5.4} deg, consistent with estimates based on radio data. We confirmed pulsed emission from PSR J0737-3039B (PSR B) in X-rays even after its disappearance in radio. The unusual phenomenology of PSR B's X-ray emission includes orbital pulsed flux and profile variations as well as a loss of pulsar phase coherence on time scales of years. We hypothesize that this is due to the interaction of PSR A's wind with PSR B's magnetosphere and orbital-dependent penetration of the wind plasma onto PSR B closed field lines. Finally, the analysis of the full XMM-Newton dataset provided evidences of orbital flux variability (~7%) for the first time, involving a bow-shock scenario between PSR A's wind and PSR B's magnetosphere.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
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    ABSTRACT: During a search for coherent signals in the X-ray archival data of XMM–Newton, we discovered a modulation at 1.2 s in 3XMM J004301.4+413017 (3X J0043), a source lying in the direction of an external arm of M 31. This short period indicates a neutron star (NS). Between 2000 and 2013, the position of 3X J0043 was imaged by public XMM–Newton observations 35 times. The analysis of these data allowed us to detect an orbital modulation at 1.27 d and study the long-term properties of the source. The emission of the pulsar was rather hard (most spectra are described by a power law with Γ < 1) and, assuming the distance to M 31, the 0.3–10 keV luminosity was variable, from ∼3 × 1037 to 2 × 1038 erg s−1. The analysis of optical data shows that, while 3X J0043 is likely associated to a globular cluster in M 31, a counterpart with V ≳ 22 outside the cluster cannot be excluded. Considering our findings, there are two main viable scenarios for 3X J0043: a peculiar low-mass X-ray binary, similar to 4U 1822−37 or 4U 1626−67, or an intermediate-mass X-ray binary resembling Her X−1. Regardless of the exact nature of the system, 3X J0043 is the first accreting NS in M 31 in which the spin period has been detected.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters
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    ABSTRACT: We study the timing and spectral properties of the low-magnetic field, transient magnetar SWIFT J1822.3−1606 as it approached quiescence. We coherently phase-connect the observations over a time-span of ∼500 d since the discovery of SWIFT J1822.3−1606 following the Swift-Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) trigger on 2011 July 14, and carried out a detailed pulse phase spectroscopy along the outburst decay. We follow the spectral evolution of different pulse phase intervals and find a phase and energy-variable spectral feature, which we interpret as proton cyclotron resonant scattering of soft photon from currents circulating in a strong (≳1014 G) small-scale component of the magnetic field near the neutron star surface, superimposed to the much weaker (∼3 × 1013 G) magnetic field. We discuss also the implications of the pulse-resolved spectral analysis for the emission regions on the surface of the cooling magnetar.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: X-ray emission from Young Stellar Objects (YSOs) is crucial to understand star formation. A very limited amount of X-ray results is available for the protostellar (ClassI) phase. A systematic search of transient X-ray phenomena combined with a careful evaluation of the evolutionary stage offer a widely unexplored window to our understanding of YSOs X-ray properties. Within the EXTraS project, a search for transients and variability in the whole XMM-Newton archive, we discover transient X-ray emission consistent with ISO-Oph 85, a strongly embedded YSO in the rho Ophiuchi region, not detected in previous time-averaged X-ray studies. We extract an X-ray light curve for the flare and determine its spectral parameters from XMM-Newton/EPIC (European Photon Imaging Camera) data using quantile analysis. The X-ray flare ($2500\,s$), the only one detected in the XMM-Newton archive for ISO-Oph 85, has a luminosity of $LogL_X[erg/s]=31.1$ and a spectrum consistent with a highly-absorbed one-component thermal model ($N_H=1.0^{+1.2}_{-0.5}10^{23}\,cm^{-2}$, $kT=1.15^{+2.35}_{-0.65}\,keV)$. We set an upper limit of $LogL_X[erg/s]<29.5$ to the quiescent X-ray luminosity. We build a SED with IR to mm photometry drawn from literature and mid-IR Spitzer and sub-mm Herschel photometry analysed by us, and compare it with pre-computed models. The sub-mm emission peak in the Herschel data suggests that the object is a ClassI protostar. However, the Herschel/IR position offset is larger than for other YSOs in the region, leaving some doubt on the association. This is the first X-ray flare from a YSO recognised as a candidate ClassI YSO via the analysis of its complete SED. This work shows how the analysis of the whole SED is fundamental for the classification of YSOs, and how the X-ray source detection techniques we developed can open a new era in time-resolved analysis of the X-ray emission from stars.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: List of contributions from the CTA Consortium presented at the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference, 30 July - 6 August 2015, The Hague, The Netherlands.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Aims: IKT 16 is an X-ray and radio-faint supernova remnant (SNR) in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). A detailed X-ray study of this SNR with XMM-Newton confirmed the presence of a hard X-ray source near its centre, indicating the detection of the first composite SNR in the SMC. With a dedicated Chandra observation we aim to resolve the point source and confirm its nature. We also acquire new ATCA observations of the source at 2.1 GHz with improved flux density estimates and resolution. Methods: We perform detailed spatial and spectral analysis of the source. With the highest resolution X-ray and radio image of the centre of the SNR available today, we resolve the source and confirm its pulsar wind nebula (PWN) nature. Further, we constrain the geometrical parameters of the PWN and perform spectral analysis for the point source and the PWN separately. We also test for the radial variations of the PWN spectrum and its possible east west asymmetry. Results: The X-ray source at the centre of IKT 16 can be resolved into a symmetrical elongated feature centering a point source, the putative pulsar. Spatial modeling indicates an extent of 5.2 arcsec of the feature with its axis inclined at 82 degree east from north, aligned with a larger radio feature consisting of two lobes almost symmetrical about the X-ray source. The picture is consistent with a PWN which has not yet collided with the reverse shock. The point source is about three times brighter than the PWN and has a hard spectrum of spectral index 1.1 compared to a value 2.2 for the PWN. This points to the presence of a pulsar dominated by non-thermal emission. The expected E_{dot} is ~ 10^37 erg s^-1 and spin period < 100 ms. However, the presence of a compact nebula unresolved by Chandra at the distance of the SMC cannot completely be ruled out.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the results of the first XMM-Newton satellite observation of the luminous and helium-rich O-type subdwarf BD +37{\deg} 1977 carried out in April 2014. X-ray emission is detected with a flux of about 4*10^(-14) erg/cm2/s (0.2-1.5 keV), corresponding to a f_X/f_bol ratio about 10^(-7); the source spectrum is very soft, and is well fit by the sum of two plasma components at different temperatures. Both characteristics are in agreement with what is observed in the main-sequence early-type stars, where the observed X-ray emission is due to turbulence and shocks in the stellar wind. A smaller but still significant stellar wind has been observed also in BD +37{\deg} 1977; therefore, we suggest that also in this case the detected X-ray flux has the same origin.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: We present the discovery of a strongly phase-variable absorption feature in the X-ray spectrum of the nearby, thermally-emitting, isolated neutron star RX J0720.4-3125. The absorption line was detected performing detailed phase-resolved spectroscopy in 20 XMM-Newton observations, covering the period May 2000 - September 2012. The feature has an energy of ~750eV, an equivalent width of ~30eV, and it is significantly detected for only ~20% of the pulsar rotation. The absorption feature appears to be stable over the timespan covered by the observations. Given its strong dependence on the pulsar rotational phase and its narrow width, a plausible interpretation is in terms of resonant proton cyclotron absorption/scattering in a confined magnetic structure very close to the neutron star surface. The inferred field in such a magnetic loop is B_loop ~ 2 x 10^{14} G, a factor of ~7 higher than the surface dipolar magnetic field.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015
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    ABSTRACT: In 2013 April a new magnetar, SGR 1745−2900, was discovered as it entered an outburst, at only 2.4 arcsec angular distance from the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*. SGR 1745−2900 has a surface dipolar magnetic field of ∼2 × 1014 G, and it is the neutron star closest to a black hole ever observed. The new source was detected both in the radio and X-ray bands, with a peak X-ray luminosity LX ∼ 5 × 1035 erg s−1. Here we report on the long-term Chandra (25 observations) and XMM–Newton (eight observations) X-ray monitoring campaign of SGR 1745−2900 from the onset of the outburst in 2013 April until 2014 September. This unprecedented data set allows us to refine the timing properties of the source, as well as to study the outburst spectral evolution as a function of time and rotational phase. Our timing analysis confirms the increase in the spin period derivative by a factor of ∼2 around 2013 June, and reveals that a further increase occurred between 2013 October 30 and 2014 February 21. We find that the period derivative changed from 6.6 × 10−12 to 3.3 × 10−11 s s−1 in 1.5 yr. On the other hand, this magnetar shows a slow flux decay compared to other magnetars and a rather inefficient surface cooling. In particular, starquake-induced crustal cooling models alone have difficulty in explaining the high luminosity of the source for the first ∼200 d of its outburst, and additional heating of the star surface from currents flowing in a twisted magnetic bundle is probably playing an important role in the outburst evolution.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: We report on an X-ray observation of the Be X-ray binary pulsar RX J0059.2–7138, performed by XMM–Newton in 2014 March. The 19 ks long observation was carried out about three months after the discovery of the latest outburst from this Small Magellanic Cloud transient, when the source luminosity was LX ∼1038 erg s−1. A spin period of Pspin=2.762 383(5) s was derived, corresponding to an average spin-up of $\dot{P}_{\mathrm{spin}} = -(1.27\pm 0.01)\times 10^{-12}$ s s−1 from the only previous period measurement, obtained more than 20 years earlier. The time-averaged continuum spectrum (0.2–12 keV) consisted of a hard power-law (photon index ∼0.44) with an exponential cut-off at a phase-dependent energy (∼20–50 keV) plus a significant soft excess below ∼0.5 keV. In addition, several features were observed in the spectrum: an emission line at 6.6 keV from highly ionized iron, a broad feature at 0.9–1 keV likely due to a blend of Fe L-shell lines, and narrow emission and absorption lines consistent with transitions in highly ionized oxygen, nitrogen and iron visible in the high-resolution RGS data (0.4–2.1 keV). Given the different ionization stages of the narrow-line components, indicative of photoionization from the luminous X-ray pulsar, we argue that the soft excess in RX J0059.2–7138 is produced by reprocessing of the pulsar emission in the inner regions of the accretion disc.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: The EXTraS project (Exploring the X-ray Transient and variable Sky) will harvest the hitherto unexplored temporal domain information buried in the serendipitous data collected by the European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC) instrument onboard the ESA XMM-Newton X-ray observatory since its launch. This will include a search for fast transients, as well as a search and characterization of variability (both periodic and aperiodic) in hundreds of thousands of sources spanning more than nine orders of magnitude in time scale and six orders of magnitude in flux. X-ray results will be complemented by multiwavelength characterization of new discoveries. Phenomenological classification of variable sources will also be performed. All our results will be made available to the community. A didactic program in selected High Schools in Italy, Germany and the UK will also be implemented. The EXTraS project (2014-2016), funded within the EU/FP7 framework, is carried out by a collaboration including INAF (Italy), IUSS (Italy), CNR/IMATI (Italy), University of Leicester (UK), MPE (Germany) and ECAP (Germany).
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Supergiant fast X-ray transients (SFXTs) are high mass X-ray binaries associated with OB supergiant companions and characterised by an X-ray flaring behaviour whose dynamical range reaches 5 orders of magnitude on timescales of a few hundred to thousands of seconds. Current investigations concentrate on finding possible mechanisms to inhibit accretion in SFXTs and explain their unusually low average X-ray luminosity. We present the Swift observations of an exceptionally bright outburst displayed by the SFXT IGR J17544-2619 on 2014 October 10 when the source achieved a peak luminosity of $3\times10^{38}$ erg s$^{-1}$. This extends the total source dynamic range to $\gtrsim$10$^6$, the largest (by a factor of 10) recorded so far from an SFXT. Tentative evidence for pulsations at a period of 11.6 s is also reported. We show that these observations challenge, for the first time, the maximum theoretical luminosity achievable by an SFXT and propose that this giant outburst was due to the formation of a transient accretion disc around the compact object.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: This is a White Paper in support of the mission concept of the Large Observatory for X-ray Timing (LOFT), proposed as a medium-sized ESA mission. We discuss the potential of LOFT for the study of magnetospheres of isolated neutron stars. For a summary, we refer to the paper.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Diffuse radio emission was detected around the soft gamma-ray repeater SGR 1806-20, after its 2004 powerful giant flare. We study the possible extended X-ray emission at small scales around SGR 1806-20, in two observations by the High Resolution Camera Spectrometer (HRC-S) on board of the Chandra X-ray Observatory: in 2005, 115 days after the giant flare, and in 2013, during quiescence. We compare the radial profiles extracted from data images and PSF simulations, carefully considering various issues related with the uncertain calibration of the HRC PSF at sub-arcsecond scales. We do not see statistically significant excesses pointing to an extended emission on scales of arcseconds. As a consequence, SGR 1806-20 is compatible with being point-like in X-rays, months after the giant flare, as well as in quiescence.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of High Energy Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: X-ray observations of sdO stars are a useful tool to investigate their properties, but so far only two sdO stars were detected at X-rays. We observed a complete flux-limited sample of 19 sdO stars with the Chandra HRC-I camera to measure the count rate of the detected sources or to set a tight upper limit on it for the undetected sources. We obtained a robust detection of BD+37 1977 and Feige 34 and a marginal detection of BD+28 4211. The estimated luminosity of BD+37 1977 is above 10^31 erg/s, which is high enough to suggest the possible presence of an accreting compact companion. This possibility is unlikely for all the other targets (both detected and undetected), since in their case L_X < 10^30 erg/s. On the other hand, for all 19 targets the estimated value of L_X (or its upper limit) implies an X-ray/bolometric flux ratio that agrees with log(L_X/L_bol) = -6.7 +/- 0.5, which is the range of values typical of main-sequence and giant O stars. Therefore, for Feige 34 and BD+28 4211 the observed X-ray flux is most probably due to intrinsic emission. The same is possibile for the 16 undetected stars.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: Little observational data are available on the weak stellar winds of hot subdwarf stars of B spectral type (sdB). Close binary systems composed of an sdB star and a compact object (white dwarf, neutron star or black hole) could be detected as accretion-powered X-ray sources. The study of their X-ray emission can probe the properties of line-driven winds of sdB stars that can not be derived directly from spectroscopy because of the low luminosity of these stars. Here we report on the first sensitive X-ray observations of two sdB binaries with compact companions. CD -30 11223 is the sdB binary with the shortest known orbital period (1.2 h) and its companion is certainly a white dwarf. PG 1232-136 is an sdB binary considered the best candidate to host a black hole companion. We observed these stars with XMM-Newton in August 2013 for 50 ks and in July 2009 for 36 ks, respectively. None of them was detected and we derived luminosity upper limits of about 1.5x10^29 erg/s for CD -30 11223 5x10^29 erg/s for PG 1232-136. The corresponding mass loss rate for PG 1232-136 is poorly constrained, owing to the unknown efficiency for black hole accretion. On the other hand, in the case of CD -30 11223 we could derive, under reasonable assumptions, an upper limit of about 3x10^-13 solar masses/yr on the wind mass loss rate from the sdB star. This is one of the few observational constraints on the weak winds expected in this class of low mass hot stars. We also report the results on the X-ray emission from a cluster of galaxies serendipitously discovered in the field of CD -30 11223.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: The source IGR J17200−3116 was discovered in the hard X-ray band by INTEGRAL. A periodic X-ray modulation at ∼326 s was detected in its Swift light curves by our group (and subsequently confirmed by a Swift campaign). In this paper, we report on the analysis of all the Swift observations, which were collected between 2005 and 2011, and of an ∼20 ks XMM–Newton pointing that was carried out in 2013 September. During the years covered by the Swift and XMM–Newton observations, the 1–10 keV fluxes range from ∼1.5 to 4 × 10−11 erg cm−2 s−1. IGR J17200−3116 displays spectral variability as a function of the pulse phase and its light curves show at least one short (a few hundreds of seconds) dip, during which the flux dropped at 20–30 per cent of the average level. Overall, the timing and spectral characteristics of IGR J17200−3116 point to an accreting neutron star in a high-mass system but, while the pulse-phase spectral variability can be accounted for by assuming a variable local absorbing column density, the origin of the dip is unclear. We discuss different possible explanations for this feature, favouring a transition to an ineffective accretion regime, instead of an enhanced absorption along the line of sight.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: An absorption feature, the properties of which strongly depend on the pulse phase, has been recently discovered in the X-ray spectrum of the soft gamma repeater SGR0418+5729. If interpreted as a proton cyclotron line, its energy implies a magnetic field ranging from 2× 1014 G to more than 1015 G, which confirms the magnetar interpretation for this source and provides us with the most direct measurement of the magnetic field intensity of an isolated neutron star. The lower value of the dipole field inferred from the timing parameters for SGR 0418+5729 (B = 6× 1012 G) requires that the high magnetic field responsible for the observed feature resides in a strong multi-polar component located close to the neutron star surface, in agreement with the predictions of the magnetar model. (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Astronomische Nachrichten
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the quiescent state of the soft gamma repeater SGR 0501+4516 observed by XMM–Newton on 2009 August 30. The source exhibits an absorbed flux ∼75 times lower than that measured at the peak of the 2008 outburst, and a rather soft spectrum, with the same value of the blackbody temperature observed with ROSAT back in 1992. This new observation is put into the context of all existing X-ray data since its discovery in 2008 August, allowing us to complete the study of the timing and spectral evolution of the source from outburst until its quiescent state. The set of deep XMM–Newton observations performed during the few years time-scale of its outburst allows us to monitor the spectral characteristics of this magnetar as a function of its rotational period, and their evolution along these years. After the first ∼10 d, the initially hot and bright surface spot progressively cooled down during the decay. We discuss the behaviour of this magnetar in the context of its simulated secular evolution, inferring a plausible dipolar field at birth of 3 × 1014 G, and a current (magnetothermal) age of ∼10 kyr.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Publication Stats

3k Citations
608.09 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011-2015
    • Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2006-2015
    • University of Pavia
      • Department of Physics
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2009-2014
    • INFN - Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare
      Frascati, Latium, Italy
  • 2013
    • National Radio Astronomy Observatory
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • 2010
    • Università degli Studi di Torino
      • Department of Physics
      Torino, Piedmont, Italy
    • Rikkyo University
      • Department of Physics
      Tokyo, Tokyo-to, Japan
  • 1999-2008
    • University of Milan
      • Department of Physics
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2005
    • University of Padova
      Padua, Veneto, Italy
  • 2002
    • University of St Andrews
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2000
    • Politecnico di Milano
      • Department of Physics
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy