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Davide Ricci


Former colleague


CTNSC@UniFe Ferrara


Via Fossato di Mortara 17-19
+39 010 71781 457


Davide Francesco Ricci received his degree in Physics in 1989 and his Ph. D. in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science in 1993 from the University of Genoa. After a Post-Doc fellowship in 1996 he became part of the permanent staff at the Department of Biophysical and Electronic Engineering of the University of Genoa. Since 1998 he was appointed supervisor of the Nanotechnology and Molecular Electronics Laboratory in the same Department.

From 2007 until 2014 he was Team Leader at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) at the Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department in Genova, and since 2015 he is researcher at the newly formed IIT Center for Translational Neurosciences for Speech and Communication in Ferrara were he leads a team devoted to research on nanomaterials for the development of neural electrodes for Brain Machine Interfaces. Present research themes are

  • Carbon nanotubes and conductive polymers nanocomposites for high performance microelectrodes for in-vivo neural recording and stimulaton
  • Development of large area, conformable, high density, low impedance and high signal to noise ratio electrode arrays for cortical surface signal recording and stimulation in humans
  • Strategies for improving long-term cortical implant biocompatibilityNanoparticle based intracellular neural stimulation technologies
  • He teaches Nanotechnology as invited professor at the Faculty of Engineering and at the Doctorate School of the University of Genoa.

Davide Ricci’s research during the years has always been centered on the study and development of methods for interfacing functional molecular systems, both synthetic or of biological origin, with larger scale addressable systems, aiming at the fabrication of novel devices and architectures capable of sensing properties, actuation and information processing. A wide experience both in novel materials synthesis and characterization has been acquired, with a multidisciplinary approach encompassing research fields such as Electronics, Biophysics, Biomedicine and Nanoscience.

The main results achieved are:

  • Improved biocompatibility of nanocomposite based neural implants using hydrogel encapsulation (Frontiers 2016, Frontiers 2014, ACSNano 2013)
  • Low impedance high signal to noise ratio microelectrodes for acute neural recordings based on carbon nanotube coatings (in-situ grown via CVD, co-electrodeposited with noble metals or conductive polymers) (ACSNano 2013, ACSNano 2011, Physica Status Solidi 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • High density polyimide based flexible electrodes for epicortical in-vivo recordings and stimulation in human subjects (Neuroscience 2010)
  • Fully plastic actuators based on carbon nanomaterial composites with improved performance thanks to carbon nanotube crosslinking (Carbon 2011, Physica Status Solidi 2009, 2010; PSS-RRL 2010)
  • Patent on “Three terminals (electrodes) linear and bending polymeric actuator”, establishing a method for obtaining real linear motion from a polymeric actuator (TO2010A000548, 2010)
  • Fabrication of transparent electrodes made form ultra-thin conductive single wall carbon nanotube networks (Physica Status Solidi 2007, 2009; Physica E, 2008)
  • Development of high resolution local probe techniques for the patterning through anodic oxidation of the surface of metals and semiconductors (Surface Science 2007; Physica E, 2008)
  • Synthesis, self-assembly and characterization of organo-metallic and semiconducting nanoclusters for the fabrication of electron devices, non volatile hybrid memories and optoelectronic devices (Materials Science and Engineering, 2002; Langmuir, 2003)
  • Development of advanced Scanning Force Microscopy imaging techniques for the morphological and local viscoelastic characterization of living cells (epithelial cells, neuron growth cones) and biocompatibility of synthetic materials. (Microscopy Research and Technique, 1997; Methods in molecular biology, 2003).
  • Investigation of the damage induced by antibiotics in pathogen bacteria (Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 1998) Scanning Tunneling Microscope imaging of the organization at the liquid/solid interface of molecules within organic solvents.
  • First STM imaging of a polyalkilthiophene molecule, studies on the monolayer organization of alkanes, alkanethiols, fatty acids and conductive polymers (Advanced Materials for Optics and Electronics, 1993; Thin Solid Films, 1994)
  • Development of a technique for the stable incorporation of Cadmium Sulfide nanoparticles in black lipid double layer membranes, demonstrating size-confinement effects and charge separation that gives rise to a stable photo voltage across the membrane under UV light illumination (Progress in Colloid & Polymer Science, 1990; The Journal of Physical Chemistry, 1992)


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.