Home » Informazioni Generali

The mission of ISTP-Milan and its main lines of activity

The mission of the Institute is to carry out scientific research in the field of Plasma Physics and technology with the main objective to contribute to the achievement of Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion as one of the most valid option for a safe, environmentally sustainable, and almost unlimited source of base load energy for the future generations. Since its foundation, almost 40 years ago, most of the activities in ISTP-Milan (formerly known as IFP) have been carried out in the frame of national and international collaborations, and under the coordination of Euratom.

In order to support most effectively the actions of ISTP-Milan towards its mission, the Institute is committed in dissemination, formation and training activities, aimed at growing young scientists and engineers, delivering lectures at the University, making available its plasma machines to perform laboratory lectures, tutoring Master and PhD students, sponsoring grants for young scientists.

The main lines of research are: participation to experimental campaigns in existing fusion devices (mainly tokamaks), theoretical investigations and modelling of fusion plasmas, development of diagnostic systems for hot plasmas, experimental studies of the interaction of laboratory plasmas and material surfaces, also exploiting hands-on facilities operating at the Institute.

The principal skills which have been developed by the personnel of ISTP-Milan concern the Physics and technologies of millimetre electromagnetic waves, at high power aimed at fusion plasma heating, and at low power for plasma diagnostics and astrophysical applications; the development of thermonuclear plasma diagnostics based open the collection and analysis of both neutron and gamma-ray spectra and millimetre radiation spectra; development of theoretical models and numerical codes to describe the physical processes accompanying the interaction of electromagnetic waves with magnetised plasmas, the interpretative analysis of experimental data on particle and energy transport processes in plasmas, and modelling of magnetohydrodynamic instabilities; the experimental techniques to investigate the processes occurring when an energetic plasma interacts with material surfaces, plasma treatment of these latter to affect their functional properties, and their diagnostics.

In the premises of ISTP-Milan different plasma devices are operating: a linear magnetised plasma machine, called GyM, for basic research in plasma physics and for applications to the study of plasma-material interaction, several capacitive radio-frequency plasma reactors for the plasma treatment of solid surfaces, and a plasma micro-jet for the deposition of thin Carbon layers.

The present staff of ISTP-Milan is made up of 28 Researchers, 10 Technicians, 4 units of Administration personnel, 7 Research Grants, and about 11 external associates.

From IFP to ISTP-Milan

IFP - Area3
Ingresso ISTP-Milano - via R.Cozzi 53 - 20125 Milano

The Institute was founded in 1970 as Plasma Physics and Quantum Electronics Laboratory, with Prof. Piero Caldirola as Director, with two branches: one section devoted to plasma settled at the Università degli Studi of Milan and another one devoted to Quantum Electronics based at the Politecnico of Milan.

The experimental activity at the plasma physics section was focused on ionized gas discharges and theoretical activity was devoted mainly to radio waves propagation in the ionosphere and data analysis.

At a later time in 1975, the two sections became independent and the plasma section maintained the denomination Plasma physics Laboratory, to become Institute of Plasma Physics in 1979. 

Esperimento THOR progettato a Culham e operativo a milano dal 1978 al 1989.

In the framework of the EURATOM-CNR Association established in 1976 and that included the Istituto Gas Ionizzati of Padua, the THOR experiment (designed in Culham) has been operated in Milan since 1978 for 11 years, provided with additional microwave heating system at 28 GHz for electrons heating.

With the formation of the EURATOM-ENEA-CNR Association (1985-2013) the agreement between national research institutions working on fusion was unified. The experience provided by THOR experiment allowed the Institute to design, build and manage (either scientifically and technologically) the ECRH experiment at 140 GHz on the FTU tokamak at the ENEA Research Centre in Frascati.

As a member of the Italian Association, the Institute joined the EUROfusion Consortium of national fusion research institutes located in the European Union and Switzerland, established in 2014 to succeed the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA). 

The Consortium comprises 30 research organisations and universities from 26 European Union member states plus Switzerland and Ukraine.

EUROfusion funds fusion research activities in accordance with the Roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy. The Roadmap outlines the most efficient way to realise fusion electricity by 2050.

The Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (ISTP) was established in April 2019 during the process of reorganization of the network of Institutes of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) and is the result of the union of three groups that have been active in the plasma physics research for many years: the Institute of Plasma Physics (Milan), the Institute of Ionized Gas (Padua) and the P.Las.M.I. Lab group (Nanotec-Bari).

ISTP carries out theoretical and experimental research in the field of the dynamics of laboratory and natural plasmas. The activities range from controlled thermonuclear fusion to the physics of low temperature plasmas, to astrophysical plasmas and aerospace research, including studies on the interaction of plasmas with particle beams, electromagnetic radiation and materials.

ISTP belongs to the Department of Physical Sciences and Technology of Matter of CNR. The headquarer is in Milan, with secondary offices are in Padua and Bari.



This site conforms to the following standards: