ISIS Post-Doctoral Researcher Giulia Marcucci wins INFN National Award for Best PhD thesis
20 May 2024
- Alison Oliver



Giulia Marcucci, a post-doctoral researcher at ISIS and the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy has won the National Institute of Nuclear Physics’ award for Best PhD Thesis in Accelerator Physics and New Technologies.

Giulia Marcucci presented with IFN prize

​(left to right​​) INES instrument scientist and supervisor Antonella Scherillo, INFN and University of Milano-Bicocca​ supervisor Professor Massimiliano Clemenza ​and Giulia Marcucci)


Giulia's main research focuses on the development of quantitative 2D Neutron Resonance Spectroscopy techniques on our instrument INES at ISIS, which is combined with neutron diffraction, imaging, and elemental analysis methods to investigate complex materials. ​She is now a post-doctoral researcher at ISIS and Milano-Bicocca, with a grant obtained within the framework of the CNR (Italy)-STFC (UK) agreement. 

Her PhD thesis aimed to provide further advances in the field of neutron imaging with the following activities: (i) the implementation of the first Italian neutron tomography facility at the LENA research reactor of the University of Pavia and  (ii) the development of a reliable protocol of analysis for Neutron Resonance Transmission Imaging (NRTI) experiments conducted on INES, with a particular focus on a first approach for the quantitative calibration of this imaging technique.

The design and installation of the first Italian neutron tomography facility at LENA reactor was conducted within the CHNet-NICHE (Neutron Imaging for Cultural Heritage), an INFN project aiming to specifically design the imaging beamline for conducting cultural heritage analyses. Giulia's contribution to the NICHE project consists of Monte Carlo simulations of the entire reactor and of the tomography beamline, as well as assisting with the installation of the beamline and tomography reconstructions.

“Along with the INFN project, I also worked on the improvement of NRTI, beginning with planning the experimental activities with Antonella at INES," explained Giulia. “This was followed by the definition of a reliable normalisation strategy of the transmission data based on well-known procedures of neutron imaging, adapted to the time-of-flight and spallation physics. The definition of ad-hoc Python codes for data processing and normalisation is an integral part of the work personally conducted within this thesis. The final goal of this project is to identify a protocol towards quantitative imaging, making the NRTI technique a particularly advanced imaging compared to standard tomography, which currently offers only qualitative investigations."

The award was established in memory of the distinguished accelerator physicist Francesco Resmini (1938-1984), one of the pioneers of studies on accelerator machines and applied physics for environmental and medical diagnostics. In 1976, he proposed the feasibility of a K800 superconducting cyclotron at the INFN. The cyclotron was built a few years later with Resmini initiating and coordinating the activities of a large group of researchers during its construction. His untimely death occurred during the most critical phase of the project and in the wake of his decisive scientific and technological commitment.

“Giulia is a brilliant and motivated young researcher," says INES Instrument Scientist Antonella Scherillo. “She has the right mindset to implement innovative neutron methods to material characterization, which will benefit not only her personal research but also the ISIS user community, in the field of Heritage Science and non-destructive materials characterization."


Contact: Oliver, Alison (STFC,RAL,ISIS)