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Polytechnic University of Milan

Country: Italy

Polytechnic University of Milan

19 Projects, page 1 of 4
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/M001644/1
    Funder Contribution: 100,885 GBP

    The study of dynamic processes in nature continues to breach new frontiers as the timescales and dimensions under investigation shrink. These advances have gone hand-in-hand with generation of ever shorter light pulses from conventional laser and accelerator based sources, which are exploited as ultrafast strobes for observing the dynamics of matter. While the motion of atoms can now be tracked with femtosecond pulses of light, the recent advent of attosecond pulses (a billion billionth of a second) has the potential to capture the movement of electrons. The ability to observe and control this quantum electronics will be essential for the future understanding and exploitation of electrical, chemical, and biological processes in natural and synthetic nano-structures. In this project, coherent charge dynamics in some exemplar biological frameworks, amino acids and small peptides, will be generated and observed using a state-of-the-art attosecond laser. These laboratory measurements will probe the ultrafast movement of charge created by ionising radiation from which some of the remarkable electrical properties of these complex biological molecules will be discerned. Ultimately, the pathways for understanding the role of the underlying molecular structures and methods for quantum control of the electrons will be investigated.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E017452/1
    Funder Contribution: 144,864 GBP

    Advances in smart structures and active materials during the last decade are likely to yield significant advances in aircraft design though the controlled change of wing shape, often referred to as wing morphing. The concept of a morphing wing is not a new one; wing morphing has been used in most aircraft to a limited extent over the last century. As an example, one can look at the flap system that exists on most aircraft. This morphing technology enables a wing, that is designed for cruising, to increase its camber, thereby improving its performance for landing and take-off. This technology revolutionized the industry, making air travel safer, cheaper and more convenient. As we move further into the 21st century, the materials now available provide a greater latitude in the design of morphing aircraft. It is now possible to not only consider take-off, landing and cruise conditions, but also loiter, climb, turn and dash conditions, to name a few. More fuel efficient flight and control surface free roll control will also be possible through the use of morphing technologies. This S3T Eurocores proposal consists of three interrelated projects that will investigate and evaluate critical vehicle and technology issues related to morphing aircraft. Overall performance requirements will be developed for several innovative actuation systems and morphing concepts. A number of modelling methodologies will be developed to provide a better predictive capability for morphing aircraft, along with advancing morphing design and optimisation techniques. All of the individual novel concepts and methodologies will be validated using wind tunnel models. Finally, a remotely piloted vehicle that is already been developed and flight tested in the framework of a EU collaboration between the CRP partners will be used for proof-of-concept analysis and flight testing of the proposed morphing strategies.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/X012603/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,493,850 GBP

    Modelling and simulation play important roles in designing everything from planes to cars to bridges. However, advances in connectivity and computing now enable models to be linked directly to a specific object or system, creating a "digital twin". Digital twins represent a computational surrogate for a particular object and are updated through time as more information becomes available. However, digital twins are not limited to manufactured objects alone. This project aims to develop digital twins of patients, where a model will track a patient through time. We focus on making digital twins of patients' hearts using detailed imaging data sets over the period of a clinical trial. This is the first step towards models that are updated in real-time, track the patient throughout their life and directly feed back into informing patient care. The digital twin approach builds on patient-specific computer models of the heart that are currently being evaluated to guide procedures in the UK at King's College London and in the US. These models are designed to optimise treatments for a specific patient's pathophysiology but only simulate a small number of heartbeats. Digital twins, which track a patient through time, will forecast disease progression and response to therapy. This represents the next step in simulation guided therapy, where the optimal treatment and, importantly, when to deliver it, will be predicted. This project will address the technical challenges in calibrating computer models of large numbers of patients, how to efficiently update these models through time as more data becomes available, how to analyse images of the heart recorded over the duration of a clinical trial and how to predict complex changes in shape and function of the heart. The approaches will be applied to study three patient groups in three studies. First, we will test if multi-scale cardiac biomechanics models can identify common causes of pump dysfunction in heart failure patients. Second, we will test if digital twins can predict which patients who have recovered from heart failure can stop their heart failure mediation. Thirdly, we will test if digital twin forecasts can be used to predict recovery and pre-empt the need for advanced heart failure therapy in newly diagnosed heart failure patients. This will provide the first demonstration of cardiac biomechanics digital twins using real clinical data to answer important clinical questions.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/M006514/1
    Funder Contribution: 596,370 GBP

    Vision is arguably the most important of our senses and our most direct channel of interaction with the surrounding world. It is no surprise therefore that so much of the technology that affects our everyday lives relies on light in one form or the other. The continuous strive to improve our light sources, ranging from lasers for research purposed to ambient lighting technologies is paralleled by a continuous increase in efforts to improve our imaging capabilities, ranging from artificial vision implants to hyperspectral imaging. An exciting and emerging imaging technology relies on the ability to detect remarkably low light signals, i.e. even single photons. This same technology, based for example of Single-Photon-Avalanche-Detectors (SPADs) comes hand in hand with another rather unexpected and also remarkable feature: incredibly high temporal resolution and the ability to distinguish events that are separated in time by picoseconds or less. This temporal resolution is obtained by operating the SPAD in so-called Time-Correlated-Single-Photon-Counting (TCSPC) mode, where the single photons are detected in coincidence with an external trigger and then electronically stored with a precise time-tag that, after accumulating over many events, allows to precisely identify the photon arrival time. These technologies are now relatively well established and are routinely employed in research activities, mainly associated to quantum optics measurements and time of flight measurements. However, these detectors are all single pixel detectors and thus do not allow to directly reconstruct an image in much the same way that a digital camera with a single pixel will not create an image. Workaround solutions have been adopted; for example a laser may be scanned across an object and the single pixel records intensity levels for each position of the laser beam. However, our obsession with the pixel-count in our latest digital camera clearly explains the paradigm shift in going from a single pixel detector to a multi-pixel detector and eventually to high resolution imaging. ULTRA-IMAGE aims at demonstrating a series of applications of very novel SPAD technology: for the first time these detectors are available in imaging arrays. This is an emerging technology that will represent the next revolution in imaging and we will have first hand access to each technological breakthrough in SPAD array design, as they occur over the next few years. We are currently employing 32x32 SPAD arrays and will be using the first ever (at the time of writing) 320x240 pixel array, which is able to deliver the first high quality spatially resolved images. The remarkable aspect of these detectors is that they still retain their picosecond temporal resolution therefore enabling a series of game-changing and remarkable technological applications that are not even conceivable with traditional cameras. As examples of the potential of this new imaging technology, we will utilise our SPAD cameras to visualise the propagation of light and perform time-of-flight detection of remote objects in harsh environments (the FEMTO-camera), to enable of the real-time tracking of objects hidden from view (the CORNER-camera), and to perform the first quantum measurements using low-rep rate, high-power lasers (the QUANTUM-camera). The solutions we will develop are enabled by four key features: first, the single-photon sensitivity of silicon detectors; second, the spatial resolution provided by the arrayed nature of the detectors; third, the precise picosecond and femtosecond timing resolution; and fourth, the ultra low-noise performance of gated detection.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/S011498/1
    Funder Contribution: 45,825 GBP

    An eruption of Fuego volcano, Guatemala, on 3rd June 2018, had tragic outcomes when an entire village was inundated by pyroclastic flows. The eruption has prompted evacuations of around 12,000 people. This event resulted in changes to hazard, exposure and vulnerability, demonstrating the complex and dynamic nature of ongoing and future risk. This proposal seeks to characterise this dynamic risk observed in the natural environment, and understand the interactions between dynamic risk and society. Following the 3rd June eruption of Fuego, evacuations have resulted in reduced exposure in some regions, however, vulnerability (physical, systemic, functional, social, economic and political) remains high and is a key component of the evolving risk. In particular, systemic and functional vulnerability are believed to be highly dynamic. This provides an opportunity to investigate how the evolving hazard situation at Fuego, combined with changes in exposure and highly dynamic systemic and functional vulnerability, play out to affect risk in a context where both recovery and continued eruption risk management are ongoing. This opportunity is urgent: we must characterise changing hazard, exposure and vulnerability through time. Although the nature of the hazard can be investigated retrospectively, documenting changes to exposure (evacuations and reoccupations) and vulnerability as they respond to changing hazard and socio-economic conditions needs to be done as it occurs. For example, it is important to document physical vulnerability on buildings already impacted by the pyroclastic flows before further damage by weather or heavy machinery occurs, or document road closures next to affected drainages which can constitute a major element of the systemic vulnerability to lahars or pyroclastic flows of a community isolated by that road closure. Information on systemic vulnerability at this level of granularity is not normally documented in Guatemala, thus will not be available for later study. Through this proposed work, we will collect an unprecedented dataset on vulnerability, documenting physical vulnerability of buildings impacted by pyroclastic flows before any further damage. When considering risk to life by volcanic flow hazards and lahars however, physical vulnerability of infrastructure can be reduced to a binary effect (impacted or not. It is actually systemic and functional vulnerability that are the more important, and harder to ascertain, unknowns. A key research component, therefore, is to test the hypothesis that for volcanic flow related hazards, in contrast to tephra hazards, it is widespread systemic vulnerability and not physical vulnerability of the footprint of potential impact that is the root cause of risk. This is important because much of the work currently undertaken on risk in volcanology is led by frameworks used for tephra fall hazards, yet flow impacts and risk are very different. The project is will-aligned with the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, as well as recent initiatives in the wider volcanology community to engage and improve our capacity to do risk well. We will use a combination of volcanology field approaches, forensic approaches, and interviews to gather the information.

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