Quantum Technology and Nanoscience

Staff of Italian or foreign research Institutes and Institutions

Professors and Researchers of foreign Universities and Institutions

Research activity

The PhD program in Quantum Technology and Nanoscience offers advanced graduate training at the forefront of the technological and scientific revolution(s) driven by quantum mechanics. Currently, our world is on the cusp of a second wave of profound cultural and technical innovation. This imminent transformation is poised to usher in novel forms of matter, serving as the foundational elements for computation, sensing, and secure communication. These advancements are set to exert a pervasive influence on every facet of our lives, encompassing realms such as health, energy, information processing, and materials. 

Scuola Normale Superiore has long made this a priority and has activated a number of National and European initiatives that all converge into this graduate program. All relevant expertise is available spanning from foundational theoretical aspects of quantum information science to materials, devices, with direct access to the technological platforms of interest all the way to nanoscale biophysical studies. Notably, the program holds strategic significance within the European University Alliance EELISA with the active participation of several EELISA scientists, and aligns with the National Quantum Science and Technology Institute initiative, as well as the Department of Excellence program under the Italian Ministry of University and Research.

Our curriculum is tailored to empower students, equipping them with the skills to innovate and construct cutting-edge quantum systems. Our goal is to nurture future leaders in the rapidly expanding quantum industry and research. Leveraging the success of our previous PhD program in Nanoscience, we prioritize the application of nanoscience-driven methodologies spanning both condensed and biological matter domains. In the latter area, structural and functional organization in living matter down to single-molecule, single-event resolution is investigated exploiting also novel microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. These efforts will ensure a well-rounded and adaptable skill set for our students. The working language of the program is English, coherently with the international and multidisciplinary environment offered to our PhD students. This linguistic consistency fosters effective communication and collaboration among our diverse academic community.

We encourage graduates in physics, engineering, biology, materials science, chemistry, and related fields, who are deeply motivated towards research and innovation, to apply for this program. Similar to all SNS PhDs, this program entails no tuition fees and offers four-year fellowships, complemented by dedicated research and travel funds for every student. 

Most students will conduct their research within the National Enterprise for NanoScience and NanoTechnology (NEST), benefiting not only from the expertise of SNS's research and teaching staff but also from the resources provided by the scientists and facilities of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche housed within NEST. Biophysics investigations benefit from the collaboration with Fondazione Pisana per la Scienza. Crucially, the program emphasizes close collaborations and frequent exchanges with partner laboratories in the EELISA network, including Ecole Normale Supérieure and its Master’s degree in Quantum Engineering, Zurich University of Applied Science, and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, which will seamlessly integrate into the student curriculum.


Teaching activity

The educational framework encompasses lectures and seminar courses, all conducted in English. QTN graduate students will collaboratively design a yearly study plan with the PhD Coordinator, which is then presented to the Faculty Board. This comprehensive document outlines the intended research and educational activities for the academic year, with courses carefully chosen to broaden the students' foundation and delve into specific aspects related to their PhD thesis project. Depending on individual needs, students may be required to complement their coursework with selected undergraduate programs to address any knowledge gaps.

By the end of the first year, in consultation with the PhD Coordinator and approval from the Faculty Board, students are required to select a thesis supervisor and project. Subsequently, at the conclusion of the second and third years, PhD candidates must present their research progress and accomplishments. This presentation is evaluated through an oral defense conducted before a panel of experts chosen by the Faculty Board. Successful performance ensures progression to the subsequent year of the program.

In alignment with research requirements, students are urged to embark on study and research stints at both Italian and international institutions. Fueled by the collaborative ethos of the program within the EELISA network, there is a strong emphasis on facilitating joint PhD degrees and fostering inter-university supervisions. At the conclusion of each academic year, all first, second, and third-year students will actively participate in a "PhD day" workshop. During this event, they engage in discussions about the advancements in their work, presenting their progress to peers and faculty members. This forum not only promotes collaboration but also provides a valuable platform for constructive feedback and shared learning.