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Erice Schools

department of physics - boston college


Director: Prof. Baldassare Di Bartolo
Old archway

The purpose of the International School of Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy is two-fold:

  1. To bring the workers in spectroscopy and related disciplines up to date on the new experimental and theoretical developments in this field of research, and
  2. To create an opportunity for the researchers in the various subfields of spectroscopy to discuss their problems in an interdisciplinary framework.

Spectroscopic investigations are concerned with phenomena observed when the radiation from a source, separated into its various wavelengths, is made to interact with the constituents of a physical system. Through the examination of particular spectra, the identification of known molecular species can be carried out; by means of spectroscopy it has been possible, for example, to identify the presence of chemical elements in distant stars.

More basic applications of the science of spectroscopy have produced a better understanding of atomic and molecular structures and of such phenomena as luminescence. Rotational, vibrational and electronic states of molecules continue to be subjects of investigation; also the important field of energy transfer between the different degrees of freedom in molecules is an object of study.

In solids, spectroscopic investigations are directed to uncover the interrelation of absorption and emission properties with the location of the constituents and the crystalline symmetry. Studies of impurity spectra have shown the usefulness of spectral data in providing information about the spectra of such collective excitations of solids as phonons and magnons. Also, on the basis of purely spectroscopic data it is possible to predict the feasibility and efficiency of solid state systems as possible laser materials.

The technique of flash photolysis has extended the usage of spectroscopy to the excited states of gases, liquids and solids with the measurement of transitions not allowed from the ground state. When used to check the evolution of a reaction, this technique has uncovered the presence of transient species, often not seen before, and existing only under particular experimental conditions.





Erice, Sicily, Italy; July 4-19, 2015

Purpose of the Meeting:

Throughout the last decade, the field of optics and photonics has not only tremendously benefited from progress in nano-science and -fabrication but has in turn also become an important driver and toolbox of nano-science and -fabrication. Important sub-fields such as three-dimensional optical lithography and microscopy beyond the Abbe diffraction limit, optical diagnostics and bio-sensing, optical data- and telecommunications, energy-efficient lighting, and efficient solar energy conversion truly make optics and photonics an important key enabling technology of the 21st century.

The rapidly increasing possibilities of nanoscience enable a completely new level of molding the flow of light and controlling light-matter interaction, nearly on the atomic scale. This has for instance led to metallic nano-antennas for light that can modify spontaneous emission of nearby molecules via local-field enhancement effects or that can act as high-figure-of-merit bio-sensors. Other interesting areas are artificial optical materials (“metamaterials”) assembled from these antennas and nano-plasmonic structures. Here, applications include but are not limited to ultra-compact and ultra-fast optical telecommunication devices, efficient sustainable solar energy conversion, and bio-photonics. Transformation optics and “flat optics” expand the concepts of metamaterials and metasurfaces, respectively, towards intentionally spatially inhomogeneous structures, e.g., for invisibility cloaking and flat lenses or flat polarization optics. Conversely, optics and photonics also fuel nanotechnology, e.g., by novel super-resolution approaches in optical microscopy and lithography.

The Institute will introduce the students to the field and provide a comprehensive overview on experiments and theory, basic physics and applications as well as on nanofabrication and optical characterization. It will bring together physicists, chemists, biologists and engineers; it will be in the best tradition of our past Institutes, because it will start from the consideration of fundamental principles, and will reach the frontiers of research in a systematic and didactic fashion.

The participants will have the opportunity to present their research work in the form of short seminars or posters.

Topics and Lecturers

Basic Concepts Underlying Nano-Science
Baldassare Di Bartolo, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA

Fabrication, Spectroscopy and Applications of Nano-structures
Alexander P. Voitovich, National Academy of Sciences, Minsk, BELARUS

Light Confinement
Lukas Novotny, ETH, Zurich, SWITZERLAND

Introduction to Nanoplasmonics: Fundamentals and Applications
Mark I. Stockman, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Nonradiative Processes in Crystals and Nanocrystals
John Collins, Wheaton College, Norton, MA,USA

Three-Dimensional Optical Laser Lithography: No Limits?
Martin Wegener, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, GERMANY

Dealing with Light at the Nanoscale
Eric Mazur, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Ultrafast Nano-Biophotonics
Jean-Pierre Wolf, Université de Gèneve, Gèneve, SWITZERLAND

Terahertz Sensing at the Nanoscale
John W. Bowen, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Taking Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Detection (CBRN) to the Limit with Nanoplasmonic-Photonic Sensors
Steve Arnold, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Ultrafast and Strong Field Plasmonics
Matthias Kling, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München, GERMANY

Cavity Optomechanics
Wolfram Pernice, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, GERMANY

Quantum Plasmonics
Javier Aizpurua, DIPC, San Sebastian, SPAIN

Nano-Optical Trapping and Bio-Sensing with Plasmonic Nanostructures
Romain Quidant, ICFO, Barcelona, SPAIN

Infrared Nanoscopy and Nanospectroscopy
Rainer Hillenbrand, Nanooptics Group Tolosa Hiribidea, San Sebastian, SPAIN

Talking to Single Quantum Systems on the Femtosecond and Nanoscale
Niek van Hulst  (ICFO), Barcelona, SPAIN

Light at the Extrem
Nader Engheta, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Medical Applications of Nanomaterials
Anna Vedda, Università di Milano-Bicocca, Milano, ITALY

High-Throughput and Ultra-Sensitive BioSensing and Spectroscopy by Plasmonics
Hatice Altug, EPFL Lausanne, SWITZERLAND

Novel Nanolithography and Near Field Nanoscopy

Colloidal Nano-Optoelectronics: State-of-the-art and Prospectives
Sergey Gaponenko, National Academy of Sciences, Minsk, BELARU

Continuous-wave Lasers: Theory, Implications for Nano-size Lasers, and Application to On-chip Optical Sensing
Markus Pollnau, KTH - Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, SWEDEN

Distribution of the Dopants in Laser Ceramics and Glass Ceramics Analyzed by Both Optical Spectroscopy and TEM-EDX Techniques
Georges Boulon, University of Lyon, Villeurbanne, FRANCE

Luminescence Properties of Rare-Earth Doped Nanocrystalline Glass-Ceramics
Rolindes Balda, Universidad del Pais Vasco, Bilbao, SPAIN

Fundamentals and Applications of Solid-State Random Lasers
Joaquín Fernández, Universidad del Pais Vasco, Bilbao, SPAIN

Interdisciplianry Lecture: Jesuits and Art
Elpidio Silvestri, Gregorian University, Rome, ITALY

Interested participants

Interested participants should send a letter to the Director of the School:

Professor Baldassare Di Bartolo
Department of Physics – Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA

Additional information about the school can be found at: /erice

Applications can be done by e-mail or by regular mail. The applicants should provide the following information:

i) Date and place of birth, together with their present nationality,

ii) Degree and other academic qualifications,

iii) Present position, place of work, and current research activities,

iv) A letter of recommendation from their research group leader or from a senior scientist active in the field

v) A list of graduate courses attended (if the applicant is a graduate student)

The total fee, covering full board and lodging, arranged by the School, is 1,600 Euros. The sponsorship received will allow the support of some deserving students in need of financial assistance; this need must be specified and justified in the application.

The deadline for application is June 3, 2015.

Please note: Participants must arrive in Erice on July 4, no later than 7 p.m.


Past Advanced Study Institutes and Workshops

The International School of Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy organized past advanced study institutes and workshops on the following subjects:

  • 2014 – Workshop on Complex Luminescence Phenomena in Inorganic  Materials
            – Workshop on Photo-ionization and Resonant X-Ray Scattering
  • 2013 – Nano-Structures for Optics and Photonics
  • 2012 – Workshop on New Developments in Inorganic Luminescent Materials
  • 2011 – Nano-Optics for Enhancing Light-Matter Interactions on a Molecular Scale
  • 2010 – Workshop on Luminescence of Inorganic Materials and Bioimaging: Metal-to-Metal Energy and Electron Transfer
  • 2009 – Bio-Photonics: Spectroscopy, Imaging, Sensing, and Manipulation
  • 2008 – Workshop on Advances in Luminescence Spectroscopy
  • 2007 – Frontier Developments in Optics and Spectroscopy
  • 2006 – Workshop on Advances in the Study of Luminescence Materials
  • 2005 – New Developments in Optics and Related Fields: Modern Techniques, Materials and Applications
  • 2004 – Workshop on Advances in Luminescence Research
  • 2003 – Frontiers of Optical Spectroscopy. The book, sponsored by NATO, has been published by Kluwer Academic Publishers
  • 2002 – Workshop on the Status and Prospects of Luminescence Research
  • 2001 – Spectroscopy of Systems with Spatially Confined Structures
  • 2000 – Workshop on Advanced Topics in Luminescence Spectroscopy
  • 1999 – Advances in Energy Transfer Processes
  • 1998 – Workshop on Advances in Solid State Luminescence Spectroscopy
  • 1997 – Ultrafast Dynamics of Quantum Systems: Physical Processes and Spectroscopic Techniques
  • 1996 – Workshop on Luminescence Spectroscopy
  • 1995 – Spectroscopy and Dynamics of Collective Excitations in Solids
  • 1993 – Nonlinear Spectroscopy of Solids: Advances and Applications
  • 1991 – Optical Properties of Excited States in Solids
  • 1989 – Advances in Nonradiative Processes
  • 1987 – Disordered Solids: Structures and Processes
  • 1985 – Spectroscopy of Solid-State Laser-Type Materials
  • 1983 – Energy Transfer Processes in Condensed Matter
  • 1981 – Collective Excitations in Solids
  • 1979 – Radiationless Processes
  • 1977 – Luminescence of Inorganic Solids
  • 1975 – The Spectroscopy of the Excited State
  • 1974 – Optical Properties of Ions in Solids.


These events have taken place in Erice, Italy at the "Centro di Cultura Scientifica Ettore Majorana." (CCSEM). For a list of other Institutes offered by the CCSEM see: