Applied Physics

Applied Physics combines understanding the laws of nature at a fundamental level with a focus on technological application in order to solve important practical problems. As such, it provides an essential link between basic concepts of the physical sciences and the application of these scientific principles in practical devices and systems. This balance between fundamental science and application makes applied physics highly interdisciplinary, having strong relation with Archaeology, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Medicine, History of Art,… Consequently, there are several domains benefiting from research in applied physics thanks to the motivation and attitude of researchers and the nature of the relationship between various topics.

The main goal of the application in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage areas is to provide basic data on archaeology, history of art and other related fields and to develop restoration methods by applying modern technologies in the analysis of cultural remains, materials, manufacturing methods, structures and conservation conditions. The aim is to observe composition, chemical contents, crystal structure and texture of materials used of interest (gold, glass, ceramic, pigments…) to solve problems related to original material, production location, chronology and ancient technologies. It is also possible to study the conditions of works of art, to identify the causes of damage and to develop long-term conservation programs to contribute to restoration and to valorisation projects.

The development of theories and methods of the physical sciences for the investigation of biological systems is at the base of Biophysics . Studies in the branches of this field span all levels of biological organization, from the molecular scale to whole organism and ecosystems. Biophysical research shares significant overlaps with biochemistry, nanotechnology, bioengineering, agrophysics and systems biology.

The application in the Electromagnetic Fields and Waves domain regards experimental and theoretical research aimed to the development of microwave and optical components, processes, and system. The activity includes work on sources of, component for, and applications of coherent electromagnetic microwave radiation. Particular interest is devoted to microwave-integrated circuits for communications, high-power microwave beam forming reflector systems for plasma heating, electron beam sources of high-power microwaves, the use of microwave radiation in materials’ processing, microwave scan probe techniques, and computational electromagnetic models.

Geophysics and Environmental physics concerns the principles and techniques of physics to study the Earth's environment. It has become more widely used by biologists, atmospheric scientists and climate modellers to specify interactions between surfaces and the atmosphere taking into consideration factors that have an impact on the Earth's air, water, and land. A growing importance has the improvement of techniques to monitor levels of air pollutants and the use of physical phenomena for the study of the Earth and its internal composition. Over the last years particular interest has been devoted also to the correlation between environmental radioactivity and volcanic activity.

Medical Physics is the application of physics to medicine. The scientific research deals with studies concerning the use of radiation in areas ranging from medical diagnosis and therapy as well as radiation safety. The health physicist is prominent among scientists charged with controlling the beneficial use of radiation while protecting workers and the public from potential hazards. The branches of medicine mainly interested in medical physics are radiology, which uses ionizing and non-ionizing radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and radiotherapy or radiation oncology wherein high-energy rays are used to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing and dividing.