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Assistant Professor of Physics of matter [FIS/03]

Ricercatore since 01/01/2022

Antonino Scandurra (Orcid 0000-0002-5281-5776 - Scopus 6701388287 - Web of Science Researcher ID AAD-5602-2020) received his PhD in material science and nanotechnology at the Department of Physics and Astronomy “Ettore Majorana” of Catania University, Italy in 2021. He has been a senior scientist at Catania University Consortium since 1993 until 2016. A.Scandurra is author of about 80 peer reviewed scientific papers published in international journals and in proceedings of national and international conferences, of 4 patents with STMicroelectronics and Toshiba Chemical Corporation, registered in Europe and in the United States, and more than 50 talks (some of them invited) focused on nanomaterial for microelectronics, organic and flexible electronics, sensors and biosensors. He is supervisor of 2 graduation theses and co-supervisor of 20 graduation theses in Physics and Physical Chemitry at the Universities of Catania and Palermo.


Research activities:

- In 1993 he actively participated in the start-up phases of the "Surfaces and Interfaces" Laboratory of Catania University located in the STMicroelectronics plant of Catania;

- In 1993 he was member of the Local Committee of the "5th European Conference on Applications of Surface and Interface Analysis" (ECASIA 93), Catania, 4-8 October 1993;

- From 1993 to 1996 he was a member of the "Task Force on Soft Solder Die Attach" research project, which included European and American Multinational Companies such as ESEC SA, Auger Decaupage, Degussa, STMicroelectronics with the function of Scientific Manager on behalf of the Catania Ricerche Consortium. The purpose of this "Task Force" was to implement the die bonding processes of the involved companies. His contribution in this Task Force consisted in the study of the chemical-physical behavior of the surfaces of the various materials involved (alloys of Cu, Ag, Sn, Pb) and in the optimization of the die bonding processes through the XPS and SIMS analysis techniques;

- In 1995 he carried out research within the European Program (BRITE EURAM II) for the characterization of SiO2-Al-Al2O3 - PE films used in food packages;

- From 1996 to 2003 he was scientific manager of various industrial research contracts in collaboration with the Consortium for Research on Microelectronics in Southern Italy (CORIMME), the Catania Ricerche Consortium and Toshiba Chemical Corporation;

- From 1998 to 2001 he carried out research activities for the European Project "The Development and Validation of Non-Destructive Testing Techniques for Butt Fusion Joints in Polyethylene (PE) Pipes, Acronym: WINDEPP", CRAFT Project as "Task Manager" in collaboration with The Welding Institute (TWI) of Cambridge, Solvay, SIMPLAST SpA (Caltanissetta);

- From 1999 to 2001 he was scientific manager for the CCR of the "Project for Cultural Heritage" of the CNR. (Research contract CNR / Cons.Catania Ri. N. 99.00337.PF36);

- In 2000 he collaborated with the Politecnico di Milano for the drafting of the Quality Manual of the "Surfaces and Interphases" Laboratory as part of the "QUALITY" Innovation Project, "MATERIAL QUALITY" sub-theme, MIUR / CIPE Funds for the Institution of Science and Technology Parks. In accordance with the technical specifications of this project, the Catania Ricerche Consortium has sent to the MIUR the designation of A.Scandurra as Head of the Surface and Interfaces Laboratory.

- From 2002 to 2005 he oversaw both the drafting and the execution of the project "Development of a DIE BONDING Technology using epoxy glues loaded with silver for microelectronic power devices (TE.DIE.MI)", presented L. 297 Art 5, declared by MIUR Exemplary project of the PON "Scientific Research, Technological Development, Higher Education" 2000-2006.

 - From 2003 to 2006 he carried out research activities for the European Project “Ionic Polymer-Metal Composites as Sensor and Actuator: Application in Motion Control”, Contract N. NMP2-CT-2003-505275 (ISAMCO).

- In 2006 he was Project Leader of the ISAMCO project.

- From 2004 to 2006 he was scientific referent for the Catania Ricerche Consortium for the European CRAFT Project "POLYTEC SYSTEMS", EC CONTRACT COOP-CT-2003-507376

-From 2006 to 2008 he was a member of the Scientific Technical Committee within the Project "Public-private laboratory for the development of process technologies and demonstrators of high performance and low cost manufacturing electronic circuits made on plastic substrates" (PLAST_ICs, FAR prot MIUR DM 17767 art.12 lab).

- In 2009 he was part of the "Pack Group” Team, an initiative set up between the Department of Engineering and the Department of Chemical Sciences of the Catania University, STMicroelectronics and the Catania Ricerche Consortium, with the aim to develop of innovative materials for microelectronic packaging. This initiative led to the drafting and then submission of the "Ambition Power" project PON01_00700.

- From 2010 to 2013 he carried out research activities within the SCOOP project - Italian Solar Concentration technOlogies for Photovoltaic Systems, Industry 2015 Energy Efficiency Announcement - Area A) Technological area with high innovative potential - Measure A1) Solar Photovoltaic – Sub-measure 3 Systems Innovative concentrators for photovoltaics.

- From 2010 to 2013 he carried out research activities for the European project "Development and Validation of an Automated Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Approach for Testing Welded Joints in Plastic Pipes" (, Project VII Framework Program U.E.

- Since 2010 he oversaw the drafting and carried out the research activity of the Catania Ricerche Consortium for the "Ambition Power" Project, (PON01_00700), proponent of STMicroelectronics;

- From October 2010 to September 2014 he was the technical-scientific referent for the Catania Ricerche Consortium and was in the implementation team of the Ambition Power Project;

From 2010 to 2014 he was scientific responsible for the Catania Ricerche Consortium of the project "Large Area silicon carbide Substrates and heTeroepitaxial GaN for POWER device applications LAST-POWER", ENIAC 2009 -Sub-program addressed SP8 -Equipment & Materials for Nanoelectronics Coordinator and lead partner: ST Microelectronics, Contract 2010-2014 (48 months) effective 01-04-2010.

- From January 2012 to November 2013 he was scientific manager for the Catania Research Consortium of the project: "Development of Micro and Nano-Technologies and Advanced Systems for Human Health HIPPOCRATES MIUR Call (DD n. 713 / Ric. Del 29- 10-2010) "High technology districts and related networks" and "Public-private laboratories and related networks" Coordinator and leader: Distretto Tecnologico Sicilia Micro e Nano Sistemi Contract 2012-2014 (36 months) effective 1 July 2012.

- From November 2013 to December 2015 he was scientific responsible for the Catania Research Consortium of the project "PLASTIC_ICs Electronics on Plastic for 'Smart Disposable' Systems, coordinator: Distretto Tecnologico Sicilia Micro e Nano Sistemi.

- Since July 2020 he is Guest Editor of the Special Issue of the scientific journal Nanomaterials "Laser Physical and Chemical Processing of Nanomaterials and Their Application in Nanodevices Fabrication".

- From February to December 2021 he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Catania University.

Since 1993, A.Scandurra has carried out research activities, technology transfer to Sicilian small and medium-sized Enterprises and high-level training, also as a company Tutor at the "Surfaces and Interfaces" Laboratory of undergraduates and graduate personnel both on behalf of industries as well as of public institutions.

The main research activity of A.Scandurra concerned the study of materials for power electronic devices in Si, SiC and GaN. This activity was carried out within the Ambition Power and LAST_POWER projects in the role of scientific manager of the partner "Consorzio Catania Ricerche. In particular, antimony and bromine-free molding compounds have been developed for applications at temperatures up to 250°C in SiC P-MOS devices. As part of the Ambition Power project, he worked on innovative both inorganic and organic materials for the assembly of PMOS in SiC and IGBT into power electronic modules. A.Scandurra in collaboration with Heraeus has developed alloys based on the sintering of Ag nanoparticles for applications in power modules in SiC, GaN and on plastic packages. These materials offer high melting temperatures after sintering, required in SiC devices and, at the same time, are lead free, in accordance with the recent directives on “green” materials. In the context of metal alloys and sintered materials based on silver nanoparticles, the phenomena connected to the microstructural evolution due to fatigue induced by thermomechanical cycling and the interaction with the metallizations of the back of the semiconductor chip have been studied. Corrosion mechanisms induced by accelerated life tests in Al alloys for on-chip interconnections in P-MOS devices were also investigated. In collaboration with STMicroelectronics, a corrosion inhibition treatment of Al-Si metallizations was developed. The results have been patented for this activity.

As part of the "front end" activities, he also dealt with the quantification of concentrations and the study of the diffusivity of dopant species (in particular aluminum, boron, arsenic), in Si semiconductors, in silicon nitride films, thermal SiO2, and phosphorus doped SiO2 (PSG); in the field of doped silicon-based semiconductors, the diffusion and electrical activation profiles of aluminum implanted in silicon and its segregation at the Si/SiO2/SixNy interfaces were studied by comparison of Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS)-spreading resistance (SR) profiles. Interfaces and dopant distribution in GaAlAs/GaAs heterostructures, for applications in high frequency devices, were characterized by SIMS.

A.Scandurra in the course of his research has used the advanced techniques of morphological and structural characterization of surfaces and interfaces in materials for power microelectronics such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Space-resolved X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS Small Area), X-ray Diffraction Spectroscopy (XRD), Auger Spectroscopy, Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) and Secondary Neutral (SNMS). In addition, in the field of sensors, he used the electrochemical characterization techniques Cyclic Voltammetry (CV), Potentiometry, Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS), Pulsed and square wave voltammetry in anodic re-dissolution (SWASV).

As part of the Plast_ICs project, A.Scandurra has developed a platform for electrochemical amperometric sensors and biosensors on plastics with materials and processes that, as a whole, have a low cost and a reduced environmental impact. Amperometric sensors were fabricated by depositing silver and graphite electrodes on PEN and Kapton, combining inkjet printing and spray coating deposition techniques. The choice of the type of working electrode depends on any electrochemical interference present in the specific determination of the analyte. In particular, part of this activity involved the realization of electronic conditioning circuits on plastic substrate. In this context, he worked on the study of organic semiconductors with high mobility such as 13,6-N-sulfinylacetamidopentacene (SAP) so-called "soluble pentacene" and poly {[N, N-bis (2-octyldodecyl ) -naphthalene-1,4,5,8-bis (dicarboximide) -2,6-diyl] -alt-5,5 ′ - (2,2′-bithiophene)} (P (NDI2OD-T2). This activity was carried out in collaboration with the University of Palermo and Polyera. These systems are used in the fabrication of organic FET electronic devices on a plastic substrate. A.Scandurra has developed processes for the deposition of these materials from liquid phase onto plastic substrate and at low temperature.

In collaboration with the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems of National Research Council of Italy (CNR-IMM) of Catania, he worked on functionalization of silicon and silicon oxide surfaces with biomolecules (GOx, BSA, DNAss). The aim was to create electronic and optical biosensors integrated with the conditioning electronics built on a silicon platform. The biomolecules were anchored with covalent bonds through the use of a laboratory protocol.

A.Scandurra, as part of the PhD in Materials Science and Nanotechnology and of the research grant, has prepared and characterized nanostructured materials, suitable for the design and manufacture of nano-electrochemical sensors of interest for the human health and environmental monitoring:

1) nanowalls of zinc oxide and hydroxynitrate for the potentiometric determination of pH;

2) graphene-Au and graphene-CuO composite nanostructures obtained by dewetting a gold or CuO layer on graphene paper for the amperometric and voltammetric determination of glucose and fructose;

3) graphene paper-inomer (nafion) -bismuth nanocomposites for the determination of heavy metals in sub-ppb concentrations in drinking water by means of square wave anodic stripping voltammetry (SWASV).

The rapid and sensitive measurement of pH is an important operation in many scientific and technological fields, including medicine, nutrition, environmental monitoring and in the field of genomics. Zinc-based nanostructures show great promise for pH detection as they enable the fabrication of low-cost, bio-sustainable, and high-sensitivity nano-electrodes. The pH sensitivity reported in the literature for different ZnO nanostructures varies from sub- to super-Nernstian, but the microscopic mechanism underlying H+ detection is often not discussed in detail. The mechanism proposed by A.Scandurra to explain the observed non-Nernstian behavior is based on the simultaneous and independent complexation of H+ and OH- with preferential sites in the structures of ZnO and zinc hydroxynitrate, in thermodynamic equilibrium. The data reported and the modeling proposed in this activity are useful to further develop the pH sensitivity of nano-electrodes based on ZnO nanostructures.

Regarding the point 2, he has prepared glucose and fructose sensors consisting of gold nanostructures on graphene paper, produced respectively by laser dewetting or thermal dewetting of 1.6 and 8 nm Au layers (or CuO 6, 8, and 31 nm) thick. The nanosecond laser dewetting process produces spherical nanoparticles (AuNPs) by melting the gold layer and simultaneously exfoliating the graphene paper. The resulting composite nanoelectrodes were characterized using XPS, X-ray diffraction (XRD), cyclic voltammetry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), micro Raman spectroscopy, and Rutherford Backscattering (RBS) spectrometry. The electrode obtained by laser dewetting has spherical gold nanoparticles (AuNP). The dimensions of the nanoparticles are between 10 and 150 nm. A shift in the binding energy in the core-shell XPS Au4f of 0.25-0.3 eV with respect to Au° suggests the occurrence of oxidation of the gold nanoparticles, which show high stability during the electrochemical test in alkaline pH. The thermal dewetting process leads to electrodes characterized by gold, polygonal and non-oxidized structures. Glucose was detected in an alkaline environment at pH 12, at a potential of 0.15–0.17 V with respect to the saturated calomel electrode (SCE), in the concentration range from 2.5 μM to 30 mM, using the peak corresponding to the two-electron oxidation process. Sensitivities up to 1240 µAmM-1cm-2, detection limit of 2.5 μM and limit of quantification of 20 μM have been achieved with an equivalent gold thickness of 8 nm. The analytical performance is very promising and competitive compared to the state of the art on gold based electrodes. CuO-based systems have been equally promising, as well as being low cost compared to gold ones. The low limits of detection and quantification and biocompatibility of gold comply with the detection of glucose in saliva or sweat in continuous glucose monitoring systems and in clinical, hospital and patient self-monitoring systems with diabetes. In the issue 3, the SWASV technique was successfully employed for the rapid, reliable and simultaneous determination of heavy metals at levels below micrograms per liter (ppb) in drinking water. In particular, the technique was used for the simultaneous determination of lead and cadmium which represent two of the most poisonous heavy metals that can be found in drinking water.

The electrode shows detection limits of 0.1 ppb for Pb2+ and Cd2+ respectively. The novelty of the proposed electrode consists of the starting materials and the preparation processes, characterized by simplicity and low cost. In particular, a fundamental phase was used consisting in the ion exchange of H + in the sulphonic groups of the ionomer with Bi3+. The analytical performances obtained are very competitive with the state of the art for the detection of Pb2+ and Cd2+ in solution.

Much of the knowledge produced on the various classes of advanced materials has allowed an improvement in production processes, quality and reliability of high-tech industrial products.

N.B. the number of publications can affect the loading time of the information

- Materials for GaN based microelectronics devices;

- Functionalized hybrid carbon-metal nanomaterials for electrochemical sensing of glucose, pesticides, heavy metals and hydrogen production and storage.

Scientific collaborations

A.Scandurra oversaw the scientific collaboration and the relationships with the R&D Departments of STMicroelectronics of Catania and Agrate, the Departments of Chemical Sciences and Electrical, Electronic and Computer Science of the University of Catania, the Department of Materials Engineering of the University of Naples Federico II, the Institute for the Chemistry of Materials of the National Council of Research (CNR), Rome,  the R&D Department of Demetron-Degussa GmbH (Germany), the R&D of ESEC SA (CH), the R&D Department of Toshiba Chemical Corporation (Tokyo), the R&D Department of Kyocera Chemical Corporation (Tokyo), the R&D Department of Heraeus (Hanau, Germany), the R&D Department of Henkel, the R&D Department of Sumitomo, with “The Welding Institute” (TWI) of Cambridge (UK), the Fraunhofer institut Zuverlassigkeit und Mikrointegration of Berlin, the Max Plank Institut für Metall Forschung of Stuttgart.

- Associated to the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems of National Research Council of Italy (CNR-IMM);

- Associated to the National Interuniversity Consortium of Materials Science and Technology (INSTM).

- A. Scandurra participated in the Scientific Degree Program (PLS) of 2022.

- Guest Editor of the Special Issue of Nanomarials (ISSN 2079-4991) "Laser Physical and Chemical Processing of Nanomaterials and Their Application in Nanodevices Fabrication"

- Guest Editor of the Special Issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944) " Advances in Coatings Prepared by Deposition: Microstructure, Properties and Applications"

Guest Editor of the Special Issue Nanomaterials "Laser-Matter Interaction for Nanostructuration and Characterization: From Fundamentals to Sensing and Energy Applications"