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Mario URSO

Assistant Professor of Physics of matter [FIS/03]

Mario Urso is a Researcher (RTDA) in Physics of Matter at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Catania. He obtained his PhD in Materials Science and Nanotechnology from the University of Catania in 2020 and subsequently worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Catania and as a Senior Researcher and Marie-Curie Fellow in the research group of Prof. Martin Pumera at the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) in Brno (Czech Republic) from 2020 to 2022.

Currently, his research project focuses on the development of autonomous and intelligent micro- and nanorobot metamachines based on micro- and nanostructures of metals and/or semiconductors with photocatalytic and magnetic properties. This particular class of robots is capable of moving autonomously under visible light irradiation and reconfiguring into different macrostructures under appropriate magnetic fields to perform various tasks, such as in the field of clean energy production.

He has published numerous scientific articles on nanostructured materials for electrochemical and gas sensors, energy (batteries and supercapacitors, water splitting), and water purification. He has also been the Principal Investigator of projects funded by the European Commission and the MUR for a total value of more than 300,000 euros.

Mario Urso is the author of over 25 scientific articles on micro- and nanostructures for sensing, energy, and water purification (

Here is a selection of 5 recent and relevant works:

  1. M. Urso, M. Ussia, M. Pumera. Smart micro- and nanorobots for water purification. Nature Reviews Bioengineering (2023)
  2. M. Urso, M. Ussia, F. Novotny, M. Pumera. Trapping and detecting nanoplastics by MXene-derived oxide microrobots. Nature Communications 13, 3573 (2022) - Impact factor: 17.69
  3. X. Peng, M. Urso, M. Ussia, M. Pumera. Shape-Controlled Self-Assembly of Light-Powered Microrobots into Ordered Microchains for Cells Transport and Water Remediation. ACS Nano 16, 7615 (2022) - Impact factor: 18.027
  4. M. Urso, M. Ussia, M. Pumera. Breaking Polymer Chains with Self-Propelled Light-Controlled Navigable Hematite Microrobots. Advanced Functional Materials 31, 2101510 (2021) - Impact factor: 19.924
  5. M. Urso, C. Iffelsberger, C. C. Mayorga-Martinez, M. Pumera. Nickel Sulfide Microrockets as Self-Propelled Energy Storage Devices to Power Electronic Circuits “On-Demand”. Small Methods 5, 2100511 (2021) - Impact factor: 15.367