Space Science and Universe Observation

The sector of Space Science and Observation of the Universe includes several areas of Space Science, Astrophysics and Cosmology, as well as the development, testing and use of detectors in space and for space-based activities.


Astronomy and cosmology

In the case of astronomy and cosmology, a key example is the ESA Euclid mission to be launched in 2022, and where part of this group contributed substantially from the foundation in 2008 to the responsibility and development of several elements of the mission. This led the group to acquire extended expertise in several key areas for the development of scientific space missions, such as the scientific requirements for Phase A studies, the theoretical modeling of physical processes, state-of the-art numerical and hydrodynamical simulations, end-to-end simulations of imaging and spectroscopic data, statistical analysis of Big Data, machine learning/neural networks techniques. This group has also a general expertise in the reduction and analysis of imaging and spectroscopic data from X-rays to infrared. Last but not least, the group is competent of high-resolution molecular spectroscopy and quantum mechanical calculations for the analysis of radio-astronomical spectral surveys, and consequent recognition of molecules in space (i.e. planetary atmospheres, interstellar medium).


In the area of detectors for space applications (but not only related to that), this group has an extended experience in large area, lightweight ionizing radiation sensors. In particular, the development of large area ionizing radiation detectors (X-gamma-rays, protons, electrons) for a real time quantitative monitoring of the radiation dose received (by satellites, space stations or astronauts). Based on organic/hybrid semiconductors, the sensors are thin (<1 mm), operate at low voltage (<5V) and can be fabricated over large areas. Furthermore, the group is also competent in processing the statistical signal of sensors covering all aspects, from detection and estimation to filtering and error control. These signal processing techniques find application in different contexts and can also be used for space observation applications (for example, astronomy radar). Finally, the group has experience also in the development of Chirped Pulse broadband Fourier Transform microwave spectrometers for spectral analysis of molecules, pre-biotic species, complex chemical mixtures, as well as in the testing of miniature sensors and spectrometers for in situ gas sensing.


  • Numerical simulations
  • Statistical analysis of Big Data
  • Machine learning/neural networks
  • Experimental determination of spectroscopic properties of molecules, molecular mixtures and materials
  • Theoretical prediction of molecular properties and accurate spectroscopic parameters by quantum chemical methods.
  • Spectral assignment.
  • Computational simulation of reactive potential energy surfaces of molecules, thermochemistry and kinetics.
  • Testing of miniature sensors and spectrometers for in situ gas sensing.


prof. Andrea Cimatti

Scientific responsible of the Space Science and Universe Observation operative unit

+39 051 20 9 5817

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