PHOTONICS APPLIED TO SPACE: A WORKSHOP WITH THE ITALIAN SPACE AGENCY AT THE TECIP INSTITUTE

Efficient, fast and sustainable communications, which are developed with photonics, open innovative and extremely interesting scenarios for technologies and space applications.

This was the central theme of the workshop organised with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) at the Communication, Information and Perception Technology Institute of the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa, where INPHOTEC, the Integrated Photonic Technologies Center, launched in the month of January 2015, has already been confirmed as a national and European pole of excellence in the field.

“We commit to understanding the contribution that we can provide to the Italian Space Agency and, in general, to the Italian Space system in its entirety” said Giancarlo Prati, TeCIP Director, opening the workshop. “Over the last few years - underlined Roberto Battiston, ASI President – there has been significant development in optical space communications, in which Italy has a minimal role in it: this is an important occasion to focus on such a promising field”.

During the morning session, after Prati’s introduction and Battiston’s speech, Roberto Formaro, ASI Technologies and Engineering Unit Leader, introduced the industrial organisations of the field participating in the workshop. These included, among others, there were Finmeccanica, Sitael, CSG, Thales Alenia Space, Kaiser Italia, IMT, LFoundry, MEC and Optoi Microelectronics. The workshop was also an occasion for the making of new contacts between the space industry and technological research in the field of integrated photonics.

Afterwards, specific presentations followed from the TeCIP Institute Area Leaders: these focused upon the Institute’s skills and areas of excellence, which provide interesting application perspectives in the space field. In particular, the high potentiality of photonic technologies were presented in relation to the creation of sensors, the communications in free and intra-satellite space and in order to obtain flexible and miniaturised solutions in applications, which are traditionally based exclusively upon radiofrequency techniques.

The workshop ended with a visit to the Institute facilities, including the Clean Room for Photonics of INPHOTEC.  

The TeCIP Institute, currently working at the 6th level of TRL (Technology Readiness Level) compared to the average TRL4 of the University, has been classified by the National Evaluation Agency of the University and Research System (ANVUR) at being in first place in TLC research.

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