Prof. Caterina Petrillo

Head of the Physics and Earth Science Department at the University of Perugia


Professor Caterina Petrillo is full professor with a Chair in Experimental Physics. She is the Head of the Physics and Earth Science Department at the University of Perugia. She is a member of several scientific advisory and governing bodies of international research facilities, both as a scientific expert and as a representative of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. She has been a member of the Science Advisory Committee of the ESRF (2006-2011) and the Steering Committee of the ILL (2002-2009). In 2007 she was appointed by the Italian Ministry of Research as Italian Delegate at the Programme Committee Research Infrastructures of the Framework Programme 7th of the European Commission. Under the FP7 Programme (2007-2013) and in cooperation with the European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), she promoted the preparation of the first Italian Roadmap of Research Infrastructures of pan-European interest, advising on how to get the programme supported to ensure the participation of the Italian scientific communities to international research infrastructures. At present, she is a member of the Physical Science and Engineering Working Group of ESFRI, the co-chair of the Neutron Landscape Group of experts set by ESFRI and a member of the European Commission Expert Group “Horizon 2020 Advisory Group on European Research Infrastructures including eInfrastructures”. Since October 2015, she is the Vice-Chair of the Council of the European Spallation Source ESS (Lund, Sweden) after having served as Italian Delegate to the ESS Council, to the ESS Steering Committee since 2011 and as a member of the Lund Round Table since 2007. She has a broad experience of global facilities and the strategies to get them supported.

Research interests

Ground state electronic and magnetic properties of transition metals and alloys. Interacting electron gas: theories and experiments. Collective excitations in molten simple metals. Static and dynamic screening phenomena in an electron fluid. Vibrational dynamics of disordered systems at THz frequencies: excitation modes in complex and/or low-dimensional systems of potential interest in life science research.

Her research activity has been carried out mostly under international collaborations and has largely benefitted of neutron and X-ray scattering techniques available at the major large-scale facilities (ILL, ISIS, LLB, ESRF, Elettra) by either gaining access as a user or managing and leading long term instrument and science projects financed under national and international research programmes. A consistent thread in her research activities has been the design and development of beam line components and neutron spectrometers nowadays operated at the major European facilities (PRISMA@ISIS, BRISP@ILL, IN4C@ILL), whose implementation was supported by European funding or financed within international cooperation schemes involving countries like France, Germany, the UK and the US.

As national coordinator of the Italian Neutron Committee (1999-2004) for INFM (the Italian Institute for the Physics of Matter), she had the task of planning the activities and the participation of the Italian scientific community to the neutron facilities of the Institut Laue Langevin (Grenoble, FR) and the Laboratoire Leon Brillouin (Saclay, FR), including hiring a team of 10 young scientists to operate a permanent INFM group in Grenoble (OGG).

The results of her research have been presented in about 160 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, several institutional reports and invited communications to international conferences. She has also contributed to several policy documents for the European Commission and science policy-making authorities in Italy. Recently, she has acted as one of the Chairs of the Neutron Landscape Group and scientific editors of the 2016 publication ESFRI Scripta Volume I Neutron scattering facilities in Europe - Present status and future perspectives (ISBN: 978-88-901562-5-0;