Prof. Caterina Petrillo


Caterina Petrillo is full professor with a Chair in Experimental Physics at the University of Perugia where she led the Department of Physics for 5 years (2009-2014) and the Department of Physics and Earth Science for 3 years (2014- 2017). A physicist by training, she began her research career in condensed matter physics, largely benefitting of neutron and X-ray scattering techniques available at the European large-scale facilities, where she also contributed to design and construction of neutron instruments and components. She served as a member of several scientific evaluation and advisory committee (ESRF-SAC, ESFRI-PSE, ESFRI-NLG, H2020-RI Advisory Group, Helmholtz Association, Research Foundation Flanders FWO) and governing bodies of international research facilities (Institut Laue-Langevin, the European Spallation Source ESS), both as a scientific expert and an appointed representative of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). She also served as the appointed Italian Delegate to the Programme Committee Research Infrastructures of FP7 and the elected Vice-Chair of the ESS Council. Caterina Petrillo is a member of the Italian Delegation to the Group of Senior Officials of the G8-5 on Global Research Infrastructures. Recently, she has been nominated the representative of the Research Ministry in the Board of Directors of the INFN and a member of the Italian delegation to the ESFRI Forum. She has been elected by the University Senate as one of the members of the Executive Board of the University of Perugia. She has a broad experience of global facilities and the strategies for their long-term sustainability. Very recently, she has been honored to be elected as the new Foreign Member of the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (Kungliga Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademien/IVA). His majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf is the patron.

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;