Piera Maccagnani (Ferrara, July 7, 1963) is a Senior Scientist at the Institute of Microelectronics and Microsystems (IMM) of the Italian National Council (CNR). She received her degree in Electronics in 1988 from the University of Bologna (Italy). Since then she has been working as research scientist at CNR-IMM.
Since 2005 Maccagnani is jointly working with Micro Photon Devices, a spin-off set up by the Politecnico di Milano, with the task of providing the SPAD detectors required for the marketing of photon counting modules. Since 2008 she has been in charge of the research agreement between IMM and Dipartimento di Elettronica e Bioingegneria of Politecnico di Milano for the development and fabrication of improved silicon SPAD detectors. Between 2007 and the end of 2014 she was head of the Micro Nano Fabrication Facility at IMM Bologna; a facility for R&D, primary-stage product development and product manufacturing activities in the area of MEMS, micro and nano technologies. This facility offers specific proven and reproducible technological processing continuously improving its know-how by means of a R&D activity specifically focused on the technology. Furthermore, between 2005 and 2015 she was in charge of the CNR research unit MD.P05.011 named “Development of technology for the fabrication of devices and microsystems for photonics, fluidics and mechanics application”.
Dr. Maccagnani’s research interests are in the study and characterization of materials, structures and processes for the Silicon planar technology, in particular applied to fabrication of MOS and CMOS integrated circuits. Her main research activity is concerned with the design, simulation, fabrication and experimental characterization of silicon integrated devices and circuits, with emphasis on Silicon gas sensors and Silicon Avalanche Detectors. Recently her research interests have enlarged to the integration of 2D materials into the silicon technology platform, for the fabrication of new hybrid devices and sensors.
For several years (1995-1999) Maccagnani’s research interest was in the field of thin film gas sensors devices and micromaching technology. She specifically realized new and very appealing thermoinsulated microfabricated substrates based on thin silicon nitride membranes for thin film gas sensors, as well as thick porous silicon based membranes as thermoinsulated support for thick sensing film. Jointly with CSELT (an italian research center for Telecommunication, based in Torino) she also implemented the technological process (based on multi-step silicon anisotropic etching) for manufacturing micromachined Silicon Optical Bench (SiOB), for fully passive alignment of optical components (laser diode and optical fibre).
Since 2001 Maccagnani is deeply involved in the development of silicon thin SPAD detector, mainly working on the technological fabrication of SPAD devices with improved performances based on silicon planar and CMOS compatible technologies, and she has also worked on the related electrical characterization. She worked on the optimization of the technological process flow aiming at a tradeoff of the main SPAD parameters (large active area, low intrinsic noise, high photon detection efficiency and excellent temporal resolution). This research activity has been developed jointly with the research group led by Prof. Sergio Cova (SPADlab at Politecnico di Milano). Thanks to her activity on SPAD detectors, she has taken part in several multidisciplinary research projects where single-photon level sensitivity is required, such as DNA and protein analysis; single-molecule studies by fluorescence measurements; adaptive optics systems in telescopes and space application, in collaboration with Italian or European research groups. In particular, Maccagnani has partecipated as IMM coordinator to 3 European Research Contracts (FP6 and FP7) and to 2 Italian research projects funded by MIUR. Moreover, in the period 2010- 2012 she acted as coordinator (PI) of a project funded by ASI (Italian Space Agency, prot. I/039/09/0).
Since 2015, she has facing a new challenge moving to graphene and related graphene materials (GRM) technology. The main target of this activity is the creation of a new, more powerful and versatile technology platform, which will open to fabrication of new and more powerful hybrid graphene-silicon devices. Currently, she has developed the main technological steps for the integration of graphene into planar silicon technology (graphene transfer to different substrates, graphene patterning, metal contact to graphene).The basic building blocks for GRM integration into the silicon platform are now available for the fabrication of new prototype electronics, photonics and sensors integrating GRMs. The first hybrid devices (resistors, diodes, van der Pauw structures, sensors,...) have been fabricated and studied.
On behalf of IMM-Bologna, Piera Maccagnani has been scientific responsible for IMM unit and/or of WorkPackage within European Research Contracts:
• ATTRACT under Grant Agreement 777222, Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020),” Near-Infrared Resonant Cavity Enhanced Graphene/Silicon Photodetectors (REVEAL)”, (June 2019-October 2020). Role: IMM Bologna Unit coordinator for the fabrication of graphene-silicon detectors operating at 1550 nm for IR application.
• FP7-SME-2008-1 Project PARAFLUO, EC contract N. 232359, “Parallel fluorescence spectroscopy tools for micro and nano-analytical applications down to single biomolecules” (June 2009- May 2011). Role: IMM Unit coordinator and coordinator of Work package 3 “Technology for fabrication of a monolithic 8x1 SPAD array detector”
• FP6 STREP Project NANOSPAD, EC contract N. 016610, FP6-2004-IST-NMP-2 Biosensors for Diagnosis and healthcare (1 Dicembre 2005 - 30 maggio 2009). Role: IMM Unit coordinator and coordinator of Work package 4, “Development of monolithic arrays of single photon detectors (SPAD)”
• FP6-2002-IST-506813 I.P. SECOQC - Development of a Global Network for Secure Communication based on Quantum Cryptography, EC contract N. 506813 FP6-2002-IST (April 2004 - March 2006). Role: Unit coordinator
And within Italian research projects: funded by MIUR:
• Project Q-SecGroundSpace: “Intermodal Secure Quantum Communication on Ground and Space” (January 2017 – December 2019). Role: IMM Unit coordinator;
• FIRB Project prot. RBNE01SLRJ: “Microsystems for genetic diagnostics” (January 2003 - July 2006). Role: Coordinator of Work package 5: “Fabrication of Prototypes of single SPAD devices suitable for detection head”;
• MIUR Project prot. 2002021224: “Development of Monolithic Photon-Counter arrays for transient high-energy phenomena and adaptive optics in astrophysics” (December 2002 - January 2005) as subcontractor. Role: IMM Unit coordinator for the fabrication and electrical characterization of the monolithic SPAD array of 60 elements developed within the project.
funded by ASI (Italian Space Agency):
• ASI project prot. I/039/09/0, titled “ Readout of a scintillating fiber array by SPAD detectors”
(2010-2012), for the fabrication of a Gamma-ray detector based on Scintillating Fibers using SPAD detectors as read-out circuit with large area and high sensitivity for the measurement of very faint optical signals. Role: Project coordinator (PI).