Prof. Davide Comoretto

Full Professor, Team Leader


Davide Comoretto was born in Milano, Italy, in 1963. He graduated in Physics in 1988. In 1993 he obtained a PhD in Chemical Sciences and was then enrolled as Research Scientist at the Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry of the University of Genoa where he is now Full Professor of Industrial Chemistry.

During his research activity, he worked at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry - CNR (Milan, Italy), the Department of Physics "A. Volta" (University of Pavia, Italy) and at the Institute for Polymers and Organic Solids at the University of California Santa Barbara (USA) in the group chaired by Prof. A.J. Heeger (Nobel Laureate).

Dr. Paola Lova

Assistant Professor (RTD - A)


personal website

Paola Lova obtained a MSc in Industrial Chemistry in 2012 at the University of Genova and a PhD with a thesis on photonic crystal sensors from the Nanyang Technological University in 2017. She joined the group first as a Post Doc and then as Assistant professor from 2020. Her research focuses on the design of new photonic structures for environmental applications including sensing and photodegradation and food packaging. She is also developing new materials with controlled optical and mechanical properties for emission control, sensing and photocatalysis.

Research Assistants

Simone Bertucci

Simone received his bachelor degree in Chemistry in 2018 at the University of Genoa with a thesis on alginate based hydrogels for biomedical applications. He then Joined the Master of Science in Industrial Chemistry during which he joined the research group for his Thesis work based on the development of highly inorganic hybrid materials for photonics. He graduated in March 2021 and then remained in the group as a research assistant.

Andrea Lanfranchi

After a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 2018, Andrea moved to Material Science and Engineering for his master’s degree. He joined the group in 2020 for his master’s Thesis project, focused on the use of polymer multi-layered structures as thermal shields, reflecting near-infrared radiation and thus reducing radiative heating. He graduated in March 2021 and then remained in the group as a research assistant.


Heba Megahd

Heba earned her bachelor’s degree from the German University in Cairo (Egypt) in materials science and engineering (2017), working on characterizing mechanical properties of additively manufactured parts for her thesis at RWTH University (Germany). After that, she joined the Erasmus Mundus master’s program SERP+, earning a double degree in Chemistry and Materials Science from Paris-Saclay University (France) and the University of Genoa (2019). She joined the lab for her master’s thesis, studying polymer photonic vapor sensors. As a PhD student, her current research focuses on using solution-processed nano-structured polymer and hybrid photonic structures for light management applications as well as sensing. When not working with lasers and spectrometers, she enjoys dabbling in the visual arts. She designed the Rely-Photonics logo.

Andrea Esher

Andrea joined the group in 2020 for a PhD on polymer photonic crystal sensors for intelligent packaging. In 2020, He received his master in Material Science and Engineering University of Genoa, Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry with a thesis on the use of nanoparticles for morphological control of blends of polyethylene and polypropylene.

Master students

Mariela Villareal Brito

Mariela is a master’s student in the international program: Surface, Electro, Radiation, and Photo-Chemistry (SERP+). In 2019, she received her bachelor’s degree in Nanotechnology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Currently, she is working in her master’s project in the design and fabrication of polymer microcavities.

Lorenzo Friscione

Lorenzo joined the group in 2021 for a MSc thesis in Material Science and Engineering on hybrid photonic structures for photodegradation of pollutants in water. In 2019, He received his bachelor degree in Material Science from the Department of Physics of the University of Genoa, with a thesis on the analysis and characterization of asbestos by Raman microscopy and FTIR spectrophotometry.

Martina Martuscello

Martina joined the group in 2021 for a MSc thesis in Industrial Chemistry on mechanochromic photonic crystals based on elastomers. In 2019 she received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Genoa, Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry with a thesis on the preparation and characterization of Rh-based catalysts for dry reforming of methane (DRM).


Dr Giovanni Manfredi (MSc in Material Science 2014; PhD 2018)

Giovanni joined the group in 2013 where he got his MSc in Materials Science and Engineering in 2014 and his PhD in Material Science in 2018. In the group, he worked on planar polymer photonic crystals and on the study of light matter interaction in these systems (DOI: 10.1039/C8RA01282B). Since 2017, he is a postdoc researcher at the Center for Nanoscience and Technology of the Italian Institue of Technology in Milan. His current work aims to polymer retina prostheses (DOI: 10.1063/5.0037109) to recover vision after photoreceptors degeneration.

Alba Surace (MSc in Industrial Chemistry 2018)

Alba joined the group in 2017. Her MSc thesis focused on the fabrication of new hybrid materials with engineered refractive index for the fabrication of solution processed photonic crystals. After graduation she Joined Aurora Biofarma where she is now a Product Manager.

Gabriele Pesce (MSc in Industrial Chemistry 2018)

Gabriele joined the group in 2017. His work focused on the design of a new deposition method for microsphere monolayers. After graduation, he joined Lamberti Spa.

Marco Olivieri (MSc in Material Science 2018)

Marco joined the group in 2017. His work focused on the design and fabrication of polymer and organic microcavity for lasing. After graduation he joined the University of Insubria for his doctoral studies in Physics.

Pavlo Perkhun (MSc - SERP+ programm 2017)

Pavlo focused his Thesis work on the study of reversibility of polymer photonic crystal sensors. After graduation he Joined the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Nanoscience de Marseille (CINaM) for his PhD studies.

Dr Paolo Giusto (MSC in Industrial Chemistry - 2016)

Paolo did his master thesis under the supervision of prof. Comoretto on polymer and hybrid photonic crystal structures. Afterwards, he pursued his PhD studies in polymer chemistry at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam (DE) under the supervision of prof. Markus Antonietti. Currently. he is group leader at the same institute developing thin film materials for energy storage devices.

Chiara Bastianini (MSc, Industrial Chemistry - 2016)

After a bachelor in Chemical Sciences Chiara got passionate about polymer sciences and undertaken the MSc in Industrial Chemistry. She joined the group in 2015 and worked on the determination of molecular diffusion parameters in polymer multilayers via optical spectroscopy. After graduation, she joined the R&D team of a multinational company in the field of chemical adjuvant.

Selena Silvano (MSc, Industrial Chemistry - 2016)

Selena joined the group for a Thesis on the synthesis of polymer-inorganic hybrids for photonic applications aiming to the tuning of the composite refractive index and to use the new materials for the solution-processing of high dielectric contrast photonic structures.

After graduation, she joined the CNR-SCITEC as a research fellow where she worked on sulphur-rich polymers synthesized from carbon disulphide by ring-opening copolymerization and from elemental sulphur by inverse vulcanization. Currently, she is a PhD student at University of Milano Bicocca and CNR-SCITEC on the synthesis of polystyrene-polyisoprene copolymers with star and comb architectures built by anionic polymerization as new viscosity modifiers for energy saving lubricants.

Serena Gazzo (MSc, Industrial Chemistry - 2014)

Serena joined the group in 2014 for a Master Thesis project in collaboration with Solvay Specialty Polymers. She worked on the implementation of perfluorinated polymers in photonic nanostructures with a special focus on the surface activation of these materials to allow successful integration. Her project led to a patent (WO2016087439)

Currently, she is researcher in the Hydrocolloids Research Unit of Lamberti Spa, where she works on organic synthesis on natural polymers and on the evaluation of the environmental impact of both products and processes (Life Cycle Assesment e Product Carbon Footprint).

Robert Knarr (MSC -SERP+ programm 2014)

Robert spent his time in the group developing responsive photonic structures. After his graduation he joined the University of Basel for his PhD studies.

Simone Congiu (MSc in Material Science 2013)

Dr Luca Occhi (MSc in Material Science - 2012)

Luca completed his Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Genova under the supervision of Prof. Davide Comoretto in March 2012 with a thesis entitled “Preparation and characterization of organic photonic crystals doped with photochromic materials”. After that he moved to London and was part of the Centre for Plastic Electronics (CPE) at Imperial College London until 2017, firstly as an MRes student, and after as a PhD candidate. After his graduation he decided to move to industry and started working as scientist for Cambridge Display Technology Ltd. Luca has been working as a systems engineer at Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd since January 2019. He is involved in the development of devices using shape memory alloy wire actuation technology, which include augmented reality applications and haptic mobile actuators.

Dr Valentina Robbiano (MSc in Material Science - 2012)

Valentina graduated in Materials Science and Engineering in March 2012 with a thesis on the integration of plasmonic structures in photonic crystals. After the graduation she joined University College London for a PhD in physics with Marie Curie ITN Studentship. She is currently a senior process engineer in STMicroelectronis.

Serena Leporatti (MSc in Chemical Sciences 2010)

Luca Frezza (Msc in Material Science 2010)

Luca Berti (Msc in Chemical Science 2010)

Dr Francesco di Stasio (MSc in Material Science 2008)

Francesco graduated with Prof. Comoretto in 2008 with a thesis on the self-assemblyng of synthetic opals for emission control. He then Joined the University College of London where he obtained his PhD with a research on the properties and applications of supramolecular architectures. He has been coordinator of the NANOPTO project held at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Barcelona (Spain). As an ERC Staring Grantee, he is now leader of the Photonic Nanomaterials group at the Italian Institute of Technology (Genova).

Marco Cucini (Msc in Material Science 2007)

Marco graduated in Material Science and Engineering in 2007 with a thesis on thin film deposition on colloidal Photonic Crystals. He then joined Sanofi Spa, initially as Safety Engineer. He covered different positions and became Production Supervisor in 2015. From 2016 he is Production Supervisor for NEWCHEM SPA.