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Marco Bellini

Hi, here you can find a very general description of my professional self.

You can also download a reasonably updated list of publications here:

My list of publications


1992                   M. Sc. degree in Physics at the University of Firenze (110/110 cum laude)
1996                   Ph.D. degree in Physics at the University of Firenze
1997-1999        Part of the technical/scientific staff at LENS, Firenze, Italy
1999-2004        Researcher at the Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO), Firenze, Italy
2004-2010        Senior Researcher at INO – CNR, Firenze, Italy
2010- now        Research Director at INO – CNR, Firenze, Italy

Coordinator of two experimental research groups in a collaboration among the Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO-CNR), the European Laboratory for Non Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), and the Department of Physics of the University of Firenze. The main focus is quantum optics and laser/matter interactions at very high intensities.

2010-2017           Elected member of the Council of CNR-INO
2017-now           Head of the Sesto Fiorentino Unit of CNR-INO, the largest unit of the Institute, with 46 permanent staff and about 60 grants and associates.


Co-author of >150 publications in refereed international scientific journals (2 Science, 1 Nature, 3 Nature Photonics, 18 Phys. Rev. Lett., etc.), in books, and in refereed proceedings and of >140 conference presentations (58 invited ones). His papers have been cited about 3600 times and score an h-index of 31 according to Scopus, January 2019.

Main scientific interests:

  • Quantum Optics: generation, engineering, and characterization of nonclassical states of light for novel quantum technologies
  • Quantum information processing and communication: development of experimental tools and procedures for continuous-variable protocols and field tests of quantum key distribution
  • Tests of fundamental principles in quantum mechanics: non-classicality, entanglement, nonlocality, commutation rules, etc.
  • Development, characterization, and applications of novel coherent sources in the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) based on high-order laser harmonics
  • High-intensity laser-matter interactions and generation of supercontinuum
  • Spectroscopy with ultrashort laser pulses and development of novel techniques for high-resolution atomic spectroscopy
  • High-precision atomic and molecular spectroscopy and development of novel coherent sources in the far infrared (FIR-THz)
  • Optical coherence tomography for advanced diagnostics in medicine and for the cultural heritage

Main scientific achievements:

  • 1997 Demonstration of phase coherence in supercontinuum generation: fundamental discovery for the generation of trains of phase-locked supercontinuum pulses. It led to the development of frequency combs, later awarded of the 2005 Nobel prize in Physics to Theodor W. Hänsch, co-author of the research.
  • 1998 Demonstration of phase coherence in high-order harmonic generation: it proved the role of the different electron trajectories in the harmonic generation process and led to the development of attosecond pulses and to the birth of attophysics.
  • 2000-2002 Demonstration of XUV interferometry and high-resolution XUV spectroscopy with high-order harmonics: it opened the field to the now widespread use of laser harmonic sources for applications in the XUV and soft X-ray regions.
  • 2004 Experimental realization of the photon creation operator: first implementation of a fundamental quantum process for advanced state engineering and first exploration of the quantum-to-classical transition for light states.
  • 2006 First application of Optical Coherence Tomography to artwork diagnostics: after this pioneering demonstration in ancient painting analysis, OCT has now become a widespread and privileged tool for cultural heritage diagnostics.
  • 2007 Direct verification of non-commutativity of quantum operators: the first realization of arbitrary sequences and superpositions of simple quantum operators was a breakthrough for the fundamental understanding of quantum physics and as a new tool for quantum technologies.
  • 2011 Realization of high-fidelity quantum noiseless amplification: using a non-deterministic scheme to avoid the addition of quantum noise to the amplification process, it promises more efficient methods for quantum information processing and communication.
  • 2012 Shaping of ultrashort single photons: thanks to an innovative merge of the fields of ultrafast and quantum optics, it demonstrated the possibility of encoding quantum information in the spectrotemporal mode of quantum light states.
  • 2013 Femtosecond laser writing of graphitic electrodes in diamond: this new technique holds promise of leading to the realization of 3D diamond detectors for high-energy physics and biomedical applications.
  • 2014 First hybrid quantum/classical entangled states of light: experimental realization of the optical version of Schrodinger’s cat paradox. A fundamental scientific breakthrough and a possible main ingredient of future heterogeneous quantum networks.
  • 2015 Noise-assisted transport in an optical network: a simple, scalable, and controllable optical fiber cavity network to simulate quantum transport phenomena.
  • 2015 First arbitrary state orthogonalizer and qubit generator: a “Schrödinger’s pet” machine, able to turn a whole zoo of input states into coherent superpositions for innovative quantum technologies and measurement tasks.
  • 2016 Demonstration of zero-area single-photon pulses: a single broadband photon of extremely short duration can be strongly modulated by interacting with resonant atoms.

Other recent significant achievements:

  • 2016-2017 Elected among the Optical Society of America (OSA) Fellows of 2017 for pioneering contributions in ultrafast, highly nonlinear, and quantum optics. In particular, for his seminal experiments on the coherence of supercontinuum and high-order harmonics and for innovative methods of quantum light state engineering
  • 2012-2015 Special Visiting Researcher, Brazilian Science Without Borders programme: “Coherent manipulation of the spectrotemporal mode of quantum light
  • 2013 Habilitation for First Grade Professorship (Professore di Prima Fascia: Ordinario), in Sector 02/B1 (Experimental Physics of Matter), with a global score of: Excellent (A)
  • 2013 Organizer and Chair of the Quantum Information Processing and Communication (QIPC 2013) Conference, 30/06-05/07/2013, Florence, Italy
  • 2014 Co-author of a Taylor&Francis book: “Laser-based measurements for time and frequency domain applications: A handbook” (ISBN 9781439841518)
  • 2008-now Member of numerous advisory boards and program committees of international scientific conferences
  • 2006-now 13 Invited seminars and Colloquia at prestigious international research Institutes
  • 2003-now 58 Invited oral presentations + 1 Plenary presentation at international conferences
  • 2003-now Numerous popular scientific articles and interviews in the national and international press
  • 1997-2005 Key role (explicitly recognized during the Nobel lecture in Stockholm and in numerous interviews in the following years) in the researches that led to the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics to Prof. T. W. Hänsch

Main international scientific collaborations:

  • Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Garching, GERMANY
  • Lund Institute of Technology, SWEDEN
  • Centre d’Etudes de Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, FRANCE
  • Queen’s University, Belfast, UK
  • Universidad Complutense, Madrid, SPAIN
  • University of Rostock, GERMANY
  • Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, RUSSIA
  • Imperial College, London, UK
  • University of Olomouc, CZECH Rep.
  • Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, BELGIUM
  • Seoul National University, Seoul, KOREA
  • University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA
  • Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, BRAZIL

Collaborations with international scientific journals:

As a Topical Editor

  • Optics Letters (2012-2018)

As a Referee

  • Science
  • Nature, Nature Physics, Nature Photonics, Nature Communications
  • Physical Review Letters, Physical Review A
  • Optics Letters, Optics Express, JOSA B
  • New Journal of Physics
  • + several others…

Collaborations with industries:

  • CSO (Costruzione Strumenti Oftalmici) Firenze: development of an ocular biometer using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT);
  • ENI (Istituto Donegani) Novara: optical simulators of quantum transport in photosynthetic systems

Refereeing and evaluating activities:

  • Involved in didactical activities for LENS and UNIFI PhD courses
  • Supervisor of 8 graduate and 6 PhD theses
  • Evaluator for national and international scientific projects (ERC 2017; DFG 2017, Germany; ANR 2012 and 2013, France; Vici NWO 2012, Netherland; Padua University, etc.)
  • External referee for national and international PhD theses and scientific grants (Universities of Tel Aviv, Swinburne, Padua, Pisa, Torino, Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris, Bristol, etc.)
  • Member of the selection committees for several CNR research contracts and permanent positions