The aim of the electromagnetic dosimetry laboratory is to evaluate, through suitable experiments, the reliability of the results provided by numerical models that estimate the electromagnetic quantities induced in the human body and the thermal effects produced by them. The experimental setup has been designed to support the study of the effects produced by magnetic resonance tomographs for diagnostic purposes (MRI).
The facility is able to generate magnetic fields in the 10 MHz to 400 MHz frequency range by means of antennas typically employed in MRI devices. Moreover it is able to measure the produced electric and magnetic fields, under near field conditions, with a spatial resolution of some millimetres. A 3D automatic handling system, associated with a software that manages the generation of the field, the positioning of the electromagnetic field probes, the acquisition and data analysis, can provide electric and magnetic maps with high accuracy and reliability both in air and in phantoms filled with tissue-simulating-liquid, also in presence of prostheses.
The laboratory comprises a High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster, based on a hybrid CPU-GPU architecture for both serial and parallel computing. This hardware platform is employed to support research activities involving large-scale numerical simulations, namely electromagnetic dosimetry studies with high-resolution anatomically realistic models, solution of inverse problems for quantitative imaging tomography techniques (e.g. MR-EPT), and modelling of magnetic micro/nanostructures for magnetic hyperthermia and lab-on-chip applications (e.g. detection of magnetic labels).
The HPC cluster is currently equipped with seven nodes (Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2680 2.8 GHz, RAM 128 Gb, GPU Kepler K40 cards) and is managed in a Windows HPC environment. The Lab is also comprised of a server and a set of graphic workstations for the post-processing of simulation data.
The laboratory, thanks to the measurement of the parameters of the ultrasound beam (pressure, power and intensity), is able to carry out complete characterisation of ultrasound probes/transducers used in diagnostic and therapeutic fields. It is also possible perform the characterization of acoustic cavitation generated by high intensity ultrasound through measures of cavitation noise, by high-speed camera images recording and with spectrophotometric methods.
The laboratory is able to design and realise:
- Insonation systems in the frequency range from 20 kHz to 1 MHz for industrial research applications and for transdermal drug delivery;
It also realises and characterises:
- Insonation systems in the frequency range from 1 MHz to 3 MHz for biomedical applications;
- Phantoms and Tissue Mimicking Materials used both in therapeutic and diagnostic ultrasound, to investigate the interaction between the ultrasonic waves and the real tissues.
The Radiochemistry and Spectroscopy laboratories are located at the Department of Chemistry and close to the Laboratorio Energia Nucleare Applicata (LENA) of the University of Pavia.
The facilities, the health surveillance services and the installed instruments allow to develop and apply analytical methods based on activation analysis for the determination of more than sixty elements of the periodic table with a relative uncertainty within the range 1% - 10% and mass fraction detection limits within the range 10-6 - 10-12.
In addition to common instruments available in an analytical chemistry laboratory there are three gamma spectrometry chains, two of which are equipped with an automatic sample replacement system.
The neutron irradiations are performed at the Triga Mark II research neutron reactor of the University of Pavia and operated by LENA.
The laboratory supports research and metrology services in cellular biology in line with the international metrology strategy. It has developed benchmarks for cell count on 2D solid matrices, measuring methods for counting cells in 3D matrices and image analysis methods, for both diagnostic and therapeutic use.
Using the techniques of classical optical microscopy (phase contrast, fluorescence), advanced multimodal optical microscopies (2 photons/Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering - CARS/Second Harmonic Generation - SHG), mechanical microscopy (AFM force spectroscopy), spectrophotometry, cytofluorometry and digital PCR (polymerase chain reaction) the laboratory performs non-invasive measurements of: cell proliferation and differentiation, elastic modulus of cells, tissues and substrates, cell-cell and cell-scaffold interactions, gene expression and DNA quantification for both diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
The lab also conducts cell tracking studies by exploiting the interaction of cells with fluorescent nanoparticles and magnetic nano-discs and cytotoxicity studies by measuring the release of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) by cells and tissues in vitro.
The laboratory develops primary standards of trace volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to be used in different applications, in medicine and toxicology. It has developed and validated primary dynamic standards based on the physical principle of diffusion, in particular oxygenated compounds, ethanol, methanol, acetone in purified air in the molar fraction range between 10 nmol/mol and 500 nmol/mol with short, medium and long-term stability and relative accuracy less than 4 %. It has developed a portable prototype with the same metrological characteristics, being internationally validated by interlaboratory comparison.