Investing in science, research and new technologies means thinking about progress, believing in economic development, counteracting the crisis. For these reasons HTE-Hi.Tech.Expo, a unique fair of its kind, is a not to be missed event for those who know how to look to the future, but, at the same time, are searching for advanced technological solutions that are already ready to be used. The show, the first of its kind dedicated to science, research and advanced technologies, scheduled from 25 to 27 November 2009 at fieramilano, Rho, is made up of different complementary halls for: production machinery and technology for the photovoltaic industry; vacuum and coating; nanotechnologies; hydrogen and fuel cells; electricity storage; superconductivity, superconductors and cryogenetics; vision technology; thermo-nuclear fusion; photonics.

With regards to the latter, Stefano Pelli, president of SIOF (Societą Italiana di Ottica e Fotonica - Italian Society of Optics and Photonics) says that "in recent years our life has been radically changed by progress reached in the photonics field, as the ensemble of the scientific knowledge and technologies that enable us to control light are defined. Photonics is a crucial technology, even if at times it is hidden from users, for all those devices and services that we use each day and whose effect on our lives is destined to increase even more in the next years. We are, in fact, just to give some examples, used to the presence of the Internet, to the graphic capabilities of our cell phones, computers and TVs, as well as the possibility to carry out new, more efficacious therapies or accurate medical analyses, less dangerous or invasive. These analyses are now able to, in many cases, precociously identify illnesses and, with greater sensibility compared to the possibilities of even just a few years ago. Some examples of this are the laser technologies used in the treatment of optical illnesses or systems for the reconstruction and analysis of particular genetic sequences.

The important social aspects, and the development of the technologies connected to photonics, also determine the economic importance and the great industrial opportunities offered by this sector. In fact, photonics has a worldwide turnover of more than Euro 200 billion, of which Europe has about 25%, which is comparable to that of the semiconductor industry or of that of telecommunication devices, and with annual growth rates of about 10%. Italy, as reported in the White Book published by the PHORIT platform and testified by the directory L'Ottica in Italia - Optics in Italy - published by SIOF, has, in the photonics filed, peaks of excellence both in research and in that of industry, with 200 companies active, and with a turnover equal to at least 8% of that of Europe".

The opportunity of the conferences
Other than the exhibition area, HTE-Hi.Tech.Expo 2009 also has numerous conferences scheduled, which will be an interesting opportunity of professional updating for all operators of the sector. On Thursday 26 November, for example, there will be a conference entitled Superconductivity and its application for the third millennium: prospects for the production and transport of energy with the scientific responsibility of Andrea Perali, professor and researcher of the Dipartimento di Fisica dell'Universitą di Camerino - Department of Physics of the University of Camerino, who explains: "The event will be made up of four sessions. The first will deal with superconductive materials, from pure metals to the most recent discoveries of iron- and arsenic-based materials, the phenomenology of superconductivity and a panorama on its applications. This first session will be fundamental for those who do not work in the sector, so as to gain fundamental notions and concepts of superconductivity. During the second session, the physics of superconductivity with critical high temperature will be discussed: cuprates, magnesium diboride and iron- and arsenic-based superconductors. In the third session, we will deal with advanced topics such as the quantum mechanics of superconductivity: vortexes, the Josephson effect and Andreev reflection, superconductive fluctuations and resonant phenomenon for the raising of critical temperature. Last but not least, the fourth session will discuss the applications of superconductivity for energy: superconductive cables, superconductor devices for electricity grids, electricity generators and outlooks for wind energy, very high power electro-magnets and applications of magnetic levitation. The conference sessions will also see the participation of expert researchers of the sector from universities and research centres, as well as from private companies operating in this sector. The conference is aimed at undergraduates, Ph.D.s and young researchers, other than at high school teachers interested in superconductivity".

On Thursday 26 November, the conference programme will also include an interesting session entitled Vacuum technologies and biomaterials: research, applications and developments, with the participation of Pietro Favia of the Chemical Department of the University of Bari on the topic of "functionalization via plasma of surfaces for medical applications". During his presentation, Favia will also explain how "the word plasma also defines the ?fourth status' of material, that of partially ionized gas, full of reactive species (for example, atoms, ions, electrons, radicals) generated by the fragmentation and the ionization of molecules and atoms of gas. The plasma state is highly frequent in nature: it exists at high temperature in the stars, in flames in lightening, and at low temperature, in auroras and in the ionosphere. In certain conditions, it is possible to create plasma at environmental temperature artificially, such as in the case of neon lamps and plasma TVs. These kinds of plasma can also be used to improve the surface qualities of materials in many industrial sectors: for example, it is possible to make paper or leather hydrophobic, or Teflon hydrophylic; it is possible to deposit thin films for solar cells, anti-scratch films on plastic ophthalmic lenses, anti-bacterial films on medical prosthesis and devices; it is also possible to use plasma as a means to sterilize surgery instruments.

The materials are modified using extremely thin layers - up to few nanometres (billionths of a metre) - in environmental-temperature processes without the use of solvents, and with extremely low environmental impact. Chemical plasma processes are part of nano-technologies and have, since the 1970s, had enormous industrial importance, when they became the basic technology for the production of integrated circuits in micro-electronics. Industrial interest then also moved to less technological, but extremely vast production, and, indirectly, to many industrial areas, also including, among others, paper, textile, shoe, polymer, packaging, optical, jewellery/goldsmith, transport, building and biomedical. In this field, chemical plasma processes are studied, and in some cases, are already being used in the manufacture of commercial products (for example, contact lenses for prolonged use), to improve the interactions and ?biocompatibility' between biological tissue and artificial material used for prosthesis and biomedical devices".

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