Cnr Nano Modena Celebrates 20 Years
Cnr Nano's Modena unit recently marked its 20th anniversary with a special gathering that welcomed staff, colleagues, and students.

On June 8-9, 2023, the Modena unit of Cnr Nano, known as the S3 Center, hosted a two-day workshop, bringing together its community, stakeholders, and numerous colleagues and friends to celebrate two decades of remarkable scientific accomplishments.

The two days of joyful gathering not only offered the opportunity to reflect on the progress made over the years, discuss ongoing research challenges, and explore future prospects. However, the true highlight was the reunion of friends, colleagues, and former colleagues whose professional paths have intersected with the S3 Center.

A pioneering spirit

The S3 Center was founded in 2002 on the university campus in Via Campi, driven by the pioneering efforts of a group of physicists from Unimore led by Elisa Molinari. Initially, the center had a modest team of merely six researchers.

Today, it stands as one of the two main hubs of the National Research Council’s Nanoscience Institute (Cnr Nano), housing over 80 individuals comprising researchers, technicians, young post-docs, doctoral students, and associates from various institutions.

At laboratories in Cnr Nano Modena, research focus lies in investigating materials and phenomena at the nanoscale, with the aim of tackling significant challenges. Research encompasses the design of innovative and sustainable materials for energy and mechanics, the advancement of novel techniques for electron microscopy, and the exploration of the quantum properties of materials to pave the way for qubits, the fundamental elements of future quantum computers.

20 years of scientific adventure

Since 2002, the S3 Center has embarked on a remarkable scientific journey. Through competitive selection processes, the center has secured an impressive total of 98 research projects, amounting to over 28 million euros in funding from regional, national, and European calls. Over the course of these 20 years, the researchers have produced 1,990 internationally peer-reviewed scientific publications: many of these publications have found their place in highly regarded scientific journals, including some of the most prestigious globally.

Moreover, the Center has played a pivotal role in nurturing talent, having hosted and trained over 300 researchers who now contribute to both our local community and European research initiatives.

“These achievements of the first 20 years of S3-CnrNano in Modena were celebrated during the workshop,” emphasizes Elisa Molinari, professor at Unimore and founder of S3. “Twenty years ago, our vision was to bring together physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers to approach the emerging field of nanoscience with a new, multidisciplinary perspective. While we have made significant strides and achieved important research milestones, we consider the S3 Center itself, the vibrant community, and the collaborations we have fostered as our most significant and valuable successes.”

Massimo Rontani, head of S3, adds, “This anniversary provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the talents of our researchers and express gratitude towards the institutions that support and collaborate with us. Together, we share the belief that research and knowledge are investments for the future of society as a whole.”

A taste of the celebration


The celebration commenced with opening remarks by the authorities, setting the stage for a captivating journey through two decades of intensive scientific activity. Elisa Molinari and Massimo Rontani presented a retrospective, delving into the 20-year evolution of S3, from its initial vision to its most remarkable achievements. The atmosphere was filled with warmth as colleagues, alumni, and friends who have crossed paths with S3 shared their greetings,, accompanied by fond memories and heartfelt remarks.


The second day of the celebration focused on presentations by S3 researchers, highlighting cutting-edge research topics, including a keynote lecture titled “Modena and Pisa, a Tale of Two Cities,” delivered by by Cnr Nano’s director Lucia Sorba. The day also featured a vibrant poster session, showcasing the diverse and innovative work of the center. See the program details at the S3 workshop page here.


We extend our sincere gratitude to all the speakers for their brilliant talks and to all the participants for their support and warm presence throughout the event. Thank you all for celebrating with us! 


At the following links you can find the detailed program of the event, the list of posters and the archive with photo and video materials and slides of the speakers’ speeches.