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Field emission electron microscope

Field emission electron microscope


Experimental laboratory

experimental laboratory2

Experimental laboratory

Analog laboratory

Analog laboratory: ash resuspension experiment in the wind tunnel

In recent decades, the rapid development of knowledge on technology and materials science has made it possible to build instruments capable of reproducing the environmental conditions that control the dynamics of chemical-physical processes inside and on the earth's surface. Among these processes, those relating to seismicity and magmatism-volcanism are of particular economic and social importance due to the number of victims and the extent of damage they cause.
In this context, the Laboratory for High Pressures and High Temperatures of Experimental Geophysics and Volcanology has been developed at the Rome 1 Section of the INGV.
The experimental study of petrological, geophysical and volcanological processes that occur inside and on the surface of the Earth is the objective of the Laboratory which has developed into two main sectors, microanalytical and experimental. The microanalytical sector is fundamental for the characterization of materials. It is equipped with an electron microprobe for the compositional study of geological and experimental materials and a field emission electron microscope for high resolution textural and morphometric analyses. The laboratory is available to a large number of both INGV and external researchers.

On average, 30 research proposals concerning the study of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the properties of materials are developed every year. The experimental sector is made up of many apparatuses which have also partly been developed within the laboratory itself. The main applications concern (i) the study of the chemical-physical properties of magmas, (ii) the study of the physical properties of rocks and (iii) the analogical approach to the study of eruptive dynamics and fracture.

Both Italian and foreign researchers and technologists work in the laboratory and today it represents an international point of reference for experimental research in the geophysical and volcanological sector. Every year researchers from all over the world are hosted, while the training activity for students from Italian and foreign universities is guaranteed through internships, degree theses and research doctorates. Since 2004, the development of the Laboratory for High Pressures and High Temperatures has seen the implementation of numerous national and international projects which in some cases see the laboratory itself also involved as a host institution.


The High Pressure-High Temperature Laboratory of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology of Rome (hereafter HPHT Lab) is a multidisciplinary facility originally founded in 2002.       

The HPHT Lab includes three areas of investigation: 1) experimental testing of natural and synthetic materials; 2) microanalytical and physical analyses; 3) analog experiments. Volcanology, petrology, mineralogy, seismology, and rock physics are the main, broad areas of research at the HPHT Lab.
Concerning the experimental investigations, research in magma evolution and rheology, and on mantle petrology are carried out with high-pressure and high-temperature apparatus, including furnaces, piston-cylinder, and multi-anvil devices, covering conditions from surface eruption of magma to middle mantle.

The frictional properties of faults and rocks are investigated under a wide range of slip rates and dynamics and under variable boundary conditions using unique rotary shear apparatus and large-scale bi-axial press. In addition, rock physics/mechanics studies, from rock permeability to fracturing and degassing can also be investigated with the above apparatus and with more classical devices.
The analytical facilities include a Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscope and an Electron Micro Probe Analyzer specifically tuned for natural rock analyses. Accessory to these are an helium pycnometer, particle size analyzer, sieves, and other basic instruments.
The analog investigations are carried out in a specific area where ad-hoc, temporary set-ups are developed. Analog materials are characterized using a rheometer, and the experiments are recorded and analyzed using a range of visual documentations, spanning from time-lapse cameras to high-definition and high-speed camcorders.

The analog laboratory focuses mostly on explosive volcanism and the related products and processes, including the formation and release of Taylor bubbles, pyroclast ejection during supersonic eruptions, and the sedimentation and aggregation of volcanic ash particles.
The HPHT Lab also hosts and develops new systems for the in-situ study of explosive volcanic eruptions by combining high-speed, high-definition imaging in the visible and thermal infrared wavelengths with acoustic recording. Investigated processes cover the ejection of volcanic ash and bombs, their setting and potential hazard, the sources of volcanic sound, and shifting styles of explosive volcanic activity.

The sharing of facilities and working space in between researchers with such a broad variety of backgrounds is a key component of the HPHT Lab, eventually leading to interdisciplinary exchange, facilitating the development of new projects, and ultimately promoting a stimulating research environment.


Annual Report 2023 |  Annual Report 2022 | Annual Report 2021Annual Report 2020 Annual Report 2019 |  Annual Report 2018 Annual Report 2017Annual Report 2016 |




Piergiorgio Scarlato | Researcher Director, Responsible of the HP-HT Laboratory 
Stefano Aretusini | Contract Researcher 
Emanuela Bagnato | Researcher 
Riccardo Civico | Researcher 
Chiara Cornelio | Contract Researcher 
Gianfilippo De Astis | Senior Researcher 
Elisabetta Del Bello | Researcher 
Fabrizio Di Fiore | Contract Researcher 
Giuseppe La Spina | Researcher 
Valeria Misiti | Technologist 
Manuela Nazzari | Researcher 
Francesco Pennacchia | Contract Technician 
Alessio Pontesilli | Contract Researcher 
Giacomo Pozzi | Contract Researcher 
Tullio Ricci | Researcher 
Elena Spagnuolo | Researcher 
Laura Spina | Researcher 
Jacopo Taddeucci | Senior Researcher 
Giancarlo Tamburello | Researcher
Piergiorgio Moschini | postdoc