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Environmental Geophysics Laboratory

The "Laboratorio di Geofisica Ambientale" (LGA) consists mainly of technological experts with the purpose of developing research related to environmental and geophysical issues. The subjects in which the LGA is involved include two research fields:

  1. Physics of Middle and Upper Atmosphere by means of the study of the ionosphere, radio propagation in the ionospheric plasma and millimetric spectroscopy for the study and measurements profiles of the neutral constituents;
  2. Terrestrial and Environmental physics through thematic as glaciology, environmental and archaeological geophysical investigations and environmental electromagnetism.

Regarding the measurement of the main ionospheric parameters by ionospheric sounding, instruments have been developed to perform vertical soundings. These instruments are installed in ionospheric observatories in Italy and abroad.

The observation of the chemical constituents of the middle and upper atmosphere is performed by millimetric-wave spectroscopy. Apparatus has been developed for the development of ground based millimetric spectrometers of both fixed and variable frequency. This research aims at the determination of neutral constituent profiles in the stratosphere and mesosphere.

In the area of environmental geophysical observations, fine tuning is being conducted on the surveying techniques using geoelectric, geomagnetic, and electrical induction to support the safety authorities involved in territorial surveillance. Devices have been created that implement non-destructive analysis of materials through the assessment of certain electrical characteristics.

In glaciological research, large scale surveys are performed to determine bedrock topography and explore sub-glacial lakes, outlet glaciers and glacier tongue morphology. These surveys play an important role in mass balance studies of antarctic glacier and observations regarding global warming. For this reason deep sounding radar and the related techniques of signal processing for glacier thickness measurements have been developed in the LGA radio frequency lab.

Studies and measurements of electromagnetic noise are performed in cooperation with other researchers from our department. The main purpose is to characterize electromagnetic background noise and natural and man-made emission sources. One of the LGA’s most significant achievements is the realization of special instruments and methods for making these measurements.

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