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I received my undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Calabria, Italy. Afterwards, I joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, where I am currently pursuing a PhD under the supervision of Dr Vignolini (complete CV can be found here). My research focuses on light propagation in biological and bioinspired disordered systems.

While periodic structures give rise to a colourful appearance, disordered systems scatter all the visible wavelengths with similar intensities - resulting in white colouration. The study of light propagation in disordered media is relevant both to fundamental and applied problems, ranging from imaging through turbid media to the fabrication of white paint. Scattering in a disordered system is determined by the spatial distribution and the scattering properties of its building blocks. To date, most efforts on scattering optimisation have focused on isotropic, high refractive index systems. Nature, however, provides a prime example of how to exploit anisotropy to achieve scattering optimisation: with the intra-scale chitin network of the beetle genus Cyphochilus (Figure 1).

In my PhD, I combine numerical simulations and experiments to investigate wave transport in anisotropic, disordered media. My research demonstrated that anisotropy allows for improvements in the whiteness of low refractive index media (Figure 1e). Based on this result, my work focuses on the design and characterisation of bioinspired white materials. In particular, the achievement of scattering properties in artificial low refractive index materials (n ~ 1.5) comparable to those found in nature would allow the production of biocompatible and sustainable white materials. 

Figure 1 |  Anisotropic scattering materials. a-d) Images of a white beetle at different magnifications: a) photograph of a specimen of Cyphochilus genus beetle; b) micrograph of the organisation of the scales; c-d) SEM images of a Cyphochilus’ scale from a cross-section and top view, respectively. Insets are the fast Fourier transforms of the SEM images, which show the orientational anisotropy of the chitin network. Scale bar: 1 cm for a, 300 µm for b, 1 µm for c, 2 µm for d.  e) Comparison of the simulated reflectance for systems with building blocks with n = 1.55, same volumes but different aspect ratios.


Topological invariance in whiteness optimisation.
JS Haataja, G Jacucci, TG Parton, L Schertel, S Vignolini
– Communications Physics
Tunable spin-glass optical simulator based on multiple light scattering
G Jacucci, L Delloye, D Pierangeli, M Rafayelyan, C Conti, S Gigan
– Physical Review A
Microcavity-like exciton-polaritons can be the primary photoexcitation in bare organic semiconductors
R Pandya, RYS Chen, Q Gu, J Sung, C Schnedermann, OS Ojambati, R Chikkaraddy, J Gorman, G Jacucci, OD Onelli, T Willhammar, DN Johnstone, SM Collins, PA Midgley, F Auras, T Baikie, R Jayaprakash, F Mathevet, R Soucek, M Du, AM Alvertis, A Ashoka, S Vignolini, DG Lidzey, JJ Baumberg, RH Friend, T Barisien, L Legrand, AW Chin, J Yuen-Zhou, SK Saikin, P Kukura, AJ Musser, A Rao
– Nature communications
Topological invariance in whiteness optimisation
JS Haataja, G Jacucci, L Schertel, S Vignolini
Microcavity-Like Exciton-Polaritons can be the Primary Photoexcitation in Bare Organic Semiconductors
A Rao, R Pandya, R Chen, Q Gu, J Sung, C Schnedermann, O Ojambati, R Chikkaraddy, J Gorman, G Jacucci, O Onelli, T Willhammar, D Johnstone, S Collins, P Midgley, F Auras, T Baikie, R Jayaprakash, F Mathevet, R Soucek, M Du, A Alvertis, A Ashoka, S Vignolini, D Lidzey, J Baumberg, R Friend, T Barisien, L Legrand, A Chin, J Yuen-Zhou, S Saikin, P Kukura, A Musser
Anisotropic silica colloids for light scattering
G Jacucci, BW Longbottom, CC Parkins, SAF Bon, S Vignolini
– Journal of Materials Chemistry C
The limitations of extending nature's color palette in correlated, disordered systems.
S Vignolini, G Jacucci, L Schertel
– Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Viburnum tinus Fruits Use Lipids to Produce Metallic Blue Structural Color.
R Middleton, M Sinnott-Armstrong, Y Ogawa, G Jacucci, E Moyroud, PJ Rudall, C Prychid, M Conejero, BJ Glover, MJ Donoghue, S Vignolini
– Current biology : CB
Light Management with Natural Materials: From Whiteness to Transparency.
G Jacucci, L Schertel, Y Zhang, H Yang, S Vignolini
– Advanced Materials
Bioinspired scattering materials: light transport in anisotropic, disordered systems
G Jacucci
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Graduate student

Telephone number

01223 334372 (shared)

Research Interests