Born in 1940 in Roma.

– 1966. “Laurea” in Physics at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.

– 1966-68. Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Grantee with Prof. A. Seeger at the Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung, Institut für Physik, Stuttgart.

– 1968-83. Researcher of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) Rome.

– 1973-74. Visiting Scientist and Lecturer of the Royal Society, funded by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, at the University of Surrey, Guildford (UK).

– 1977-83. Contract Professor of Physics at the Physics Department of the University of di Rome “La Sapienza”.

– 1983-85. Associate Professor of Physics of Metals at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.

– 1985-90. Associate Professor of Physics of Metals at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”.

– Since 1990. Full Professor of General Physics at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.

Teaching. General Physics, Metal Physics, Ultracustics at Science and at Engineering Faculties. Member of the “Collegio dei Docenti” of the Ph.D. Courses of Electromagnetism and of Materials Science.


– 2004-2014. Official Expert of IEA for the Hydrogen Storage.

– 2004-2014. Representative of the Italian Government at the IEA.

– 2004-2011. Representative of the Rector of Sapienza University of Rome at the Italian University Network on Physics of Matter “CNISM” (Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze Fisiche della Materia).

– 2004-2011. Director of the CNISM Research Unit of Rome “La Sapienza”.

– 2004. Guest Editor of Materials Science and Engineering for the Proceedings of the 14th Int. Conf. on Internal Friction and Mechanical Spectroscopy in Solids, Kyoto.

– 2004. Co-Chairman of the National Conference on High Temperature Superconductivity (SATT 12), Rome “La Sapienza”.

– 2000-2004. National Director of Section D, “Magnetism, Metals, and Superconductivity” of INFM (Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia) and Member of its Scientific Council.

– 1996-2001. Member of the Scientific Committee of Istituto di Acustica “O.M. Corbino” of CNR.

– 1995-2001. Italian Representative of CNR in the “Association Internazionale Contre le Bruit”.

– 1995-2000. Coordinator of the Italian Network on “Superconductivity” of INFM.

– 1994. Peer Reviewer of the International Science Foundation (USA) for the Projects supporting the ex-Soviet Union.

– 1993-95. Member of the Consulting Committee of Section D “Magnetism, Metals, and Superconductivity” of Consortium INFM.

– 1993. Guest Editor of Journal of Alloys and Compounds for the Proceedings of the 10th Int. Conf. on Internal Friction and Ultrasonic Attenuation in Solids, Rome (Chairman).

– 1991. Chairman of the International Workshop on “High Tc Materials”, Cracow (PL).

– 1989. Co-Chairman of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on “Relaxation in Complex Systems and Related Topics, I.S.I. Turin (I).

– 1989. Co-Chairman of the National Conference on High Temperature Superconductivity (SATT 2), Rome Tor Vergata.

– 1977-81. Member of the Scientific Committee of Istituto di Acustica “O.M. Corbino” of CNR, Rome.

– Scientific Committee Member of many National Conferences.

International Cooperations

Visiting Professor: MPI Stuttgart (1981), University of Vienna (1985), Tsukuba University (2002), Chuo University Tokyo (2002), Bauru University Brazil (2002), Hawaii University (2006).

Italian Coordinator of Bilateral Projects with: Chinese Science Academy, Universities of Darmstadt, Vienna, Tokyo, Tsukuba, Northeastern University, Boston.

Multilateral Projects: University of Hawaii (Usa), Prof. C. Jensen (alanates, amides); Pacific Northeast National Laboratory, PNNL (USA), Prof. T. Autrey (ammonia borane); University of Nevada (Usa), Prof. D. Chandra (lithium nitrides, imides); CNRS LCMTR UPR209 Paris, Dr. M. Latroche; University of Geneva (CH), Prof. K. Yvon (borohydrides); Forshungszentrum Karlsruhe (D), Dr. M. Fichtner (alanes); Risǿ National Laboratory (DK), Prof. T. Vegge (alanates); Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba (Japan), Prof. E. Akiba (LaNi5); Dalian University (China), Prof. Ping Chen; Aarhus University, Prof. T. Jensen; Savannah River National Laboratory, Prof. R. Zidan; Bauru University (Brazil), Prof. R. Grandini; Project sponsored by the International Partnership for Hydrogen Economy – IPHE (Coordinator) with part of above cooperations.

Awards and Recognitions

– “Clarence Zener Prize 2005”, awarded in Kyoto in September 2005. This prize is awarded every 3 years, by an International Scientific Committee of 36 members from 15 Countries, to a scientist who gave an outstanding contribution to the progress of science using the anelastic spectroscopy, of which Zener was the founder.

– “Official Expert” (2004-2014) of IEA, (International Energy Agency) for hydrogen storage.

– Chairman of the Tenth International Conference on “Internal Friction and Ultrasonic Attenuation in Solids”, Rome (1993).

– Member of the International Scientific of the biennial Conferences on “Metal-Hydrogen Systems: Fundamentals and Applications”: Stuttgart 1988, Banff 1990, Uppsala 1992, Fuji Yoshida 1994, Les Diablerets 1996, Hangzhou 1998, Noosa 2000, Annecy 2002, Cracow 2004, Hawaii 2006, Reykjavik 2008, Moscow 2010, Kyoto 2012, Manchester 2014.

– Member of the International Scientific of the triennial Conferences on “Internal Friction and Ultrasonic Attenuation in Solids”, Beijing 1989, Roma (Chairman) 1993, Poitiers 1996, Buenos Aires 1999, Bilbao 2002, Kyoto 2005, Perugia 2008, Lausanne 2011, China 2014.

– Nominator (since 1996) of the Japan Prize of the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan.

Selection of Invited Talks, Seminars, Conferences, Chairmanships

– 1982. “Anelastic Relaxation in Solids”, International School of Physical Acoustics, International Centre for the Scientific Culture “Ettore Majorana”, Erice.

– 1984. “Quantum Tunnelling of Hydrogen in Niobium”, International Workshop on Glasses and Crystalline Defect Systems, Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, Bad-Honnef.

– 1986. “The Regimes of Hydrogen Motion over the whole Temperature Scale”, 6th General Conference of the Condensed Matter Division of the European Physical Society”, Stockholm.

– 1995. “Localized Motion and Tunneling of Hydrogen near Defects and Impurities in Metals by Anelastic Relaxation”, Gordon Research Conference on Hydrogen-Metal Systems, Henniker (Usa).

– 1996. “Relaxation Effects due to Hydrogen in Metals and Semiconductors” (Plenary Opening Lecture), “11th International Conference on Internal Friction and Ultrasonic Attenuation in Solids”, Poitiers.

– 1997. Discussion Leader: “Gordon Research Conference on Hydrogen-Metal Systems”, Henniker.

– 1998. “Quantum Diffusion of H(D) in Semiconductors and Metals, and the Role of the Interaction with Impurities”, MRS Spring Meeting, San Francisco.

– 1999. “Local Dynamics of H(D) around Dopants and Impurities in Semiconductors, Twelfth International Conference on Internal Friction and Ultrasonic Attenuation in Solids”, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

– 2001. Discussion Leader: “Gordon Research Conference on Hydrogen-Metal Systems”, Session “Quantum motion of Hydrogen”, Connecticut (Usa).

– 2002. “Dynamics of the Lattice and Charge stripes in High-TC Superconductors by Anelastic Spectroscopy”, University of Tsukuba.

– 2004. “Fast Dynamics and Gas Adsorption in Carbon Nanotubes”, XXI Int. Conf. on Relaxation Phenomena in Solids, Voronezh, Russia.

– 2005. “The Roots and the Future of Mechanical Spectroscopy” (Plenary Zener Award Lecture), “14th International Conference on Internal Friction and Ultrasonic Attenuation in Solids”, Kyoto.

– 2006. “Mechanisms of Hydrogen Release in Alanates”, TMS Meeting, San Antonio (Usa).

– 2006. “Dynamics of Defects in Alanates”, International Symposium on Metal-Hydrogen Systems – Fundamentals and Applications, Hawaii.

– 2007. “Dynamics of Defects and Phase Transformations in Complex Metal Hydrides”, Gordon Research Conference on Metal Hydrogen Systems.

– 2008. “Laboratory for Solid-Hydrogen Systems and Materials for the Alternative Energies of Sapienza University”, ITP-Int. Training Program, Japan.

– 2009. “The Charm of Ammonia Borane: Structural Phase Transition and Hydrogen Dynamics in the Bulk and in the Nanoconfined Material”, ACS Washington.

– 2010. “Contributions from Anelastic Spectroscopy to the Study of Complex Hydrides”, Materials Challenges in Alternative & Renewable Energy, Cocoa, Florida.

– 2011. “Anelastic Spectroscopy in Complex Hydrides for Hydrogen Storage, Key Lecture at ICIFMS-16, Lausanne.

– 2012. “New Frontiers of Nanotechnologies: Artificial Manipulation and Assembling on a Nanoscale”, M-H Conference, Kyoto.

– 2013. “The Atomistic Mechanisms Underlying the Hydrogen Motion and the Decomposition Reactions in Hydrides by Anelastic Spectroscopy”, NIS Colloquium, Turin.

Projects on Hydrogen

– 1984-86. “Hydrogen storage in solids in form of metallic hydrides”. Responsible of the Operative Unit of Rome “La Sapienza” of the “Progetto Finalizzato Energetica II” of CNR.

– 1997-2000. “Metal Hydrides for Energy Storage”. Responsible of the Operative Unit of Rome “La Sapienza” of a “Progetto Sud”, University of Calabria.

– 2003-2004. “Optimization of electronic materials for the lithium cells”. Coordinator. Funded by the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Progetto di Ateneo).

– 2004. Progetto di Ateneo. “Ottimizzazione di materiali elettrodici per celle al litio”. Coordinator.

– 2004-2006. “Synthesis and characterization of materials for solid state hydrogen storage”. Coordinator. PRIN/Cofin Project funded by the Research Ministry.

– 2005. “Hydrogen storage in solids: new absorbers”. Coordinator. Funded by the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Progetto di Ateneo).

– 2005. Progetto FIRB 2005: “Sviluppo di membrane protoniche composite e di configurazioni elettroniche innovative per celle a combustibile con elettrolita polimerico”. Responsible of Operative Unit.

– 2005-2006. Progetto di Ateneo. “Immagazzinamento dell’idrogeno nei solidi: nuovi assorbitori”. Responsible.

– 2006-2008. Progetto POR (Piano Operativo Regionale) Sicilia. “Nanomateriali per il Settore Energetico-Ecologico”. “Nanomaterials for the energetic/ecological sector”. Scientific Director. Funded by Region Sicily.

– 2007-2008. Progetto di Ateneo. “Studio delle proprietà fisiche e chimiche di nuovi assorbitori per l’immagazzinamento allo stato solido di idrogeno e valutazione della loro applicazione tecnologica”. Responsible.

– 2009. Progetto di Ateneo “Sintesi e caratterizzazione di fotoanodi ceramici a base di nanotubi di TiO2 drogati con vari elementi per la produzione fotoelettrochimica dell’idrogeno, e di idruri metallici e boroidruri complessi per l’accumulo d’idrogeno”.

– 2010. Progetto di Ateneo. “Synthesis and physical chemical characterizations of proton conducting, nano-composite polymer electrolytes for fuel cell applications.”

– 2009. SEED Project, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologie – IIT. “Rechargeable, advanced, nano structured, lithium batteries with high storage capability”. Responsible of Operative Unit.

– 2009-2011. Funded by the Environment Ministry. “Idrogeno come vettore energetico ecologico alternativo: immagazzinamento a stato solido”. Responsible.

– 2009-2012. Multilateral Project approved and sponsored by the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy – IPHE: “Materials for solid-state hydrogen storage. Artificial assembling on nanoscale”. Coordinator.

– 2011-2014. Project FP7 2011-2014. “Advanced, High Performance, Polymer Lithium batteries for Electrochemical Storage”. Responsible of Operative Unit.

– 2012-2015. Progetto ENEL, Industria 2015, “HYDROSTORE”, funded by Ministry of the Economic Development. Responsible of Operative Unit.

Summary of the Scientific Activity

The research activity of Rosario Cantelli was oriented to fundamental studies on the physics of the condensed matter. He conducted frontier experiments using the measurements of: i) anelastic spectroscopy (elastic energy absorption and elastic modulus as a function of temperature and frequency); ii) acoustic emission; iii) calorimetry, like thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), differential thermal analysis (DTA); iv) neutron scattering, XRD, EXAFS.

He is the author of more than 250 papers published in international scientific Journals, and of nearly the same number of Conference contributions. His publications have been cited more than 2500 times.

The main systems studied are summarized in the following.

Metal-hydrogen systems.

Study of the interstitial dynamics of hydrogen and of its motion regimes as a function of temperature, from 900 K to 2 K; precipitation of metallic hydrides;

– 1968. He discovered the dynamic Gorsky Effect due to the long-range diffusion of interstitial hydrogen, as theoretically predicted by Gorsky in 1935;

– he determined the metal-hydrogen phase diagrammes at low H concentrations, where the other techniques are insensitive;

– 1979. He observed for the first time the Acoustic Emission generated by hydride precipitation in Nb, Ta, V. It was shown that the stress waves emitted during the progressive lattice destruction caused by precipitation display the same features of the self-organized-criticality (SOC) which governs, through the Guthenberg-Richter law, the earthquakes and market movements.

– 1981. The anelastic spectroscopy experiments in Nb, Ta, V, and their alloys were extended down to very-low temperatures (below boiling helium). The measurements revealed new relaxation processes markedly deviating from the classical law, which were interpreted as caused by the quantum tunnelling of hydrogen around interstitial or substitutional trapping centres: the two-level systems (previously adopted to explain the dynamical processes in glasses), and the four-level systems.

Solid-state storage of hydrogen as an alternative ecological energy carrier. New absorbers.

He devoted remarkable effort to the study of the H-accumulation in novel artificially nanoassembled absorbers. Those materials are of remarkable interest for the applications, and his main aim was always that of attaining a better understanding of the microscopic mechanisms which govern the hydrogen storage and release.

He studied the complex hydrides, which present promising storage features, like the alanates, borohydrides, amides, imides, alanes. In those materials, hydrogen is part of the formula unit of the compound and not an interstitially added entity, as it occurs in metals and alloys.

In the studies of alanates (NaAlH4), he proposed a H vacancy-assisted model of the atomistic mechanism occurring during the decomposition accompanying the H release, which was subsequently adopted by various authors in many theoretical studies.

High Temperature Superconductors.

He studied the superconducting oxides of type YBa2Cu3O6+x since their discovery in 1986 by the Nobel Prizes Bednorz and Müller, and observed many phenomena for the first time: phase transformations around 220, 120, and 500 K, thermally activated processes with activation energies between 0.16 and 0.19 eV in the conducting material, jumps of oxygen atoms in the Cu-O chains in the orthorhombic I (full chains) and orthorhombic II (alternately full and empty chains) phases.

In the semiconducting state (x~0) of Y-Ba-Cu-O, a new single-time relaxation effect was discovered at low temperature, characterized by a very low activation energy (0.11 eV), which was identified as the Snoek peak due to the O diffusion, i.e. to the O(1)-O(5) jumps of isolated O atoms in the Cu-Ox plane. For its importance, this effect was subsequently cited hundreds of times.

The complete anelastic spectrum of oxides of type La2-xSrxCuO4+d as a function of O- and Sr-doping was also measured between 1.3 and 900 K. In the insulating stoichiometric material (d~0) new and extremely intense peaks were first observed, due to pseudodiffusive lattice modes identified in the motion of apical O (in the octahedra) in a local potential with many minima. In this configuration, two different types of motion were identified: i) a collective dynamics, which demonstrated that the tilt of the CuO6 octahedra previously observed by other techniques is not static but controlled by a relatively slow dynamics (~ MHz); ii) a local motion with a much faster dynamics dominated by tunnelling.

Semiconductor-hydrogen systems.

Anelastic spectroscopy measurements in Si:B charged with H demonstrated that hydrogen jumps with a rather fast dynamics between the four bond centre sites created by B, which acts as a trapping centre for H. In fact, the thermally activated relaxation peak measured at about 130 K in the kHz range gave, for the H reorientation process, the relatively low activation energy of 0.22 eV. The relaxation rates t-1 obtained were plotted together with the low frequency rates from infrared absorption measurements. The obtained plot of t-1(T-1) spanned of more than 10 orders of magnitudes and revealed a deviation at low temperature from the classical motion described by the Arrhenius law. This observation constituted the first irrefutable evidence for the quantum motion of hydrogen in semiconductors.

In GaAs:Zn a thermally activated relaxation effect due to the Zn-H(D) complex was first found at the liquid helium temperatures, whose rate is tens of orders of magnitude faster than those measured for the reorientation of H or D in similar complexes (see Si:B-H). This result gave, again, evidence of the quantum behaviour of H at low temperatures in semiconductors, through the formation of tunnelling states, with H in off-centre occupation with respect to the axis of the Ga-Zn bond.

The semiconducting-semiinsulating transition taking place in InP after empirical thermal treatments, whose mechanism was never rigorously understood before, was explained, thanks to the anelastic spectra, in terms of H vacancies formation around In.