Roberta Sessoli - Biography#


Roberta Sessoli, mother of three boys, obtained the PhD in Chemistry in 1992 at the University of Florence working on low dimensional molecular magnetic materials with Prof. Dante Gatteschi and performing part of her studies at the Institut d'Electronique Fondamentale - Université Paris-Sud with Dr. Jean-Pierre Renard.

She developed her career at the University of Florence as an associate professor since 2000 and full professor since 2012. She is a research associate of CNR-ICCOM and a member of the Scientific Council of the Italian Society of Chemistry.

Her scientific career started by focusing on the chemical and physical aspects of chains and clusters of paramagnetic metal ions. She has been a pioneer in the field of magnetic bistability at the molecular level through the discovery that a few paramagnetic metal ions in a molecule can behave like a magnet giving rise to one of the most relevant features of magnets, the presence of hysteresis. These materials, later named Single Molecule Magnets (SMMs), are a cornucopia of quantum effects at the mesoscopic scale. For these achievements in 2002 she has been awarded, among colleagues, with the Agilent Technology Europhysics Prize. The magnetism of lanthanide ions is another field of research for which she has been recently awarded with the LeCoq de Boisbaudran prize of the European Rare Earth and Actinide Society.

In the last ten years she has been facing the new challenge of investigating the memory effect at the single molecule level by establishing a new research group working on surface science and magnetism. In 2010 she has been awarded with an ERC Advanced Grante to develop this research. The first observation of magnetic hysteresis in a monolayer of SMM grafted on gold has been observed thanks to the use of synchrotron radiation. She also employed synchrotron light to evidence the presence in molecular helices of a giant magneto-chiral dichroism.
Her scientific achievements have been awarded in 2015 with the prestigeous Distinguished Woman in Chemistry award from IUPAC (2015).

Current research interests mainly focus on the use of molecular spins for quantum technology and spintronics, a research field on which she is vice-chair of a COST Action.

Roberta Sessoli, beyond being devoted to the training of young researchers, has been very active in the European Commission, either as a panel member of the European Research Council, or as a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Council of the President of the European Commission during the presidency of J. M. Barroso.

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