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Ricercatore a tempo det. art. 24 c. 3 lett. B L. 240/2010





Gianluca Ruffato is a Research Assistant (RTDa) at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Padova. He got his BSc degree (2006) and MSc degree (2008) in Physics from Padova University. He got his PhD in Physics in 2012, with a thesis on the design, optimization, and optical characterization of plasmonic nanostructures for sensing devices. From 2012 to 2014 he worked as a researcher at the Laboratory for Nanofabrication of Nanodevices (LaNN), with a research project dealing with the design of plasmonic devices for sensing. Since 2008 he has been involved in several academic and industrial research projects on plasmonic biosensors and on the properties of structured light, participating to national and international conferences.

His major research interests include the design, simulation, and test of innovative optics to tame and customize the properties of structured light beams, focusing on applications to high-resolution microscopy, computer-generated holograms, and classical/quantum communication. He has made important contributions to the development of novel diffractive optics and metasurfaces for mode-division multiplexing (MDM) and control of orbital angular momentum (OAM) beams, in particular:
- Development of new spiral phase plates for the generation of high-order OAM beams [Opt. Lett. 37 (17), 5094 (2014)].
- Design and realization of OAM-encoded security holograms [Sci. Rep. 7, 18011 (2017)].
- Development of the so-far most compact and high-resolution OAM (de)multiplexer [Sci. Rep. 8(1), 10248 (2018) – Proc. of SPIE 10744, Laser Beam Shaping XVIII, 10744L (2018)].
- Theory of OAM-mode (de)multiplexing in the non-paraxial regime [Opt. Express 27 (17), 24123 (2019)]
- Design and realization of the first silicon metasurface (de)multiplexing [Opt. Express 27, 15750 (2019)]
- Novel optical elements for OAM multiplication and division [Light: Science & Applications (Nature Publishing Group) 8, 113 (2019)]
- Theory of harmonic phase elements for conformal transformations in optics [Opt. Express 28, 34201 (2020), Opt. Comm. 490, 126893 (2021)] and electron microscopy.
- Development of a new spatial division multiplexing scheme based on multipole phases [Opt. Express 29(23), 38095-38108 (2021)]

Since 2018 he holds lessons in experimental optics to the year of the degrees in Physics and Optics and Optometry. Since 2020 he is a member of the PhD School in Physics, where he holds a course on structured light theory and applications. In 2018 he received the “habilitation” as an associate professor for 02/B1.

He is a regular reviewer for journals in optics and nanotechnology of Nature, OSA, Elsevier, MDPI, IEEE, AIP. He was awarded the prize of “Outstanding Reviewer" of the journal “Light: Science and Applications” (Nature, IF 17.8) in 2019 and in 2021. He is topic editor of ‘Applied Sciences’ (MDPI) and Frontiers in Physics (Frontiers).

Contributed talks to more than 20 conferences since 2010. Invited to CAOL*2016, IEEE in Odessa (Ukraine), SPIE Optics+Photonics2018 in San Diego (USA), ICOAM 2022 (Tampere, Finland). The talk to the 106° SIF Congress 2020 was selected among the best communications and awarded the publication in Il Nuovo Cimento.


Office hours

  • at Ufficio 412 - Edificio Paolotti - via Belzoni, 7
    Prendere appuntamento via e-mail ( o telefono (0498275933)


His scientific production encompasses more than 70 papers and conference proceedings, 1 book chapter, and 6 deposited patents. Total number of citations: 1184 (Google Scholar), 904 (Scopus). H-index: 22 (Google Scholar), 18 (Scopus).

List of publications:

Google Scholar:

[1] Sensitivity Enhancement In Grating Coupled Surface Plasmon Resonance By Azimuthal Control [EP20100715341, PCT WO2010IB00510 20100308, US 9,110,021]
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[2] Diffractive optical element of the holographic type for decoding information with a high security level [EP20150720414, PCT WO2015132752, IT2014TO00178 20140305]
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[3] Mode division multiplexing optical communication system [PCT WO2018037362, IT20160087226 20160825]
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[4] Optical device for demultiplexing and multiplexing a plurality of channels with different wavelength and different orbital angular momentum and optical communication system thereof [PCT WO2017021888 (A1), IT2015UB02792 20150804]
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[5] Optical device for demultiplexing and multiplexing modes with different orbital angular momentum [PCT WO2019207438 (A1), IT 102018000004878]
[6] Device for multipole phase division demultiplexing/multiplexing and spatial division telecommunications system thereof [IT 102020000019327]

Research Area

Structured light for applications in many fields, in particular: high-resolution microscopy, computer-generated holograms, spatial division multiplexing, high-dimensional quantum communication. In the specific:

- Design and test of diffractive optical elements for light shaping and optical processing

- Design and characterization of silicon metasurfaces for the generation and detection of structured light beams

- Conformal transformations of wave functions for beam shaping in optics and electron microscopy

- Caustics of light

- Entoptic phenomena in human vision

Thesis proposals

First-cycle degree in Physics (Laurea triennale in Fisica):
- Metasurface optics (r)evolution: merging lens-making and semiconductor manufacturing (theoretical)
- Direct measurement of multipole fields via conformal transformations (theoretical)
- Dynamic generation and measurement of structured light beams with spatial light modulators (experimental)
- The unexpected role of Laplace’s equation in conformal transformations: from photons to matter waves (theoretical)

First-cycle degree in Optics and Optometry (Laurea triennale in Ottica e Optometria):
- Polarization of light and vision

Second-cycle degree in Physics (Laurea magistrale in Fisica):
- Algebra of light: division and multiplication of optical angular momentum (theoretical/experimental)
- Design and test of a novel free-space optical communication system with structured light beams (theoretical/experimental)
- Design, fabrication, and test of silicon metasurface for OAM-beams (de)multiplexing in the classical and single-photon infrared regimes (experimental)

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