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Istituto Nazionale di Ottica Applicata [National Institute of Applied Optics]

It was established in 1927 as the Regio Istituto Nazionale di Ottica [Royal National Institute of Optics], with the scope of designing and testing optical devices and training specialised personnel on the national level.

During the post-war period after the second world war, the Institute extended its sphere of operation to the field of electronics, a discipline that, in some of its applications, was being used in place of the traditional optical sources. It was only near the end of the 20th century that optics resumed a leading role, thanks to the new laser and optoelectronic devices. Accordingly, the Institute was reconverted to engage in the field of experimental research (Quantum Optics, Optical Metrology and Electronic Optics in particular), with its applicational activity delegated to second place. Since 1999 the Ministry of the University and Scientific Research has oriented research toward advanced technologies, transforming the INO into the Istituto Nazionale di Ottica Applicata (INOA).

The Institute has a collection of optical instruments, most of them purchased in the early 20th century and some in the late 19th, including microscopes, monochromators, telescopes, cameras for experiments, lenses, objective lenses, standard lamps, military range finders, a resolution meter for photographic emulsions, and a binoculars test bench.

The instruments are displayed in showcases or kept in cabinets. Others are on loan to the Istituto Regionale di Studi Ottici e Optometrici [Regional Institute of Optical and Optometry Studies], at Vinci. However, new exhibition spaces with showcases are now being planned.


Texts by Carlo Triarico

English translation by Catherine Frost

Last update 11/feb/2008