Gianfranco Vidali

Professor of Physics

Research Interests

Astrophysics (physics & chemistry of the interstellar medium and of planetary atmospheres), surface physics, low temperature physics and chemical physics

Current Experimental Research

  • Studies of physical and chemical processes occurring in the interstellar medium and in planetary atmospheres
  • Characterization of structural and dynamical properties of surfaces

Current Theoretical Research

  • Theory of the atom-surface interaction; statistical mechanics of two-dimensional matter, modeling of reactions occurring at surfaces


1982 Ph.D. in Physics
Pennsylvania State University 
1977 Doctorate in Physics
University of Genoa, Italy

Awards & Professional Honors

  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow
  • Fellow American Physical Society

Selected Publications

  • J.He, J.Shi, T.Hopkins, G.Vidali, and M.Kaufman, "A new determination of the binding energy of atomic oxygen on dust grain surfaces: experimental results and simulations" Astrophys.J. 801, 120 (2015)
  • J,He, G,Vidali, J.L.Lemaire and R.Garrod "Formation of hydroxylamine on dust grains via ammonia oxidation" Astrophys.J. 799, 49 (2015).
  • J.He and G.Vidali "Experiments of water formation on warm silicates", Astrophys. J. , 788, 50 (2014).
  • J.He, D.Jing, and G.Vidali "Atomic oxygen diffusion on and desorption from
    amorphous silicate surfaces", Phys.Chem.Chem.Phys. 16, 3493 (2014).
  • J.He and G.Vidali: "Application of a diffusion-desorption rate equation model in
    astrochemistry", Faraday Discussions 168, 517 (2014).
  • L.Gavilan, J.L.Lemaire, G.Vidali, T.Sabri and C.Jager "The formation of molecular hydrogen on silicate dust analogs: the rotational distribution", Astrophys. J. 781,
    79 (2014).
  • T.Sabri, L .Gavilan, C.Jager, J.L.Lemaire, G.Vidali, H. Mutschke, and T.Henning:
    "Interstellar Silicate Analogs for Grain-Surface Reaction Experiments: Gas-Phase Condensation and Characterization of the Silicate Dust Grains", Astrophys. J.780, 180 (2014).
  • D.Jing, J.He, M.Bonini, J.R.Brucato, and G.Vidali: "Sputtering eects and water formation on an amorphous silicate surface", J.Phys.Chem. A, 117, 3009 (2013).
  • D.Jing, J.He, J.Brucato, G.Vidali, A.De Sio, and L.Tozzetti : "Formation of molecular oxygen and ozone on amorphous silicates" Astrophys.J., 756, 98 (2012)
  • G.Vidali, D.Jing, and J.He: "Hydrogen and water in the interstellar medium", invited, First International Conference on Chemical Evolution and Star Formation: Astrochem 2012, AIP Conference Proceedings, 1543, 31 (2013)
  • L.Galivan, G.Vidali and J.L.Lemaire: "Are molecule-covered dust grains efficient catalysts of H2 formation in the cold ISM?", Month. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 424, 2961 (2012).
  • L.Galivan, J.-L. Lemaire, and G.Vidali: "Formation of Deuterium Molecules in the Cold Interstellar Medium: An Experimental View" Proc. First Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Materials and Renewable Energies (21-25 November 2011), ScienceJet (2012).
  • D.Jing, J.He, J.Brucato, A.De Sio, L.Tozzetti, and G.Vidali: "On water formation in the interstellar medium: laboratory study of the O+D reaction on surfaces", Astrophys. J. Lett. 741, L9 (2011).
  • J.He, P.Frank, and G.Vidali: "Interaction of hydrogen with surfaces of silicates: single crystal vs. amorphous", Phys.Chem.Chem.Phys. 13, 15803 (2011).
  • J.L Lemaire, G.Vidali, S. Baouche, M.Chehrouri, H.Chaabouni, and H.Mokrane: "Competing mechanisms of molecular hydrogen formation in conditions relevant to the interstellar medium", Astrophys. J. Lett. , 725, 126 (2010)

Selected Review Articles

  • G.Vidali: "H2 Formation on Interstellar Grains", Chem. Rev. 113, 8762 (2013)
  •   G.Vidali: "Cosmic Low Temperature Physics: making molecules on stardust", review, J. Low Temp. Phys., 170, 1 (2013)

  •   G.Vidali: "Molecule Formation on Interstellar Grain", invited review in: Proceedings of the 2010 NASA Laboratory Astrophysics Workshop Gatlingburg, TN (2011)

  •   G.Vidali, J.E.Roser, G.Manico', and V. Pirronello: Molecular Hydrogen Formation on Dust Grains: A Summary of Experimental Results on Molecular Hydrogen Formation on Dust Grain Analogues Proceedings IAU Symposium No. 231, D.C. Lis, G.A. Blake & E. Herbst, eds., (2005) p.355

  • G.Vidali, G.Ihm, Y-J.Kim, and M.W.Cole: "Potentials of Physical Adsorption", review article in: Surf.Sci.Rep. 12, 133 (1991)