cod. 1005119

Academic year 2018/19
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Chimica analitica (CHIM/01)
Discipline chimiche analitiche e ambientali
Type of training activity
55 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding:
Knowledge of advanced instrumental analytical methods, with applications to biological and environmental problems.

- Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
Understanding and forecasting the structure-properties relationships of complex systems; ability to address a professional problem, critical evaluation and proposal of specific solutions; The student is able to critically evaluate the quality parameters of analytical techniques according to the typology of the experimental problem; ability to evaluate the potentials and limits of the most advanced analytical techniques, tackling and solving complex problems related to them; ability to find and explore sources of information, databases, literature.
Definition, working principle and applications of the main chemical sensors and screening techniques. Classification of sensors according to the transduction mechanism and type of receptor. Applications in the environmental, food and pharmaceutical fields. Knowledge of the principles of thermodynamics and kinetics of the electrode processes involved in the amperometric sensors. Biosensors and bioreceptors: knowledge of the mechanisms of interactions of antibodies and enzymes, applications in the development of enzymatic sensors and immunosensors for clinical diagnosis and toxicologic analyses. Illustration of the working principles and applications of screening techniques based on "ELISA" (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) assays. Knowledge of the functional and applicative principles of the "Lateral Flow ELISA" disposable strip applied for analysis of physiological fluids for point of care testing

-Autonomy of assessment:
The graduate is able to critically evaluate his own abilities and his results and to interpret observations from the experimental measurements. He It is able to plan and organize the experimental activity, also in team work contexts. He has autonomous assessment ability in evaluating the experimental results and is able to critically evaluate the quality parameters of analytical techniques, according to experimental item, also depending on the complexity of the matrix. It is also able work on different working environments and themes;

- Communication skills:
The graduate is able to communicate in written and verbal form on chemical / scientific problems, even with the use of multimedia systems and also in English.
He It is able to interact with other people and work in groups also on multidisciplinary projects, although he is also able to work autonomously. He carries out training and experimental training activities for graduate students.

-Learning abilities:
The graduate is able to retrieve information from literature, databases and Internet and possesses personal skills in logical reasoning and in the critical approach to new problems; is able to learn independently, addressing new scientific issues or professional problems; is able carry out studies aimed to solve interdisciplinary and complex problems, finding the information useful to formulate answers and knowing how to defend their proposals in specialized and non-specialist contexts.


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Course unit content

The contents of the course are an overview of the main chemical sensors and their mechanisms of signal transduction. Are also addressed and depth aspects concerning the materials used as substrates for the development of sensors, the theoretical principles on which their working principle is based, and the methods used for their characterization.
The course is articulated into the following points:
-Definitions, characterization, quality parameters of the sensors.
-Transduction mechanisms.
-Potentiometric Sensors: Basic thermodynamics of electrochemical interphase potentials; ion-selective electrodes based on solid and liquid membranes; ionic receptors and ionophores, calibration procedures and assessment of quality parameters. Practical examples: automatic analyzers of electrolytes and gases dissolved in the blood samples; glass electrode for pH measurement, "Lambda" probe for the combustion control in the engines and for the management of the operation of catalytic converters.
-ISFET and MOSFET Sensors: Retrieve on the properties of semiconductors; “n-p" junctions; diodes and photodiodes; principle of operation of the field effect transistors (FET); combination of FET with ion-selective membranes (ISFET) and with films of metal mixed oxides ( MOSFET).

-Amperometric Sensors: Elements of electrodic thermodynamics and kinetics, mechanisms for mass transport and electronic transfer; reversibility of a response; Butler-Volmer equation and its graphical representation; instrumentation; electrodes modified with composites and nanocomposites active materials; conducting polymers and processes of modification of the electrode surface; miniaturization of electrodes and instrumentation, "screen printed" electrodes; applications in environmental, food and clinical samples
-Biosensors: Properties of bioreceptors as antibodies, enzymes and conjugates haptens; operating principle of competitive and non-competitive immunosensors; immobilization of bioreceptors of nanomaterials for the production of nanobiocomposite substrates; redox mediators, applications in clinical, environmental and food samples.
-Screening Techniques: General Principles; difference between methods of analysis and screening; immunochemical and immunoenzymatic assays, working principle of the "ELISA" kits (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) "Lateral flow" ELISA test on disposable strips; applications in clinical field; examples; clinical analyses, determination of antibodies and biomarkers related to disease in blood samples, pregnancy and ovulation tests etc.

Full programme

See the "Contents" section


Peter Grunder – “Chemical Sensors: an introduction for scientists and engineers” Ed. Springer
The training aid will be supplemented by lecture notes provided by the professor.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures and sessions of calculation and simulation. Visits to the research laboratories of the professor are also planned in order to illustrate the devices concerning the course and how they work.

Assessment methods and criteria

The candidates to the examination will choose and present the content of a scientific publication (among international journals) related to the topics treated in the course. The presentation will be followed by an examination aimed to assess the overall skill and knowledge of the students.
The evaluation will take into account both the ability to highlight the peculiar aspects of the proposed scientific paper (up to 8 points) and the assessment of the ability to contextualize the findings in the topics addressed in the course, critically discussing the limits and the application potentialities (up to 10 points)

Other information

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