cod. 1006018

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second semester
- Luciano MARCHIO'
Academic discipline
Chimica generale e inorganica (CHIM/03)
Discipline chimiche inorganiche e chimico-fisiche
Type of training activity
55 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The aim of the course is to provide the student with in-depth knowledge of the nature of the solid state and its symmetry properties, the general and practical principles of diffraction as a consequence of the periodicity of atoms in crystals, polymorphism, phase transitions and reactivity of solids.
Specifically, the student must:
- Know the main types of crystalline packings and the factors that govern them, the methods of structural characterization as well as understand the influence of crystalline symmetry on the properties of materials. Understand the fundamental principles of X-ray diffraction and its applications, as well as master the essential tools of data analysis. Know the aspects associated with the presence of polymorphism and its importance in the field of materials and molecular systems.
- Identify, within the topics covered by the course, the appropriate approach to obtaining a specific objective through the use of appropriate investigation techniques, thus demonstrating the ability to effectively apply the acquired knowledge.
-Be able to use the specific language and terminology of the discipline in order to coherently communicate what has been learned.



Course unit content

The course deals with the fundamental topics of solid state chemistry, paying particular attention to the structure and properties of matter in crystalline form.
The following will be discussed: 1) Origin of the three-dimensional periodicity of crystalline structures, 2) concept of symmetry and its description through space groups.
3) Interaction of X-rays with matter.
4) Crystallographic analysis on single crystal.
5) Crystallographic analysis of microcrystalline powders.
6) Experimental aspects: generation of X-rays and instrument geometries.
7) Polymorphism and differential thermal analysis (DSC).

Students are introduced to the theoretical and practical aspects of solid state investigation methods (X-rays and thermal analyses), also through exercises involving the analysis of real data.

Full programme

The crystalline state. Origin of three-dimensional periodicity. Crystallization process. Nucleation and growth: Amorphous materials and glasses.

Point symmetry elements and translational symmetry. Point groups, crystallographic systems and Bravais lattices, Space Groups. Direct lattice and reciprocal lattice.

X-rays. Scattering process: Thomson and Compton. Atomic scattering factor. Scattering and diffraction. Bragg's law and Laue's equations. Ewald construction. Structure factor. Electron density equation. Molecule and pro-molecule. The phase problem in crystallography and its possible solution.
Practical aspects of X-ray diffraction. Single crystal diffraction. Powder diffraction. Crystallographic databases.

Classification of crystalline structures. Compact packaging and eutactic model. Examples of crystalline structures of binary and ternary compounds.
Polymorphism and phase transitions in molecular systems. Thermodynamic classification.

Crystallographic analysis following X-ray diffraction from single crystal.
Crystallographic analysis following X-ray diffraction from powders.
Thermal analysis using differential scanning calorimeters.


The slides projected during the course in PDF format and all the material used during the lessons are made available to students and shared on the Elly platform. All the software used for exercises is freeware and freely available on the net for use in an academic setting. In addition to the shared material, the student can personally deepen some topics covered during the course by referring to the texts:
A.R. WEST Solid state chemistry and its application, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester
- C. Giacovazzo et al. Fundamentlas of Crystallography, Oxford Science Publications
- - Gregory S. Girolami, X-ray Crystallography University Science Books.
-Joel Bernstein, Polymorphism in molecular crystals, Oxford Science Publications

Teaching methods

The course corresponds to 6 credits, for a total of 56 hours of lessons, comprising 32 hours of lessons and 24 of exercises. The lessons will mainly consist in the projection of slides but use will be made of freeware programs and web contents of both an educational and scientific nature. All the material mentioned will be uploaded to the Elly platform, in accordance with the sequence of topics covered. The practical exercises will be carried out both in the classroom and in the laboratory, with the aim of directly involving the students in the learning process and demonstrating some practical applications of the topics addressed, in particular through the refinement and interpretation of powder diffraction data and single crystal.

Assessment methods and criteria

Verification of learning and acquired knowledge takes place by an oral exam, in which the student should demonstrate understanding and application ability of the fundamental concepts of the arguments treated in the lectures.

Other information