cod. 1012200

Academic year 2024/25
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Fisica della materia (FIS/03)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
62 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the student is expected to be able:
- to know an overview of the state of the art and potential developments in the field of molecular nanotechnologies. (1st Dublin Descriptor)
-Draw the necessary tools, choose the most appropriate experimental techniques and know how to apply them to the major issues in molecular nanotechnologies. (2nd Dublin Descriptor)

- to judge the most appropriate experimental techniques, also in terms of accuracy and sensitivity, relevant to molecular nanotechnologies. (3rd Dublin Descriptor)

- to produce a written report in Italian or English, providing an analytical and critical examination of the results of a simple set of experiences. Know how to treat orally the same topics. (4th Dublin descriptor)

- Learn how to conduct experiments autonomously. (5th Dublin Descriptor)



Course unit content

This course deeepens the physics and some aspects of laboratory techniques for the production and characterization of molecular nanostructures.

In detail:
• Course presentation. Introduction to molecular nanotechnology, with examples from self assembly and nanomedicine (vaccines), but also the cases of Schon and Bellavia
• Mechanical properties of soft matter (significant example: smart wormlike micelles)
• Phase transitions and surroundings (weakly interacting gas, virial, Maxwell construction, spinodal, demixing, dewetting, glass transition, liquid crystals)
• Brownian Diffusion, Fluctuation-Dissipation, Generalized Stokes Einstein Relations (GSER) Sedimentation of diluted and concentrated suspensions,
• Microrheology (MPT, DDM)
• Correlation spectroscopies: general theory, DLS and zeta potential
• Deepening of correlation spectroscopy: DWS, XPCS
• Ellipsometry, BAM, SPR, TIRE,
• Introduction to the physics of fluid interfaces, capillarity.
• Insoluble molecular layers (Langmuir).
• Fluid interfaces in the presence of soluble surfactants (Gibbs)
• Colloids: phenomenology, stability mechanisms, DLVO, applications, self-assembly and LbL growth
• Emulsions and foams: phenomenology, investigation techniques, applications, destabilization processes.
• AFM, STM, SNOM scanning microscopy
• Electron microscopies (SEM,TEM, EDX,CL .)

Full programme

See the corresponding ELLY website


The notes of the lectures and exercises, and all the supporting material (slides, manuals, scripts), as well as software used in the laboratory sessions, are made available to students by sharing them on Elly platform.
Richard A.L.  Jones  «Soft Condensed Matter» Oxford University Press, 2002 ​
Un testo di base, a livello undergraduate, ottimo punto di partenza PER TUTTI​
John C. Berg, «An Introduction to Interfaces and Colloids – the Bridge to nanoscience» (World Scientific, 2014)​
Un testo leggermente più avanzato, con molti agganci alle applicazioni​
Masao Doi «Soft Matter Physics» Oxford University Press, 2013​
Testo decisamente più astratto, adatto a chi vuole approfondire gli argomenti con un certo rigore​

Berne, B. J. & Pecora, R. “Dynamic Light Scattering.” (Dover, 2000)​
Testo classicissimo, indispensabile punto di partenza PER TUTTI​
B. Chu “Laser Light Scattering” (Academic Press, 1991)​
Altro testo classicissimo, pregevole la trattazione delle tecniche di mixing ottico​
Weitz, D. A. & Pine, D. J. “Dynamic Light Scattering: The Method and Some Applications” ed in particolare il capitol 16 Diffusing-wave spectroscopy Oxford University Press, 1993​
Trattazione approfondita del DLS, DWS, con un’analisi ciritica dei vari aspetti sperimentali e di analisi del dato​

G. Roberts “Langmuir Blodgett films” (Plenum Press, 1990)​

R.M.A. Azzam, M.M. Bashara “Ellipsometry and Polarized Light” (Elsevier, 1999)​

Teaching methods

The course articulates in an introductory part followed by laboratory in which the students will put into practice what they learned, also facing some of the difficulties inherent in carrying out an experiment.

In the final part of the course, the students will form groups each of which will focus on a particular project based on some of the techniques learned.

Assessment methods and criteria

Students write a report on their project. (weight 30%)

The examination will be oral (weight 70%). It will focus on the discussion of the fundamental principles of molecular nanotechnologies, and on the discussion of the final report, on the results achieved (for example, on their meaning, as well as on the accuracy of certain determinations).

Other information