01015 - Structural Chemistry

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Adriana Bigi

  • Credits 6

  • SSD CHIM/03

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Course Timetable from Sep 20, 2018 to Dec 21, 2018

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

To acquire the basic principles for determining the structure of chemical systems and crystals, and the knowledge of the methods of structural analysis based on X-rays and on similar wavelength radiations

Course contents

Requirements: A good knowledge of the trigonometric and exponential functions is required.


1.      Introduction. Material structure, potential application of X-ray diffraction, program outline.

2.      Elements of morphological and structural crystallography.  Crystal lattice and its meaning. Simmetry elements, point group symmetry, space group symmetry, crystal systems, asymmetric unit, introduction to the International Tables of Crystallography.

3.      Crystal geometry. Axes, planes, indexes.

4.      Reciprocal lattice. Reciprocal lattice vectors and their relation with real lattice.

5.      Instrumentation. X-ray generators, synchrotron radiation source, filters and monochromators, detectors.

6.      Diffraction and interference. Diffraction from a single aperture, diffraction from an array of apertures.

7.      X-ray diffraction. Laue equation, Bragg's law, Ewald sphere

8.      Structure factor and Fourier transform. Atomic scattering factor, structure factor, Intensity, the phase problem.

9.      Powder X-ray diffraction. Sample preparation, instrumentation, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis.

10.  Single crystal X-ray diffraction. Sample choice and preparation; instrumentation; determination of unit cell, Laue class, space group; resolution of crystal structures: electron density and Fourier transform, Patterson method.

11.  Introduction to X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF). Basic characteristics and potential applications.

12.  Transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Bright field, dark field, high resolution, electron diffraction.



Lecture notes.

Texbook: A, Immirzi, C. Tedesco "La diffrazione dei cristalli", libreriauniversitaria.it.

C. Giacovazzo, H.L. Monaco, G. Artioli, D. Viterbo, G. Ferraris, G. Gilli, G. Zanotti, M. Catti “Fundamentals of Crystallography” Oxford University Press, USA; 2 ed (2002)


Teaching methods

Lectures on the experimental and theoretic aspects of the topics included in the course. Moreover, the students will apply the acquired knowledge on the powder X-ray diffraction technique thanks two laboratory experiments.

Assessment methods

The final examination consists in an oral test. The oral exam is focused on the course contents and it aims to verify the student's comprehension of the theoretic and experimental aspects of the methodologies described during the course. The theme of the first question is selected by the student.

Teaching tools

Overhead projector, PC, video projector, powerpoint presentations, X-ray laboratory instruments and tools.

Office hours

See the website of Adriana Bigi