66224 - Analytic Techniques for Nano/Biosciences

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

Based on the theoretical knowledge acquired during classes, at the end of the course the student is able to choose the technical/methodological platforms that are most suited to face analytical problems in the emerging sector of nano/biosciences. In particular, the student develops knowledge of (1) analytical separation methods for samples of nano/biotechnological interest, (2) basic properties of heterogeneous, nanometer-sized samples, and (3) techniques for the size/shape/spectroscopic analysis and characterization of  these samples, with special regards to the structured, polyfunctional nanomaterials.

Course contents

Required background: the student should have good knowledge of the fundamentals of analytical chemistry, from theoretical to instrumental basics of  most-employed analytical techniques.  

Nanomaterials: fundamentals and analytical techniques for size analysis

-        Dispersed samples: classification. The colloidal state: history and properties. Colloids: free surface energy.

-        Colloids: particle-particle interactions. Electrostatic, attractive interactions, electrostatic surface potential surface, electric double-layer.

-        Kinetic properties of colloids: Brownian movement and diffusion. Zeta potential, electrophoresis, electrosmotic flow.

-        Optical properties of colloids: light scattering. Different light scattering models: Rayleigh, RGD,  Mie, quasi-elastic (QELS), low-angle neutron-light scattering (LANS).

-        Colloid formation. Self-assembling colloids. Micelles: critical micellar concentration, surfactants, micellization mechanisms.

-        Particle Size Distribution (PSD) Analysis. Definition of "size" of dispersed samples. Stokes diameter, equivalent diameter.

-        PSD functions. Methods for PSD analysis.

-        Direct methods for PSD analysis: electron microscopy, image analysis.

-        Transmission Electron Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy: fundamentals.

-        Optical methods for PSD analysis: turbidimetry, multi-angle laser scattering (MALS), quasi-elastic (dynamic) laser scattering.

Separation techniques for the analysis of nano/biomaterials

-        Classification of separation techniques.

-        Electrophoresis: principles, flat-bed electrophoresis, DNA electrophoresis, Southern blotting. Protein electrophoresis, SDS PAGE, Isofocusing, Western blotting, Capillary electrophoresis: principles . Electrophoretic and electroosmotic migration, detectors.

-        Hydrodynamic chromatography (HDC), and field-flow fractionation (FFF)

-        FFF: elution modes, subtechniques. Flow field-flow fractionation (F4). F4: applications to the analysis of proteins, applications of F4-MALS and F4-MALS with fluorescence detection for the analysis of structured, polyfunctional nanomaterials. Hollow-fiber F4 (HF5): basics and applications of HF5 coupled with mass spectrometry for the analysis of proteins.


Coupled techniques

Basics on orthogonality, multidimensional methods, tandem couplings, and hyphenation.


Suggested textbooks :

  • J.C. Giddings, Unified Separation Science , J. Wiley&Sons
  • Holler, Skoog, Crouch. Principles of Instrumental Analysis, 6th Edition, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2007
  • K.A. Rubinson, J.F. Rubinson, Contemporary Instrumental Analysis, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2000
  • D.H. Everett, Basic Principles of Colloid Science, Royal Society of Chemistry, 1988
  • H.G. Barth Ed., Modern Methods of Particle Size Analysis, John Wiley&Sons, Inc., 1984
  • M.E. Schimpf, K.D. Caldwell, J.C. Giddings Eds., Field-Flow Fractionation Handbook, Wiley-Interscience, 2000

Teaching methods

It is fundamental the use of the material shared with students on the web. This material is projected during classes.

Assessment methods

The exam is carried on as a WRITTEN TEST with OPEN QUESTIONS based on the Program contents that were discussed in the classes. At the end, the Jury ranks the candidate and it decides the final evaluation. The Candidate may be asked to independently self-evaluate its exam and rank its performance. Finally the Jury communicates to the Candidate the evaluation and, if necessary, it discusses with the Candidate the manuscript and the possible differences between Jury's evaluation and self-evaluation, as well as the possible reasons of the discrepancies. 

Non-Italian mothertongue Candidates may ask to take the exam in English.

Teaching tools

Blackboard, PC with Windows PowerPoint slides, projector and whiteboard.

Office hours

See the website of Pierluigi Reschiglian