The course is devoted to the diffraction techniques for the study of crystalline materials.

  • Aims and content

      At the end of the course students are expected to have acquired the knowledge on the theoretical principles of diffraction; to know the main experimental techniques and their possible use; to be able to understand and interpret the diffraction data, to solve simple crystallographic problems.


      - Elements of elementary crystallography: symmetry elements, crystal lattices, point groups, space groups. Planes and crystallographic directions. Description and use of the International Tables of Crystallography.

      - Diffraction theory : Nature and production of the RX. Safety and practical considerations. X-ray diffraction and neutron/electron diffraction (notes). Scattering factor and structure factor. Bragg's law, reciprocal lattice, Ewald sphere.

      - Experimental techniques: Diffraction from polycrystalline samples and single crystals. Sample preparation. data acquisition strategies. Use of crystallographic databases.

      Resolution and structural refinement: The intensity of the diffraction peaks. The electron density. The phase problem. Solution methods: synthesis of Patterson, direct methods.

      Practical exercises: Identification of the phases present in a polycrystalline sample; structural refinement with the Rietveld method; structural resolution "ab initio" using of intensity 'data from single crystal and / or powders.


      Besides the material available on Aulaweb, the following textbooks are recommanded:

      A. Immirzi, C. Tedesco, “La diffrazione dei cristalli” 2a Edizione. Cooperativa Universitaria Athena

      C. Giacovazzo, H.L. Monaco, G. Artioli, D. Viterbo, G. Ferraris, G. Gilli, G. Zanotti, M. Catti “Fundamentals of Crystallography” Ed. C. Giacovazzo

      M.F.C. Ladd, “Symmetry in molecules and crystals”

      G.H.Stout, L.H.Jensen, “X-ray structure determination”, Macmillan Publishing Co, N.Y (1968)

      V. K. Pecharsky, P. Y. Zavalij, “Fundamentals of powder diffraction and structural characterization of materials”

      Kluwer Academic Press

      Tabelle Internazionali di Cristallografia Vol.1-4

  • Who
  • How

      The course is done in a traditional way, with lectures and exercises. The lectures are interspersed with exercises and examples that are carried out with the contribution of all students.
      Usually, the practical experiences are activities carried out by means of a computer; they take place in the classroom for groups of students


      Students can choose two different methods of examination: 1) traditional oral exam on various topics covered during the course. Usually three questions, one of which is on the theoretical part, one on experimental techniques, one on aspects concerning the interpretation and analysis of structural data. 2) An in-depth essay on a topic of crystallography, previously agreed. For the latter method both a written report and an oral presentation are required. The oral examination is always conducted by two faculty members and on average has a duration of at least 40 minutes; the commission will thus be able to verify wether the educational objectives are reached or not . When these are not met, the student is invited to deepen the study and to use further explanations by the teacher


      Both the reasoning capacity of the student and his skill in solving simple theoretical problems are evaluated. The examination should ascertain whether the student has acquired the theoretical concepts of diffraction, and if it is able to apply them to simple real examples

  • Where and when

      The class starts with the beginning of the second semester

      Marcella Pani

      Students can contact the teacher at any time by e-mail in order to make an appointment for any problem / information regarding the course

      Date Time Type Place Notes
      7 febbraio 2018 9:00 Orale Genova
      21 febbraio 2018 9:00 Orale Genova
      20 giugno 2018 9:00 Orale Genova
      10 luglio 2018 9:00 Orale Genova
      25 luglio 2018 9:00 Orale Genova
      12 settembre 2018 9:00 Orale Genova
      26 settembre 2018 9:00 Orale Genova
  • Contacts