Crystallography with LAB

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Knowledge and understanding, built also on the basis-level three-year degree, to achieve the ability to describe crystalline matter and undertake its study by diffraction techniques, enabling to identify, describe and perform research on the crystalline state of geological materials.
Applying knowledge and understanding The course provides the ability to properly recognize and describe periodicity and symmetry and to identify it through diffraction analysis, thus providing support to Earth Sciences disciplines, that require knowledge of the properties of the crystalline nature of geomaterials.
Expected learning outcomes
Making judgements The course delivers ability to face crystallographic problems through analysis and management of the complexity of processes underlying radiation-matter interaction. The student will be proficient on understanding and critically analysing the experimental results obtained through diffraction experiments, as well as the assessment of accuracy/reliability of experimental data.
Communication skills The course will deliver the knowledge of international terminology, including symbolism and English jargon, enabling universal communication of problems and phenomena related to the symmetry of materials and its study by diffraction techniques. The student will be qualified to propagate the crystallographic knowledge outreach in a wide range of contexts.
Learning skills The student will be able to outspread the acquired knowledge allowing him to cope independently in crystallographic research, both in geological contexts and with synthetic inorganic materials (mineralogical proxies).
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
During the emergency teaching phase, the program is maintained with the following changes necessary for a good online use of the course originally designed for face-to-face teaching.

Teaching methods:
Lectures will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform and can be followed both in sync on the basis of the timetable and asynchronously because they will be recorded and left available to students on the same platform. The latter they will be also recorded and left available on the same platform to students that could not attend.

Program and reference material:
The program and the reference material will not change.
The teaching supporting materials are powerpoint presentations accessible on the ARIEL website (

Verification of learning and evaluation criteria:
In case that it is not possible to do written tests, all tests will be oral through the Microsoft Teams platform.
Course syllabus
A. Symmetry of crystals
Symmetry operations. Lattices. Point Groups and Symmetry Classes. Symmetry systems. Bravais Lattices. Space Groups (2D, 3D). Group theory. International Tables. Matrix representation of symmetry operators. Reciprocal lattice.
B. X-ray scattering
Diffraction concept. Background. Radiation-matter interaction: coherent and incoherent scattering; absorption and fluorescence. Scattering, scattering factor. Temperature factor. Structure factor. Bragg equation. Ewald's sphere. Symmetry in reciprocal space. Determination of the spatial group (systematic absences). Dynamic theory of diffraction. Fourier Synthesis and methods to retrieve the phase. Completion of the structure. Structural refinement.
C. Experimental Techniques
X-ray sources: conventional, synchrotron facilities. Filters, monochromators, collimators and detectors. Single Crystal Diffraction. Powder diffraction. Electron diffraction. Neutron diffraction.
Prerequisites for admission
It is advisable to have appropriate training in matrix and vector calculus and wave physics.
Teaching methods
Lectures and exercises (calculation exercises or with the use of crystallographic and structural refinement programs) and visit to the diffraction laboratories.
Teaching Resources
Giacovazzo C. et al. (2011) Fundamentals of crystallography. 3rd Edition. IUCr, Oxford Science Publications, Oxford. (chapters 1, 3 and 5 + some aspects covered in 6)
Powerpoint slides downloadable in the ARIEL portal of the course
Assessment methods and Criteria
Examinations to verify knowledge consists of a written test and an oral test (discussion), both mandatory: The written test aims to ascertain the basic knowledge acquired during the theoretical lessons and laboratory exercises through (a) the solution of type exercises, with contents and difficulties similar to those faced in the exercises, (b) a multiple choice test.
The oral discussion, starting from the contents of the written test, focuses on all the topics covered in the course.
GEO/06 - MINERALOGY - University credits: 9
Practicals: 36 hours
Lessons: 48 hours
Educational website(s)
anytime, just send an email with the request
office, first floor, via Botticelli 23