Master Degree

Laboratory for Molecular Nanotechnologies

Year of erogation: 
Unit Coordinator: 
Disciplinary Sector: 
Second semester
Language of instruction: 

Italian, English if required

Learning outcomes of the course unit

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 contents summary

This course will develop some aspects of laboratory techniques for the production and characterization of selected families of nanostructures.

Focus shall be on the following research techniques:

- Techniques for preparation and characterization of molecular layers: Lagnmuir techniques and spin coating
- Optical techniques: (Epi)fluorescence microscopy, Ellipsometry and Brewster angle microscopy
- Electron microscopy SEM, SEM-EDX, TEM
- Scanning force microscopy (AFM and its relatives)
- Mechanical properties in 2D and 3D (MPT, ISR, rheometry in general)
- Correlation spectroscopies for the characterization of nanostructures: Dynamic Light Scattering, Zeta Potential, Diffusing Wave Spectroscopy.
- Elements of advanced spectroscopy, based on scattering of synchrotron radiation and neutrons.

Students interested only in a particular subset of techniques could focus their activities only on those of interest.

Course contents

See the corresponding ELLY website

Recommended readings

The notes of the lectures and exercises, and all the supporting material (slides, research articles, manuals…), as well as software used in the laboratory sessions, are made available to students by sharing them on Elly platform. In addition to the shared material, these books contain useful material for more in-depth study:

B.J. Berne, R. Pecora - Dynamic Light Scattering: With Applications to Chemistry, Biology, and Physics - Courier Corporation, (2000)
J. Mewis & N. J. Wagner - Colloidal Suspension Rheology - Cambridge Uni Press (2012)

J. Als-Nielsen & D. Mc Morrow - Elements of Modern X-ray Physics - Physics Wiley (2010)

R.H. Tredgold - Order in Thin organic films - Cambridge Uni Press (1994)

S. A. Safran - Statistical Themodynamics of Surfaces, Interfaces, and Membranes -Westview (2003)

Teaching methods

The course consists of 6 credits, corresponding to 62 hours of teaching.

This will be articulated in an introductory part of lectures (typically 2h / week), which will be alternated to teaching activities in the laboratory (typically 4 h / week) 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 will be asked to write a report on their project. (weight 50%)

The examination will then take place in oral form (weight 50%). It will be focused on the discussion of this report, on the results achieved (for example, on their meaning, as well as on the accuracy of certain determinations).
Examination will take place as a videocall, using the Microsoft Teams platform; in-person examination will be considered in case of a positive evolution of the COVID19 pandemic.