Academic Year 2020/2021 - 2° Year - Curriculum Chimica dei Materiali e Nanotecnologie
Teaching Staff: Giovanni LI DESTRI NICOSIA
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: CHIM/02 - Physical chemistry
Taught classes: 35 hours
Exercise: 12 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

The course has as its primary objective to learn the self-assembly phenomena involving the main classes of soft matter, the physico-chemical parameters governing their structure and the main techniques for the morphological and structural characterization of soft matter.

More specifically, the course's aim is the development of the following skills:

  • Knowledge and understanding: the objective is the understanding of the physico-chemical laws and quantities that govern the self-organization processes of soft matter and of the main techniques aimed at the morpho-structural characterization of soft matter
  • Applying knowledge and understanding: the goal is the application of what has been learned to the interpretation and prediction of soft matter behavior in systems of general interest
  • Making judgements: the goal is to make the student able to evaluate the conditions of existence of the various soft matter structures as well as to choose the most suitable technique for the characterization of a specific soft material
  • Communication skills: the goal is to make the student able to accurately and rigorously communicate scientific topics with particular reference to the field of soft materials and nanomaterials
  • Learning skills: the goal is to make the student able to apply the concepts learned during the course to the understanding of phenomena and processes involving soft materials of specific interest

Course Structure

The course will consist of 5 credits provided through lectures and 1 credit of exercises.

Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the syllabus.

Detailed Course Content

Physical chemistry of polymers

Flexibility of the polymer chain, carrier and end-to-end distance. Models of ideal and real chains. Entropic elasticity. Polymer solutions and excluding volume. Polymeric gels and networks. Polymers responding to stimuli. Phase separation in polymer blends. Phase separation in block copolymers. Semi-crystalline polymers. Melting and glass transition.


Physical chemistry of surfactants

Surface tension. Self-organization of surfactants in "bulk". Self-organization of surfactants on surfaces and interfaces. Emulsions and foams.


Physical chemistry of colloidal and nanocolloidal systems

Interaction forces in colloids. Differences between "hard" and "soft" colloids. Phase transition and self-organization in colloids. Colloidal crystals and glasses. DLVO theory and its limits.


Thin films and monolayers of soft matter

Techniques of preparation of thin and monolayer films at solid and liquid interfaces. Self-organization of soft matter at solid and liquid interfaces. Anisotropy of soft matter films and energy factors. Two-dimensional confinement and influence on soft matter properties. Deformation of thin films of soft matter.


Structural and dynamic characterization of soft matter

Scattering of waves. Static scattering. Form factor. Structure factor. Grazing angle scattering. X-ray and neutron scattering. The contrast in X-ray and neutron scattering. Dynamic scattering.


Morphological characterization of soft matter

Scanning Probe Microscopy. Tunnel effect microscopy. Atomic force microscopy. Force curves.


Soft matter in nanotechnology

Nanoparticles, structure and properties. Semiconductor nanoparticles. Magnetic nanoparticles. Polymer nanoparticles. Surface functionalization of nanoparticles. Interaction of nanoparticles / membranes. Self-organization of functional nanoparticles.

Textbook Information

Polymer Physics (M. Rubinstein – Oxford University Press)

Soft Condensed Matter (E. Terentjev, D. WeitzBruckner – Oxford University Press)

Fluids, Colloids and Soft Materials: An Introduction to Soft Matter Physics (A.Fernandez-Nieves, A. Puertas – Wiley)

Soft Matter Nanotechnology (X. Chen, H. Fuchs – Wiley)

Scattering Methods and their Application in Colloid and Interface Science (O. Glatter – Elsevier)

The Colloidal Domain (D. Fennel Evans, H. Wennerstroem - Wiley)