Solid State Chemistry with Laboratory

course ID





14 Weeks

Semester DD


Course details

Crystal lattices. Crystal structure determination by X-ray diffraction. Quantum statistical mechanics. Specific heat of solids. Thermal expansion, isothermal compressibility and the equation of state. Cohesion of ionic and molecular solids. Ionic radii and the stability of ionic crystals. The thermodynamics of point defects. Homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions involving point defects. Semiconductor oxides. The transport of matter in the solid state: Fick's laws. Diffusion from infinitely thin layer. The correlation factor. The random walk. General linear transport equations. Chemical diffusion. The Nernst-Einstein equation. Solid state electrochemical cells. Oxide scale formation: thermodynamic and kinetic aspects. Wagner's theory of metal oxidation. Characterization of solids through spectroscopies: XPS (Xray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) AUGER, RBS (Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy), ISS (Ion scattering Spectroscopy), RAMAN Spectroscopy), SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy).


The aim of the course is to complete the scientific learning of the students with the fundamental knowledge on the structure and properties of the systems at the solid state. To this end, we single out - as educational topics - those related to the classification of solid structures, their characterization by means of X-ray diffraction and the analysis of the properties of solids under thermodynamic equilibrium, including defect structures. In addition, the study of the transport of matter in the solid state, together with the analysis of chemical reactions under non-equilibrium conditions, is a significant topic of the present course.


The main topics of the lessons are the structure of perfect and defective crystalline solids, their characterization by spectroscopic techniques and the fundamental processes which take place under non-equilibrium conditions. The present course is aimed at providing the students with those tools necessary for a deep comprehension of the thermodynamic properties of solids in terms of an atomistic description and the mechanisms of chemical reactions at the solid state.

The student should be capable to single out the suitable spectroscopic technique for the characterization of solids, in connection with the classification of crystalline structures. They should understand the differences between solids in terms of interactions among their constituents, i.e. chemical bonds. In addition, the student should be capable of describing the properties of solids by means of thermodynamics as well as by atomistic modelings, with particular emphasis to the processes ruling the chemical interactions with other solids or gas phases.

The students should have the skill to employ the knowledge acquired during the course of Solid State Chemistry to characterize a solid system, both from the chemical and physical perspectives. In particular, they should be able to identify the thermodynamic and transport properties of the solids aimed at finding its best application in the field of materials science.

We pay particular attention to the appropriate usage of the scientific terminology typical of the subject matter and to the context in which it is employed, that should be conceptually rigorous and correct.


The Students are encouraged to use specialized textbooks also for studying the same topics. This is for a better learning of the matters and, at the same time, for improving their critical analysis. In this context, during the solid state chemistry course we strongly suggest the students to read original papers which provided fundamental insight into some topics of the physical Chemistry of solids.