Fundamental knowledge of laboratory techniques (Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy; electron microprobe; X-ray computed tomography) for the characterization of natural and synthetic bio- and geo-materials. Introduction to compounds relevant to bio-geological (zeolites, asbestos) and applied, environmental contexts (atmospheric particulate).
1) G. P. Bernardini – Metodi Fisici di Analisi Mineralogica – Firenze University Press (1982);
2) A. Putnis – Introduction to Mineral Sciences – Cambridge University Press (1992).
To describe and characterize the different typologies of biological and geological materials and their analytical challenges. To know the most important laboratory techniques for the detailed characterization of bio- and geo-materials. To reach multidisciplinary skills in the elaboration and modeling of analytical data.
Knowledge acquired in the courses of Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Petrography.
lessons with the use of blackboard, video-projector for computer, overhead projector.
frequency of lessons is highly recommended, but not mandatory.
Type of Assessment
oral examination on the topics of the course
Biological and geological materials: definition and their characterization in relation to the challenges associated with their chemical-physical analysis. Sampling and preparation of biological and geological samples: sampling criteria, materials and tools for sample collection and storage, tools and methods for sample preparation. Contamination problems. Preparation techniques of powder samples for chemical-physical analysis. Separation of minerals using their shape, density and magnetic susceptibility. Fundamental definitions: analytical signal, background, interferences, instrumental drift, matrix effects, precision, accuracy, reliability limits, sensibility. Electron microscopy: basic principles. Scanning electron microscopy: description of the instrument; secondary electrons images; backscattered electron images; X-ray images; EDS; semi-quantitative microanalysis; biological and geological cases of study. Field emission gun (FEG) and Electron BackScattered Diffraction (EBSD): analysis of nanophases of interest for biology and geology. Electron microprobe: WDS and quantitative microanalysis. X-ray distribution maps. Exercises to calculate the stoichiometry of compounds. Transmission electron microscopy: characteristics and operation of a transmission electron microscope. Examples of applications of the transmission electron microscopy to biology (e.g., bone-biomaterial interface) and geology (e.g., metamict minerals). X-ray computed tomography: basic principles and examples showing the importance of such a technique for biology and Earth sciences. Introduction to synchrotron radiation; basic notions and introduction to the different facilities; applications to biology and geology. Examples of bio- and geo-materials important for man's health: 1) biocalcite and bioapatite; 2) zeolites: mineralogical aspects and technological importance as molecular and de-polluting sieves; 3) asbestos and environmental mineralogy: asbestos definition, methods of study, legislative rules; 4) atmospheric particulate: composition and detection of common minerals potentially hazardous for health.