Chemical sciences
Study-unit Code
Chimica fisica
Pier Luigi Gentili
Course Regulation
Coorte 2023
Type of study-unit
Obbligatorio (Required)
Type of learning activities
Attività formativa integrata


Code A003059
Teacher Pier Luigi Gentili
  • Pier Luigi Gentili
  • 59 ore - Pier Luigi Gentili
Learning activities Caratterizzante
Area Discipline chimiche inorganiche e chimico-fisiche
Academic discipline CHIM/02
Type of study-unit Obbligatorio (Required)
Language of instruction Italian, English
Contents Comprehension of both Natural and Epistemological Complexity. Foundations of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics and Non-Linear Dynamics. Oscillating chemical reactions. Chaos and Fractals. The students will carry out four laboratory experiments to experience the principles of the Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics and Non-Linear Dynamics.
Reference texts P. L. Gentili, “Untangling Complex Systems: A Grand Challenge for Science”, CRC Press, 2018, ISBN 9781466509429.
Educational objectives The graduate students in Chemical Science learn the principles of the Out-of-Equilibrium Thermodynamics and Non-Linear Dynamics only in “Investigation into Complex Systems”. This course's primary purpose is to give the students the conceptual and methodological bases to face the interdisciplinary analysis of Complex Systems. The central notions that must be learned by students are:
•evolutive criteria of the physical and chemical systems in out-of-equilibrium conditions;
•deterministic chaos and fractal structures;
•Natural and Epistemological Complexity.
All these notions will allow students to:
•predict the evolution of out-of-equilibrium systems;
•experimental investigation of the self-organizing chemical and physical systems;
•appreciate the limits of science in predicting the behavior of deterministic chaotic systems;
•characterize Fractal structures.
Prerequisites Knowledge of the Equilibrium Thermodynamics.
Teaching methods The course is organized in two stages. The first stage consists of the frontal lessons proposed in the classroom and regarding all the subjects of the course. It is assisted by short movies extracted from the web. The second stage consists of four experiments requiring six hours each. The experiments will be carried out in the Photophysics and Photochemistry Laboratory of the Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology Department. Students are split into groups (having no more than three members) and perform the experiments in parallel by using distinct facilities available in the Laboratory.
Other information For any question, please get in touch with the teacher.
Learning verification modality The learning of the course topics is tested in two ways. A written test that consists in drafting reports of laboratory experiences. An oral test with questions related to the topics covered in the frontal part of the course. The reports must be delivered before taking the oral exam. The laboratory reports will allow the teacher to verify the ability to process and present the experimental data. The oral test will include questions on the principles of non-equilibrium thermodynamics and non-linear dynamics. Students will have to demonstrate that they have acquired the indispensable methodologies and principles to deal with the investigation into complex systems. The oral exam will last between 30 and 40 minutes.
Students with disabilities and/or with DSA are invited to visit the page dedicated to the tools and measures envisaged and to agree in advance on what is necessary with the teacher (https://www.unipg.it/disabilita-e -dsa).
Extended program The subjects proposed are 1) Introduction to the Natural Complexity and the Science of Complexity. 2) Deepened analysis of the II Law of Thermodynamics. 3) Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics. Flows and Forces. Linear and Non-Linear regimes. Entropy Production and evolution criteria for the out-of-equilibrium systems. 4) Linear analysis of the stability of the stationary states: stable, unstable, and oscillatory stationary states. 5) Oscillatory chemical reactions, chemical waves, Turing structures. Periodic Precipitations. 6) More insight on the Non-Linear regime: Bifurcations and deterministic Chaos. The case of convection. 7) Fractals. 8) Natural and Epistemological Complexities. Strategies to face Complexity Challenges. Four experiments involving out-of-equilibrium systems are carried out in the laboratory.
Obiettivi Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile The 2030 Agenda includes global challenges. To face these global challenges, it is necessary to know Complex Systems. This course provides important contents and methodologies for understanding Complex Systems and therefore favors the achievement of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.


Code A001539
Teacher Martina Alunni Cardinali
  • Martina Alunni Cardinali
  • 47 ore - Martina Alunni Cardinali
Learning activities Caratterizzante
Area Discipline chimiche inorganiche e chimico-fisiche
Academic discipline CHIM/02
Type of study-unit Obbligatorio (Required)
Language of instruction Italian
Contents The course is divided into two macro-areas: a first part concentrating on the study of the fundamental principles of optics, starting with the characteristics of electromagnetic radiation, the main laws of refraction and reflection, the study of mirrors, lenses and image formation, up to the fundamental principles of wave optics such as interference and diffraction. These concepts are then explored in their main spectroscopic applications (interferometric and dispersive type spectrometers, operation of lasers and the main optical elements). In contrast, the second part of the course focuses on the study of the properties of soft matter, with insights into the dynamics of such systems. The main techniques for the study of soft matter are discussed with a focus on nonreactive dynamical processes in the liquid phase, through the use of light scattering spectroscopy. Rotational and translational degrees of freedom are analyzed, using the formalism of time autocorrelation functions, to obtain information on hydrodynamic and diffusive, and stochastic processes. Finally, the dynamic light scattering experiment using Brillouin spectroscopy and the concepts of acoustic wave propagation and longitudinal elastic modulus are explored, with examples of application in the field of soft matter.
Reference texts Fundamentals of Physics - David Halliday and Robert Resnick
Physical Chemistry - Peter William Atkins, Julio De Paula, James Keeler
Dynamic Light Scattering - with applications to Chemistry, Biology and Physics, Dover Publications INC, Mineola NY - B.B. Berne, R. Pecora
Soft Matter Physics – Masao Doi
Educational objectives The main objective of the teaching is to provide students with the basics of optical and wave physics in order to have a deeper understanding of the operation of the most common spectroscopic instrumentation and to deal with studies of the dynamics of soft matter with special attention to light scattering techniques. In this context, knowledge of the mathematical tool of time correlation functions in the analysis of stochastic processes and the Fourier transform opens up the possibility of moving from the frequency domain to the time domain, and vice versa in order to obtain a complete dynamic picture of the molecular system examined.
Prerequisites Basic elements of physics (vectors and versors) and molecular spectroscopy.
Teaching methods Lectures and laboratory exercises.
Other information Professor e-mail: martina.alunnicardinali@unipg.it
Learning verification modality Oral exam and evaluation of a laboratory relation on a light scattering spectroscopy experience. The laboratory relation must be delivered, together with those of the "Investigation into complex system" module, before the oral exam and will allow the ability to re-elaborate and present the experimental data to be verified. The evaluation of the relation will be mediated with those of the reports of the "Investigation into complex system" module. The oral test will include questions on optical and wave physics and questions relating to the properties of soft matter. Students will have to demonstrate that they have acquired in-depth knowledge of the functioning of the most common spectroscopic instruments and that they know how to describe the dynamics of soft matter. The oral test will last between 30 and 40 minutes.
Students with disabilities and/or DSA are invited to visit the page dedicated to the tools and measures envisaged and to agree in advance what is necessary with the teacher (https://www.unipg.it/disabilita-e -dsa).
Extended program 1. Optics I. Electromagnetic Radiation: Maxwell's equations and correction of Amperé's law. Generation and propagation of electromagnetic wave. Energy transport and intensity of electromagnetic wave. Electromagnetic spectrum. Propagation of light in vacuum and matter. Reflection and Refraction of light. Total reflection (ATR).
2. Optics II. Polarization of electromagnetic wave (application, polaroid foil). Polarization by reflection. Birefringence. Linear, circular and elliptical polarization. Optical activity and circular dichroism.
3. Mirrors and Lenses. Image formation, geometric optics and wave optics. Hints at plane and spherical mirrors. Thin lenses (application, common optical instruments).
4. Interference and Young's experiment. Spatial and temporal coherence. Interference from thin foils.
5. Diffraction and wave theory. Diffraction through the circular hole. Spatial optical resolution.
6. Practical application in Spectroscopy I. Interferometric Instrumentation: FT-IR and ATR-FTIR Spectroscopy. Principles of IR. Michelson Interferometer. Continuous and Discrete Fourier Transform. Advantages of FT-IR.
7. Practical application in Spectroscopy II. Dispersive Instrumentation: Dispersive Raman Spectroscopy. Laser mechanism of function. Diffraction Gratings. Dispersion and Resolutive Power.

B) Light Scattering and Soft Matter.

1. Soft Matter I. Origin of the term and definition. General characteristics of soft matter: intermolecular interactions, structural organization, dynamics, order parameter and phase transition, polydispersion.
2. Soft Matter II. Techniques for studying soft matter: microscopy, light scattering, X-ray and neutron scattering, rheology, calorimetry, other spectroscopic methods.
3. Dynamic Light Scattering I. History and origins. Time scales of some chemical processes of interest. Autocorrelation functions in time and fluctuations.
4. Dynamic Light Scattering II. Theory of Light Scattering. The light scattering experiment: scattering geometries, characteristics of source, spectrometer and detector. Brillouin light scattering: principles of operation. Acoustic wave and damped harmonic oscillator. Experimental design and combined Raman set-up. Fabry-Perot interferometer. Elastic modules. Applications in the biological field.
Obiettivi Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile Increase knowledge of the physics of soft matter, which often behaves as a complex system.
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