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Single-crystal X-ray diffraction is the most powerful experimental technique to determine the crystal structure of a crystalline compound. Therefore, it represents the first step to “explore” the  crystalline material properties.

This is possible using 4-circles diffractometers.

The laboratory is equipped with two single-crystal X-ray diffractometers:

  • STOE STADI IV 4-circle diffractometer equipped with Mo source and point detector, operating with the SINGLE software (Angel and Finger, 2011) to perform high-accuracy and high-precision unit-cell parameter determination:


Point detector STOE STADI IV

Diffraction peak centered using SINGLE

  • STOE STADI IV 4-circle diffractometer equipped with Mo source and area detector CCD detector (Oxford Diffraction) suitable for rapid identification and structure determination:

CCD area detector STOE STADI IV

Diffraction pattern collected using a CCD detector


Three diamond anvil cells (DAC, ETH type) are available to perform in-situ high pressure measurements to reproduce in the laboratory the high-pressure conditions of the Earth’s mantle:

Diamond anvil cell (ETH type)

View through the diamonds into the DAC


The final result of single-crystal X-ray diffraction technique is a “real” picture of a crystalline compound at the atomic scale, even for very complex atomic arrangements and under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure. 


The laboratory is involved in several national and international collaborations using crystallography at room and high-pressure conditions

Research fields
  • Compressibility.
  • Physical properties of minerals.
  • Crystal structure evolution under non ambient conditions.
  • Determination of thermodynamic properties of feldspars, olivine, antigorite, clino and orthopyroxenes, garnets, spinels as a function of composition and pressure and their applications to geodynamics and geophysics of the Earth’s crust and mantle.
  • Investigation of new mineral species.
  • Identification and characterization of mineral inclusions in diamonds from upper and lower mantle. Develop of new experimental approach for measurements the inclusions in situ preserving the diamonds.
  • Mineralogy of surface of Mercury from remote sensing acquisition in the Bepi Colombo ESA space mission.
  • Structure solving of new MOF compounds.


  • Faculty staff: Prof. Fabrizio Nestola, Prof. Luciano Secco.
  • Technical staff: Dr. Daria Pasqual.
  • Post-doc students: Matteo Parisatto.
  • PhD students: Sabrina Ferrari, Alessandro Guastoni, Arianna Lanza, Sula Milani, Francesco Pandolfo, Benedetta Periotto, Luca Ziberna.
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