Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Characterization of geomaterials functional for technological applications

Geomaterials such as phosphates, silicates, borates, are carefully investigated through crystal-chemical characterization based on XRD, FTIR, Raman and SEM-EDS microscopy. The obtained results make up the basis for the development of synthetical analogues applied in the environment, cultural heritage, optical materials, etc.

The research activity is based on the study of geomaterials, in particular in their meaning of minerals retrieved in the geological context and synthetical minerals which present chemical-physical-mechanical features similar to those of natural compounds. In this sense becomes important the study of some phases found in the local geological panorama, such as phosphates (e.g. apatite), silicates (e.g. cordierites), or rare earth-borates. Their crystal-chemical characterization is achieved through the application of X-ray diffraction, Raman and FTIR spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy coupled (SEM) coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS).
From the knowledge of these geomaterials it is possible to realize synthetical compounds that, owing to the several possible chemical substitutions, are requested for applications in several technological fields: for example the several apatite-based materials, employed in agriculture as nano-fertilizer, or in the environment, being good filters for the water purification, or in the nuclear, for the storage of radioactive wastes, up to cultural heritage, where they make up excellent films applied to stony monuments to prevent the weathering. Or, the rare earth borates used for optical applications and laser materials; such materials are synthetical counterparts of cerium and lanthanum borates found in the roman magmatic province.

Reference works

– Capitelli F.; Bosi F.; Capelli S.; Radica F.; Della Ventura G.. Neutron and XRD single-crystal diffraction study and vibrational properties of whitlockite, the natural counterpart of synthetic tricalcium phosphate. Crystals 11 (2021) 225.

– Rossi M., Rizzi R., Vergara A., Capitelli F., Altomare A., Bellatreccia F., Saviano M., Ghiara M.R. Compositional variation of turquoise group minerals from historical collection of the Real Museo Mineralogico of the University of Naples.
Mineralogical Magazine 81 (2017) 1405-1429.

– Capitelli F., Chita G., Leonyuk N.I., Koporulina E.V., Bellatreccia F., Della Ventura G. REEAl2.07(B4O10)O0.60 dimetaborates (REE = La, Pr); synthesis and X-ray structural characterization. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie 226 (2011) 219-225.

– Rossi M., Ghiara M.R., Chita G., Capitelli F. Crystal-chemical and structural characterization of fluorapatites in ejecta from Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex. American Mineralogist 96 (2011) 1828-1837.

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