Chief Research Lab Technician
X-Ray Diffraction and Electron Microscopy
- crystal engineering
- electron microscopy
I run the Departmental XRD facilities. I also co-run the SEM facilities in the Department, which include an EBSD system. I am interested in X-ray diffraction and crystallography and their applications across a range of scientific areas. Indeed crystallography lies between and connects several fields: physics, mathematics, chemistry, mineralogy, material science, biology. I find this interdisciplinarity extremely fascinating which is why I continuously try to expand my knowledge on this subject. I have applied diffraction techniques and crystallographic methods to a wide range of materials, organic and inorganic, synthetic and natural, from oxides and metal alloys to small molecules, co-crystals, MOFs and coordination compounds. While I have extensive experience on single crystal diffraction, we mainly use powder instruments and data here at the Department of Earth Sciences - we have three X-ray powder diffraction units. I am experienced with: ab initio structure solution from powder data; Rietveld refinement for structural/quantitative/microtextural studies; data mining in the crystallographic and diffraction databases; practical crystallographic problem solving (pseudosymmetry, twinning, cif files editing etc.). I would like to get more experience on: high pressure crystallography; PDF analysis; TEM analysis; biological crystallography.
In my recent years I became very interested in mechanochemistry, and phase stabilities and transitions under milling conditions, from minerals to co-crysytals, coordination compounds, and dynamic combinatorial covalent systems.
Other interests: jazz music and music in general - I am a semi-professional electric and double bass player.
2012 - present Chief Research Lab Technician
X-Ray Diffraction and Scanning Electron Microscopy Lab, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge (UK). Supervisor: Prof Simon Redfern. Line Manager: Martin Walker.
- 2009 - 2011 Post-Doc position
Department of Chemistry “G.Ciamician” of the University of Bologna (Italy). Research project: “Preparation, characterization and polymorph screening of molecular co-crystals and salts”. Supervisors: Prof. Dario Braga, Prof. Fabrizia Grepioni.
- 2008 - 2009 Post-Doc position
INSTM Consortium (National Interuniversity Consortium for Material Science and Technology) at the Department of Geosciences of the University of Padua (Italy) the laboratories of the Reckitt & Benckiser (Mira, Italy). Research project: “In situ studies of the crystal nucleation and growth of inorganic phases from detergency solutions”. Supervisor: Prof. Gilberto Artioli.
2016 Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Music (electric bass and double bass)
Conservatory "G.B. Martini" of Bologna (Italy), with full marks (110/110). Thesis title is “Oregon and World Music: historical overview and analysis of the band's music style”, supervisors: Stefano Zenni and Paolo Ghetti.
2007 PhD in Mineralogy
University of Florence (Italy). supervisors: Prof. Marco Benvenuti and Prof. Paola Bonazzi. The thesis title is “Effect of Citrate and Glutamate on the Precipitation of Hydroxylapatite: Synthesis and Characterization Through XRD, FTIR, SAXS, and ICP-AES”, in collaboration with Dr Paul Schofield of the Natural History Museum in London (UK).
2004 Master's Degree in Earth Sciences (5 years degree)
Specialization in Crystallography and Mineralogy at the University of Florence, with highest marks (110/110 marks summa cum laude) and thesis in crystallography: “Wakabayashilite: structure, superstructure and twinning”, supervisor: Prof Paola Bonazzi.
2010-2011 Consultancy work and for ZaCh System S.p.A. and for PolyCrystalLine (PCL) companies.
- Single crystal structure solution and refinement of pharmaceutical samples.
- Rietveld analysis on powder samples of pharmaceutical samples and on structure determination from powder diffraction.
- Teaching and training on crystallographic data collection and analysis for research and technical staff.
2013-present Prof Jeremy K. M. Sanders and Dr Ana M. Belenguer, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge (UK): ongoing research project on solid state dynamic combinatorial chemistry (DCC), as an expert of crystal structure solution and refinement, Rietveld quantitative analysis, mechanochemical synthesis.
2012-present Prof Dario Braga, Prof Fabrizia Grepioni and Dr Lucia Maini, Department of Chemistry "G. Ciamician", University of Bologna (Italy): ongoing research on ionic co-crystals.
2009-2010 Dr Lara Maritan and Dr Michele Secco, Department of Geosciences, University of Padua (Italy): research on alteration of archaeological pottery in lagoon environments, as a consultant on geochemical modelling in aqueous solutions.