Chemistry Curriculum

Research Group of Analytical Chemistry

The research of the group of Analytical Chemistry focuses on the development of analytical methods (including molecular and atomic spectroscopies, gas- and liquid-chromatography, and mass-spectrometry), pre-analytical sample treatments and chemometric approaches aimed at investigating complex systems in the field of chemistry, biology, environmental and food sciences. Specific research activities are listed below.

Food traceability.  Both targeted (chromatographic or multi-elemental analysis) and untargeted (UV-vis and infrared spectroscopic fingerprinting) are applied in combination with classification and class-modelling strategies for the discrimination on the geographical/varietal basis of regional agronomical specialties and authentication of high-value certified foodstuffs. Previous and current studies concern, among the others, saffron, lentils, pecorino cheeses, garlic and wines. Additionally, the same analytical methodologies are applied for fraud detection, in particular for identification of counterfeits and adulterations.

Application of innovative sorbents in water decontamination and solid-phase extraction. Innovative materials based on carbon nanotubes and sponges or obtained by molecular imprinting technologies are synthetized and characterised. Materials with modulated selectivity are used in the solid-phase extraction of target analytes from aqueous samples. Adsorption properties of the sorbents and their potentiality in the removal of pesticides from aqueous environment are also investigated.  Moreover, nanocrystalline magnetic oxides, like ferric oxides (Fe2O3 and Fe3O4), are used as efficient sorbents to extract heavy metals from aqueous solutions.   

Optimisation of separation methods. Design of Experiments combined with Response Surface Methodology is applied to optimise extraction of target analytes from real samples or maximise resolution in both gas- and liquid-chromatography. Quantitative structure-retention relationships for various chemical classes of analytical interest are established. Multi-variable predictive models combining molecular descriptors and chromatographic variables are developed to support chromatographic optimisation and to transfer chromatographic data among different columns.  

Mass-spectrometry applied to complex matrices. Electrospray Mass Spectrometry (ESI MS) coupled with high-performance or ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC or UHPLC) is used for the characterization of natural and bio-inspired polymers obtained by in vitro synthesis from monomeric phenolic precursors and for characterization of complex mixture like bio-oils or biomasses to be converted in bio-oils.  (UHPLC)-ESI MS is also used to study proteins (in the molecular weight range from peptides up to antibodies), enzymatic proteolysis and for the identification of polar non volatile organic compounds from various origins. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from plants, atmospheric particulate, lichens and other complex matrices are characterized by gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS) coupled with Head Space Solid Phase Micro Extraction (HS-SPME).

Development of novel tools for data analysis. Data analysis is a discipline which spans different contexts. Due to the advancement of new technologies, it is an everyday task to handle complex and information-rich data; consequently, developing new approaches for data analysis is of fundamental importance. Method development is mainly focused on regression and classification tools, but also on variable selection approaches for interpretative purposes. In-house routines are generally written in Matlab, but also other software (e.g., R) are used.

Group:

Prof. Angelo Antonio D’Archivio, https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=9tSktCIAAAAJ

Prof. Fabrizio Ruggieri,

Dr. Samantha Reale, https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=t7yemJ4AAAAJ

Dr. Alessandra Biancolillo,

General Chemistry and Technology

Lab of Green Chemistry Prof. Leucio Rossi

Research activities in the field of Organic Electrosynthesis and Green Chemistry.  Development of new methodologies with low environmental impact for the synthesis of compounds of industrial, pharmaceutical and agricultural interest; use of electrogenerated reagents, ionic liquids and use of carbon dioxide as a carbon source. Development of catalysts and processes for selective hydrogenation of vegetable oils and conversion of the vegetables oils into green diesel.

Lab of Nanotechnology – Dr. Giulia Fioravanti

https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=WmBl0DMAAAAJ

Preparation and characterization of Graphene Oxide (GO) based materials for applications in gas sensing, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), pesticide adsorption and tissue engineering (properties of adhesion, growth and cell differentiation). Development of coatings for titanium dental implants. Study of materials for 3D printer inks.

Lab of  – Prof. Marcello Crucianelli

https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=MxP1GhIAAAAJ

Study, design, synthesis and experimental validation of new catalytic systems by means of heterogenization of metal complexes and/or enzymes, on heterogeneous organic/inorganic hybrids and/or carbon nanotubes, for selective and environment-friendly oxidation of molecules of biological interest.

Research Organic Chemistry

The organic chemistry group is a close-knit community where individual teams tend to collaborate in a friendly atmosphere. Current fields of research span across many aspects of organic chemistry. A number of collaborations with industry are active on different projects and areas. PhD candidates are routinely exposed to a vast array of science and are warmly encouraged to engage with other members of the organic chemistry group, besides collaborating both within the chemistry area and the wider science community at the Università degli Studi dell’Aquila and beyond. A plethora of experimental methodologies and spectroscopic techniques for compounds identification allows to study in detail the structural, electronic, spectroscopic and catalytic properties of the investigated systems, e.g.: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), mass spectrometry, FT-IR, fluorescence, differential scanning calorimetry, mass chromatography and UV-vis, ICP-MS, EPR, ESI-MS, HPLC, SEM, TEM, XPS.

Each team carries out their activity in the following research areas:

– Supramolecular Chemistry and Nanotechnology

Part of the research activity concerns the synthesis and physico-chemical characterisation of surfactants and of the aggregates they form. Different mixed liposomes formulations including active principles or natural substances with pharmacological activities are investigated in detail. In particular, the aim of these research activities is to correlate the molecular structure of liposomes components to the physico-chemical properties and to their ability to interact with the biological milieu. Size and size distribution, potential and morphology of the aggregates, lipid organization and presence of domain, entrapment efficiency, location of a solute in the bilayer, together with other peculiar characterization, can help to rationalize, to some extent, some of the parameters that control the interactions with the biological environment. Another research topic concerns the study of new nanostructured systems for applications in the field of bioconversions. The use of water-soluble additives (synthetic surfactants, ionic liquids, natural polymers, etc.) can significantly modify the catalytic properties of an enzyme and the resulting effects depend deeply on the fine structure of the selected additive. Enzyme immobilization on a solid support represents an alternative and promising method for its stabilization, which also allows an easy recovery of both the reaction products and the catalyst. Moreover, new biocompatible hydrogels can be used as supporting systems to entrap enzymes or other additives for applications both in food and cultural heritage sectors.

– From methodology to organic Synthesis; organo-, photo-, supramolecular- and metal catalysis

Part of the research activity is focused on the development of innovative and more sustainable approaches for the synthesis of libraries of small organic carbocyclic/heterocyclic scaffolds of industrial interest with the aim to satisfy the ever-growing demand for new methods that are catalytic, selective, and highly efficient; possess broad functional group tolerance; and operate under exceedingly mild reaction conditions. To counter these issues, the use of Lewis acids/metal catalysts will be explored to approach to diversity-oriented syntheses of target scaffolds. In some cases, the use of unconventional energy sources, such as microwaves and supported catalysts will be used as possible implementation and feasible frontier study.  In particular, main efforts are devoted to the development of novel one-pot transformations that remain a high priority due to their innate efficiency. Catalysis is a key technology bringing a breakthrough. Sequential and multi-component strategies offer significant advantages over classical linear syntheses by combining a series of reactions from easily available and simple precursors without the need for isolation of the intermediates. Such reactions are thus economically and environmentally attractive because they produce less waste and minimize handling.”  

Further interests cover organo-, photo- and supramolecular catalysis; new activation modes, more efficient catalysts, design and modelling of new systems, and innovative approaches to unsolved problems inspire our research team. Collaborations with research groups across Italy and Europe, along with industry supporting our PhD candidates and postdoc researchers, help us contaminating our interests with multidisciplinary ideas.

Prof. Antonio Arcadi, https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=Mi6zAeMAAAAJ

Prof.ssa Nicoletta Spreti, https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=Z9qQuWoAAAAJ

Prof. Armando Carlone, https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=HSfivT0AAAAJ

Dr. Luisa Giansanti, https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=30Cc1-0AAAAJ

Dr. Andrea Baschieri

Computational Chemistry group

This research group is active in different fields ranging from the application to the implementation of simulation-models of different complexity for the study of phenomena of chemical interest. In particular the main interests can be summarized in three groups:

(a) Application of Semi-classical Molecular Dynamics simulations for the study of large molecular systems. In this field of investigation we apply the standard techniques for the generation of classical trajectories aimed at sampling the large molecular systems phase-space subsequently analyzed through advanced techniques for the determination of thermodynamic and (when possible) kinetic observables.

(b) Development and application of mixed quantum-classical simulation methods. In this field of investigation we have developed and successfully applied simulation procedures for modelling different observables such as spectroscopy (UV-Absorption, UV-emission and IR), chemical reactions (acid-base or electron-transfer) and relaxation kinetics of large molecular systems in solution.

(c) Application of standard quantum-chemical calculations and advanced kinetic models (Canonical and Microcanonical Transition State Theory) for the study of the mechanism of complex reactions involving molecular systems with a reduced number of atoms.

Massimiliano Aschi https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=zeaVktMAAAAJ&hl=it

Isabella Daidone https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=it&user=q1Nt6_wAAAAJ

Leonardo Guidoni: https://scholar.google.it/citations?hl=it&user=Ck32rIkAAAAJ

Daniele Narzi: https://scholar.google.it/scholar?hl=it&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=daniele+narzi&btnG=