2020 Inorganic Particle Synthesis by Precipitation: From Nanoparticles to Self-organised Mesocrystals and from Theory to Practice

19-21 October 2020 – EPFL, Lausanne


  • Introduction to the basics behind precipitation of inorganic powders in theory and in practice.
  • Discussion of the fundamental concepts of supersaturation, nucleation, growth and aggregation.
  • Brief introduction to some basic methods used for powder characterization.
  • Demonstration of real sample characterization and correct interpretation of the results collected.
  • Presentation of precipitation reactors from batch to continuous and in situ monitoring.
  • Presentation of “sol-gel” routes in both aqueous and non-aqueous environments.
  • Thermodynamic and kinetic modelling towards understanding growth mechanisms.


This course may be validated for 1 ECTS credit in the doctoral programs of EPFL and ETH Zurich after acceptance by the corresponding institution. The credit will be attributed to students who pass the examination held on 21 October 2020 after the course.


Monday, 19 October – INM 201

Tuesday, 20 October – ELD 020 

Wednesday, 21 October – AAC 1 08


  • Precipitation basics – supersaturation, nucleation, growth and aggregation
  • Powder characterization – particle size, surface area, morphology (microscopy), X-ray powder diffraction, zeta potential and thermogravimetric analysis. 
  • Precipitation in practice – reactor engineering – from batch to continuous reactors
  • “Sol-gel” routes in both aqueous and non-aqueous environments and polyol routes
  • Modelling – solution thermodynamics, kinetics (population balance), aggregation, self-assembly
  • Case Studies – superparamagnetic iron oxides, towards Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for biomedical applications

Please note that while the theory presented in this course applies to all types of materials, the practical examples concentrate on inorganic materials. Also due to limited time only a brief overview of the theory can be given although key references for more advanced analysis are provided throughout.


The program is available here. 


Prof. Paul Bowen (EPFL), Prof. Markus Niederberger (ETHZ), Dr. Andrea Testino (PSI)

Who should attend

Academic and industrial engineers, PhD students and researchers with an interest in the field.

Fees and registration

PhD students from EPFL, ETHZ, PSI, Empa and CSEM: CHF 360.-

Other academic participants: CHF 460.-

All other participants: CHF 1500.-

Tuition, lunches and coffee breaks are included in the fees.  Please note that payment is now required upon registration using the PayOnLine platform, which accepts major credit cards, PayPal and Twint. Course fees being paid directly by an EPFL laboratory may be paid by account transfer – please contact Carey Sargent if you are an EPFL student and prefer this method of payment.

Please register using the link found here. Registration is open until Friday, 2 October 2020.

For questions about registration, please contact Carey Sargent.