2018 Advanced Course – Inorganic Particle Synthesis by Precipitation

19-21 March 2018 – EPFL, Lausanne — Inorganic Particle Synthesis by Precipitation: From Nanoparticles to Self-organised Mesocrystals and from Theory to Practice


  • 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 took place from 19 to 21 March 2018 at EPFL, Lausanne.


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 March 2018 after the course.


Registration is no longer possible,


Materials Institute, EPFL – Room MXC320

Course Brochure

The course brochure will soon be available here. To create the 8 page brochure, please print double sided and fold together.


  • 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.


Prof. Paul Bowen (EPFL), Prof. Markus Niederberger (ETHZ), Prof. Heinrich Hofmann (EPFL), Dr. Andrea Testino (PSI), A. Carino (PSI), M.R. Andalibi (PSI).

Who should attend

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


The participation fee is CHF360 for doctoral students from EPFL, ETHZ, Empa, PSI and CSEM, CHF460 for other PhD students and academic researchers and industrial participants from CCMX partner companies. The registration fee for all other participants is CHF1500. The fee includes all lunches and coffee breaks. We will confirm the participation of students coming from institutions outside of Switzerland after all fees have been paid. Please note that any bank transfer fees must be covered by the participant.