Matteo Alvaro, PhD

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Matteo Alvaro


My research is mainly focused to the determination of the chemical and physical properties of minerals phases relevant for the Earth and planetary sciences, together with the development of the mineralogical-crystallographic-elastic tools for understanding the behavior such phases under non ambient conditions. The properties of these mineral phases that represent the deep regions of our planet, meteorites from planetary bodies or technological materials provide fundamental information on planet-scale geological processes (such as convection, plate tectonics and subduction), and technological processes optimization. Moreover, my latest results are focused on the development of linear and non-linear elasticity theory applied to two components systems (i.e. host-inclusion). The development of my research is supported by experimental and theoretical interests that includes the following main topics:



High-pressure research

High pressure study of crystalline material by means of single-crystal X-ray diffraction using DAC (Diamond Anvil Cell) apparatus mounted on point detector and area detector diffractometers (i.e. Oxford diffraction – Agilent, Bruker and Huber systems). In particular these experiments have a wide variety of applications from Earth’s mantle elastic response (e.g. publications 2, 4, 9, 11 etc..) to industrial/commercial (e. ceramic industry, gemstone industry etc…) development and applications (e.g. publications 6, 8, 10, 17).

High-temperature research

High temperature study of crystalline material in situ by single-crystal X-ray diffraction using micro-furnace mounted on conventional diffractometer (e. Philips and Bruker systems). In particular those experiments have a wide variety of applications from Earth’s mantle elastic response (e.g. publication 3, 21) and the planetary bodies spectral analysis (e.g. publication 15) to industrial/commercial (i.e. ceramic industry, gemstone industry etc…) development and application (e.g. publications 3, 14, 16). Recently, I have been developing a new apparatus for high-temperature measurements. The considerably improved performances with respect to its predecessors allows determining lattice thermal expansion on single-crystals by means of X-ray diffraction up to 1200K with much higher precision and accuracy than before, using the same methods adopted for high-pressure measurements (e.g. 8-position centring).

Low-temperature research

Low temperature study of crystalline material in situ by single crystal X-ray diffraction (i.e. using cryojet system mounted on area detector diffractometer). In particular these studies are devoted to the investigation of crystalline materials with ferroelectric and magneto-electric properties (e.g. publication 7). Few more applications recently on development regards the analysis of spectroscopic data at low temperature in order to apply the results to the shadow zones on planetary bodies.


Elasticity: All the experimental methods above mentioned are fundamental tools for the characterization of any crystalline material under non-ambient conditions. Analysis of these experimental results requires knowledge of linear and non-linear elasticity. To this aim most of my latest research had been devoted to further extend and simplify elasticity theories to be applied to crystalline material (e.g. publications 18, 21). The recently developed EoSFit7c program allows users with basic knowledge on elasticity to expand their capabilities for data analysis including linear and non-linear elasticity in a simple manner.


Kinetic and equilibrium study of crystalline material at high temperature conditions ex situ by single-crystal X-ray diffraction (i.e. Philips and Bruker systems) and using oven for the annealing experiments. In particular, these experiment are relevant for planetary and Earth’s processes studies such as cooling rate and history of terrestrial and extraterrestrial rocks (e.g. publications 1, 5, 12, 23).


Host-inclusion systems: Expanding the limits for linear and non-linear elasticity intrinsically means dealing with more complex system such as “host-inclusion system” where the elastic response of the single phase component needs to be combined to allow the evaluation of the elastic response of the multicomponent system (e.g. publication 19, 22, 26, 27). Such multicomponent systems are among the most common cases on several disciplines going from earth sciences to material sciences (i.e. from mantle minerals to cements). Within the framework of the recently developed EoSFit7c program (publication 18) the “isomeke tool” has been developed and is still currently under development. Such tool will allow to retrieve the entrapment pressure by means of linear and non-linear elasticity of two isotropic spherical components (host-inclusion) system also accounting for elastic relaxation effects. Furthermore, current development is aimed to expand to program capabilities to handle anisotropic and non-spherical inclusion-host systems.


15.  Ferrari S., Nestola F., Massironi M., Maturilli A., Helbert J., Alvaro M., Domeneghetti M.C., Zorzi F. (2014) In-situ high-temperature emissivity spectra and thermal expansion of C2/c pyroxenes. American Mineralogist, 99(4), 786-792 (DOI: 10.2138/am.2014.4698.)

16.  Gatta G.D., Comboni D., Alvaro M., Lotti P., Cámara F., Domeneghetti M.C. (2014) Thermoelastic behavior and dehydration process of cancrinite. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, 41(5), 373-386 (DOI: 10.1007/s00269-014-0656-2).

17.  Alvaro M., Nestola F., Ross N.L., Domeneghetti M.C. and Reznitsky L. (2014) High pressure behavior of thiospinel CuCr2S4. American Mineralogist 99(5), 908-913 (DOI: 10.2138/am.2014.4689).

18.  Angel R.J., Gonzalez-Platas J., Alvaro M. (2014) EosFit-7 and a Fortran module (library) for equation of state calculations. Zeitschrift fuer Kristallographie, 229(5), 405-419 (DOI: 10.1515/zkri-2013-1711)

19.  Angel R.J., Mazzucchelli M.L., Alvaro M., Nimis P., and Nestola F. (2014) Geobarometry from host-inclusion systems: the role of elastic relaxation. American Mineralogist, 99 (10), 2146-2149 (DOI: 10.2138/am-2014-5047).

20.  Dobson D., Lindsay-Scott A., Wood I.G., Nestola F., Alvaro M., Casati N., Liebske C., Knight K.S. (2014) Time-of-flight neutron powder diffraction with milligram samples: the crystal structures of NaCoF3 and NaNiF3 post-perovskites. Journal of Applied Crystallography (47) 1-9 (doi:10.1107/S1600576714021803).

21.  Pandolfo F., Cámara F., Domeneghetti M.C., Alvaro M., Nestola F., Karato S., Amulele G.(2015) Volume thermal expansion along the jadeite–diopside join. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, 42 (1), 1-14 (DOI: 10.1007/s00269-014-0694-9)

22.  Angel R.J., Alvaro M., Nestola F., Mazzucchelli M.L. (2015) Diamond thermoelastic properties and implications for determining the pressure of formation of diamond inclusion systems. Russian Geology and Geophysics, 56, 225-234.

23.  Alvaro M., Domeneghetti M.C., Marinangeli, L. (2015) A new calibration to determine the closure temperatures of Fe-Mg ordering in augite from nakhlites. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 50: 3, 499-507.

24.  Malaspina N., Alvaro M., Campione M., Wilhelm W., Nestola F. (2015) Dynamics of mineral crystallization from precipitated slab-derived fluid phase: first in-situ synchrotron x-ray measurements. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 169: 26, 1-12.

25.  Scandolo L., Mazzucchelli M.L., Alvaro M., Domeneghetti M.C., Nestola F. (2015) Thermal expansion behavior of orthopyroxenes: the role of the Fe-Mn substitution. Mineralogical Magazine, 79(1), 71-87.

26.  Milani S., Nestola F., Alvaro M., Mazzucchelli M.L., Domeneghetti M.C., Geiger C.A. (2015) Diamond-garnet geobarometry: The role of garnet compressibility and expansivity. Lithos, 227, 140-147.

27.  Angel R.J., Nimis P., Mazzucchelli M.L., Alvaro M., and Nestola F. (2015) How large are departures from lithostatic pressure? Constraints from host-inclusion elasticity. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 33 (8), 801-813 (doi: 10.1111/jmg.12138).

28.  Periotto B., Anzolini C., Andreozzi G., Woodland A., Lenaz D., Alvaro M., Princivalle F. (2015) Equation of state of hercynite spinel, FeAl2O4, and high-pressure systematics of Mg-Fe-Cr-Al spinels. Mineralogical Magazine, 72(2), 285-294.

29.  M. Alvaro, R.J. Angel, C. Marciano, S. Milani, G. Zaffiro, L. Scandolo, M.L. Mazzucchelli, G. Rustioni, M.C. Domeneghetti, F. Nestola (2015) A new micro-furnace for “in situ” high-temperature single crystal X-ray diffraction measurements. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 48 (4), 1192-1200.

30.  Angel R.J., Milani S., Alvaro M., Nimis P., Nestola F. (2015) OrientXplot: A software for processing host inclusion orientation data. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 48 (4), 1330-1334.

31.  Nestola, F., Burnham, A.D., Peruzzo, L., Tauro, L., Alvaro, M., Walter, M.J., Gunter, M., Kohn, S.C. (2016): Tetragonal Almandine-Pyrope Phase, TAPP: finally a name for it, the new mineral jeffbenite. Mineralogical Magazine, 79, (in press).

32.  M. Murri, L. Scandolo, A. Fioretti, M.C. Domeneghetti and M. Alvaro (2016). Fe-Mg equilibrium behaviour in augite: implications for the thermal history of terrestrial and extraterrestrial rocks. American mineralogist (submitted).

33.  P. Nimis, M. Alvaro, F. Nestola, R.J. Angel, K. Marquardt, G. Rustioni, J. Harris (2016) First evidence of hydrous silicic fluid films around solid inclusions in gem-quality diamonds. Lithos, (submitted).