Solid-state chemistry, also sometimes referred as materials chemistry, is the study of the synthesis, structure, and properties of solid phase materials, particularly, but not necessarily exclusively of, non-molecular solids.
Historically, the origin of solid state chemistry can be traced back to the use of experimental techniques for the characterization of minerals, and therefore to the birth of disciplines such as petrography and mineralogy. Subsequently, the birth of new chemical-physical technologies of investigation, starting from 1940, allowed to make this discipline more and more detailed and articulated, and therefore to reach a more quantitative level in the description of the solid state.
The attention is therefore focused on the study of crystalline solids and the structure of metals described on the basis of the theory of the gas of free electrons confined in a periodic potential. The Fourier transform is a powerful mathematical means of fundamental importance in this area. Phase diagrams and thermodynamic aspects related to the formation and stability of solid compounds are studied; the treatment of chemical reactions and catalysis in solid phase is also important.
In the study of solid surfaces, attention is also paid to the dynamics of redox phenomena occurring on the surface of an electrode, using the approach from the microscopic point of view.