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MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Unit code CHEM40711
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  

Many important and interesting phenomena in the ‘chemical world’ around us take place at the nanometre size regime. Indeed, objects that are reduced to this size exhibit physicochemical properties that are very different from bulk objects, or the individual molecules from which they are composed. However, the study of chemical properties at this scale is not trivial, since the physicochemical interactions of interest typically involve no more than a few molecules that are confined in very small volumes, or at the surface interfaces of solid and fluid phases.

This unit will provide students with an understanding and appreciation of how fundamental physical chemistry theory and experimentation are being applied to contemporary nanoscience, through a selection of topics.

In particular: (i) examples of nanofabrication technologies focusing upon the interrelationship between process, resolution and the physical/materials chemistry aspects; (ii) case studies examining some of the recently discovered carbon nanostructures (graphene, carbon nanotubes), concentrating on dimensionality-properties relationships; (iii) the preparation and analysis of self-assembled monolayers of molecules on surfaces.




Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Personalised Learning Unit 2.10 CHEM30112 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Personalised Learning Unit 2.20 CHEM30122 Pre-Requisite Recommended


This unit aims to describe the synthesis and properties of nanomaterials and interfaces where nanoscale phenomena are relevant, and the specialist analytical methods by which they can be observed. Some case studies will also be outlined that demonstrate the current state-of-the-art in nanoscience from a chemical perspective.


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Explain the relationship between chemical structure and the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials.
  • Predict the electronic and optical properties of materials with different size and dimensionality using the quantum    confinement model.
  • Describe the structure and properties of one-atom-thick 2D materials, such as graphene including: the band structure of graphene; the relationship between edge structure and properties.
  • Describe the synthetic approaches to make graphene-based nanomaterials, its derivatives and heterostructures composed of multiple materials.
  • Describe and apply covalent functionalization for tuning the properties of graphene and produce different graphene derivatives.
  • Describe the structure (e.g. diameter, chirality) and properties (optical, electronic) of carbon nanotubes
  • Describe and compare methods for the synthesis of carbon nanotubes
  • Describe the preparation and post-growth processing methods needed to use carbon nanotubes in practical applications
  • Identify possible applications of different carbon nanostructures depending on their properties.
  • Explain the various nanofabrication methods related to photolithography and soft lithography.
  • Describe the structure of properties of self-assembled monolayers.
  • Describe surface analytical techniques (e.g. XPS, SIMS, SPM) and be able to apply them to the analysis of materials and interfaces.

Intellectual skills:

  • Apply the relevant analytical methods to investigate nanoscale chemical phenomena.
  • Perform calculations and data analysis to derive qualitative and quantitative information about the surface/interface.





Teaching and learning methods

Unseen Examination

Knowledge and understanding



Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Problem solving and numeracy skills
  • Critical thinking and critical analysis


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be given in the interactive example classes, and the pre-exam Q&A session before the end of the semester. Feedback on the exam performance will also be provided in line with school policy.


Recommended reading

Lecturers will direct students towards appropriate advanced texts. All lecturers will provide office hours each week to support student learning



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 17
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 75

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ashok Keerthi Unit coordinator
Stephen Yeates Unit coordinator
Lu Shin Wong Unit coordinator

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