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MPhys Physics

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:

Unit code PHYS40732
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Physics & Astronomy
Available as a free choice unit? No


Biomaterials Physics


Through discussion of suitably selected topics, to develop an awareness of contributions of nanomaterials, nanotechnology to medical diagnostics and therapies, which encompasses the use of nanoscale sensors to detect internal signals and to the targeted drug deliver. 

Learning outcomes

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.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.
On completion successful students should be able to:
1. describe the range of structures of biomolecules and their functionality in living systems.
2. explain the key relationships between the structures and properties of nanomaterials.3. describe a few typical methods of production of nanomaterials.
4. describe quantum effects on the physical and chemical properties of materials at nanoscales; their potential applications in daily life; and their potential risks.
5. discuss the medical requirements for these advanced materials.
6. describe selected applications of nanomaterials and nanotechnology in the area of diagnostics, therapies and drug delivery.
7. explain the principles of a range of advanced experimental techniques used in determination of the structure and dynamical properties of biomaterials.


1. Structures and properties of nanomaterials (12 lectures)

  • Introduction of nanomaterials, nanotechnology and nanomedicine. 
  • Introduce the structures of solids: crystalline, polycrystalline, amorphous (glass) materials and their connection to physical, chemical and mechanical properties.
  • Introduce structures of water, amino acids, DNA, proteins and their functions in living cell.
  • Structure and properties of low dimensions, e.g. fullerenes, graphene and carbon nanotubes.
  • Quantum confinement effect to the properties of nanoclusaters, nanoparticles, Quantum dots and their applications in nanomedicine.

2. Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine (8 lectures)

  • The introduce material’s biocompatibility and medical requirements.
  • Introduce nanotechnology to medical diagnostics and therapies.
  • Introduce nanoscale sensors and advanced drug delivery methods.
  • Introduce experimental techniques such as synchrotron radiation and neutron scattering for determination of the structures of nanomaterials and biomolecules, STM, AFM and vibrational spectroscopic techniques for probing surfaces of biomolecules.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be available on students’ individual written solutions to examples sheets, which will be marked, and model answers will be issued.

Recommended reading

Recommended Texts
Kittel C., Introduction to Solid State physics, latest edition (J Wiley)
Mohammad Farrukh A., Functionalized Nanomaterials Publisher: In Tech, ISBN 978-953-51-2856-4.
Haider S. and Haider A., Electrospinning-Material, Techniques, and Biomedical Applications, ISBN 978-953-51-2822-9.
Stefan G Stanciu S.G., Micro and Nanotechnologies for Biotechnology, ISBN 978-953-51-2531-0.


Supplementary Reading
Graphene - New Trends and Developments, edited by Farzad Ebrahimi, ISBN 978-953-51-2220-3.
Biosensors - Micro and Nanoscale Applications, edited by Toonika Rinken, ISBN 978-953-51-2173-2.
Application of Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, edited by Ali Demir Sezer, ISBN 978-953-51-1628-8.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 76.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jian Lu Unit coordinator

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