BSc Materials Science and Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS32702
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Summer semester
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit looks at the properties, production and application of low dimensional materials 


The unit aims to:

  • Demonstrate the importance of control of structure on the nanoscale in bioinspired nanomaterials and device nanotechnology;
  • Understand low dimensional materials, including the concept of dimensionality and its effect on a material’s properties illustrated by examples of common nanomaterials and their applications;
  • Explain the concepts of top-down and bottom-up production of nanomaterials, with detailed illustrations of synthesis routes with a focus on subsequent applications.


Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:
  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, group tutorials (problem sessions), recommended textbooks, web resources, past exam papers, poster presentation, electronic supporting information (Blackboard).


Knowledge and understanding

a)      Describe   how a material's  properties   change   as   its dimensions are reduced to the nanoscale.

b)      Demonstrate how self-assembly can be directed and explain how biology controls crystallisation.

c)      Explain how different nanomaterials may be arranged to form functional devices e.g. transistors and LEDs.

d)      Describe and choose appropriate nanomaterial production methods (e.g. PVD, CVD, FIB, exfoliation etc.) for a given application.

e)      Demonstrate   an awareness  of the   socio-economic implications of low dimensional materials.

f)       Understand that length scale, morphology and functional group chemistry may change toxicity of materials and consider environmental impact  of nanomaterials.


Intellectual skills

a)      Explain how biology matches crystal form to function at the nanoscale, and understand the role of proteins in controlling biomineralisation pathways.

b)      Give descriptive examples of nanotechnology applications, including routes to making such materials for these devices as well as characterisation and testing.


Practical skills

a)      Perform simple calculations and statistical analysis to process data and quantify variables, errors etc.

b)      Solve problems relating to the application of nanomaterials.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

a)      Apply knowledge gained to critically assess a research paper and present this in the form of a poster.

b)      Work effectively in a group to solve problems.

c)      Solve problems utilising appropriate methods.

d)      Communicate reliably and effectively.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 10%
Set exercise 20%

Feedback methods

Written and verbal.

Recommended reading

  • Textbook of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, B.S Murty, Springer, ISBN: 978-3-642-28030-6
  • Handbook of Nanomaterials Properties, B. Bhushan, Springer, ISBN: 978-3-642-31107-9
  • RL Johnston:  Atomic and Molecular Clusters, Taylor and Francis , London, 2002     ISBN 0748409319
  • James J. De Yoreo et al  Principles of Crystal Nucleation and Growth; DOI: 10.2113/0540057
  • Chem Rev special issue on Biomineralisation;
  • Nanotechnology: Priciples and Practices:  S. K. Kulkarni. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-09171-6
  • “Nanochemistry: A Chemical Approach to Nanomaterials”, G.A. Ozinand A. Arsenault, Taylor and Francis
  • Self-assembly and transformation of hybrid nano-objects and nanostructures under equilibrium and non-equilibrium conditions. Stephen Mann, Nature Materials , 2009.
  • Selection of scientific articles available on Blackboard

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mark Bissett Unit coordinator

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