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MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Polymers

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Graphene & Nanomaterials

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS44202
Credit rating 15
Unit level Level 7
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


Nanomaterials are an important class of transformative materials that are used in a range of applications from smart phones to solar energy.


This unit covers advanced topics in nanotech. Its aim is to prepare students for nanomaterials careers using research-focused teaching approach thus improving student employability in academia and industry by: Engendering an appreciation of wider aspects of nanomaterials as a field using research-based examples. Equipping students with a synthetic tool kit for careers in nanoscience. Delivering an appreciation of the potential socio-economic impact of nanotechnology. Delivering an appreciation of health and safety and environmental concerns regarding the widespread adoption of nanotechnology.

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, self- teaching worked examples, past exam papers, electronic supporting information (Blackboard).


Knowledge and understanding

  • Propose and justify synthetic routes toward nanomaterials (excluding lithography, which is covered in Y3).
  • Describe physical characterisation techniques applied to nanomaterials – based on literature case studies.
  • Discuss the various classes of nanomaterials by dimensionality and their applications based on nanoscale properties.
  • Appraise the use of nanomaterials as probes in medical applications (therapeutic, diagnostic). Have an appreciation of multimodal and theranostic nanomaterials that combine advanced functionalities.
  • Have an appreciation of other nanomaterials including MOFs and molecular machines and explain why they are of interest in terms of their applications.
  • Describe the main features of graphene as a nanomaterial and evaluate applications of the material in opto-electronics, composites and any other application discussed.
  • Describe the main features of two-dimensional semiconductors and be able to justify their use as a complementary technology to graphene.
  • Assess the main routes towards assembly of nnomaterials into macroscale objects via such routes as aerogels and supramolecular assembly.
  • Compare and contrast the major characterisation techniques used in nanomaterials research (including EM, SPM, and spectroscopy) and justify their choice based on the data that each technique provides.
  • Assess the disruptive effects of nanotechnology and socio-economic benefits and hazards of widespread adoption and deployment.
  • Summarize current research directions in nanotechnology as well as propose suggestions for future research directions.

Intellectual skills

  • Appraise general top-down and bottom-up strategies toward nanomaterials. 
  • Select and justify appropriate synthesis for any given material type and application.
  • Be given a nanomaterial and propose experimental techniques to characterise it, or an aspect of it, to publication standard with a discussion of what information can be gained from each experiment.
  • Discuss types of materials that are currently being investigated in nanoscience and what applications they could be used for based on appraisal of their scale-dependant properties.


Practical skills

  • Be able to carry out simple experiments in nanomaterials or write up a nano science report after being given authentic lab data.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Solve numerical problems.
  • Work as part of a team.
  • Write concise and relevant reports in an appropriate format.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written exam 70%

Feedback methods

Feedback given (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 “Nanochemistry: A Chemical Approach to Nanomaterials”, G.A. Ozinand A. Arsenault, Taylor and Francis Nanotechnology: principles and Practice (3rd Edn),DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-09171-6__1

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Lewis Unit coordinator

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