MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Textiles Technology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Functional Behaviour

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS23602
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 5
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit looks at the principals involved in the application of functional materials in electronic and optoelectronic devices, from their use in transistors to the energy storage devices that power them


The unit aims to:

  • Introduce the fundamentals and concepts of solid state physics required to understand the behaviour and device performance of functional materials.
  • Explain mechanisms of electrical and electronic behaviour of semiconductor materials.
  • Give the working principles and behaviours of basic semiconductor devices.
  • Give an overview of common energy storage and conversion devices, including the underlying principles of their operation.

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, electronic supporting information (Blackboard), peer-assisted study sessions (PASS).


Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic concepts of solid states physics, including: reciprocal space, Brillouin zone, E-k diagram, band structure, effective mass, and Fermi-Dirac equation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of a doped semiconductor and how these relate to common devices.
  • Describe the operation of pn junctions, diodes, bipolar transistors, MOSFETs, LEDs and lasers.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of forward and negative biasing and voltage breakdown.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of band structure in controlling the operation of pn junctions, diodes, bipolar transistors, MOSFETs, LEDs and lasers.
  • Describe how electrical biasing is used in pn junctions, diodes, bipolar transistors, MOSFETs, LEDs and lasers.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how electrical power is produced by a silicon based solar cell.
  • Understand the principles of electrochemical storage and understand how these relate to common devices.
  • Understand the principles of thermoelectric energy devices

Intellectual skills

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the effect of changing the chemistry and microstructure/architecture of a material on it properties

Practical skills

  • Simulate electrical circuit for three typical pn junction diode devices, under both forward bias and reverse bias conditions. Determine the threshold voltage, rectifying behaviour, and the underlying physical mechanism.
  • Simulate electrical circuit for two typical bipolar junction transistors in different modes. Determine the transistor characteristics, gain factors, and the underlying physical and device mechanism.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Convert word problems into equations and numerical answers.
  • Develop techniques for estimating the results from calculations.
  • Work effectively in a group to solve problems.
  • Compose simple technical reports on laboratory tests.
  • Show improved logical reasoning, problem solving and ability in applied mathematics.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Feedback methods

Written and verbal

Recommended reading

  • “Solid state electronic devices” Ben G. Streetman author. Sanjay Banerjee,  2016 ; Seventh edition (online access available )
  • Materials Science and Engineering - An Introduction”, W. D. Callister, D. G. Rethwisch, Pub. Wiley, 2010.
  • “Advanced Batteries: Materials Science Aspects”, R. Huggins, Pub. Springer, 2009

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 78

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Coskun Kocabas Unit coordinator

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