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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PH3-MAT
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: DALTON A Dr (Physics)
Number of credits: 10 Number of ECTS credits: 5
Module Availability

Module Availability:


Semester 1


Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)






Examination (End of Semester)




Qualifying Condition(s) 


University general regulations refer.



Module Overview

In 1959 Richard Feynman gave his now classic talk entitled “There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom” discussing the many possibilities of manipulating matter at the nanoscale. However, it has only been in the last two decades with the advent of new experimental techniques and the rapid advances in performance of more established techniques that has allowed us to “see” matter at the nanoscale which of course is an obvious precursor to manipulation!  Techniques such as electron microscopy and scanning probe microscopy provide the modern scientist with the tools to probe matter at the atomic and molecular level with unsurpassed resolution. Our aim will be to introduce several of the most important analytical techniques used in the physics laboratory today and discuss some of there applications in areas where physicists are playing an increasingly important role such as cell biology and semiconductor device engineering.





Module Aims

To introduce the student to a range of modern analytical techniques used in research laboratories to analyse matter.


Learning Outcomes

The students should understand the key concepts of and physical principles behind selected experimental methods and gain competence in interpretation of the obtained experimental evidence and knowledge of the equipment constructions used in various experimental methods for investigating and characterising matter.


Module Content

The module covers the basic physical mechanisms of the interaction between solid matter and electromagnetic radiation, electrons and ions. In addition the principles and usage of microprobes, electron spectroscopy techniques (AES and XPS), x-ray diffraction, electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), light optical microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and ellipsometry will be described.


Methods of Teaching/Learning

24 hours of lectures and tutorial classes.


Selected Texts/Journals

Module handouts.


Selected portions of specialised texts as specified in lectures.


Last Updated

August 2010.