The NanoScience and NanoMaterials Curriculum


The Nanotechnology Center offers a sequence of courses intended to prepare the beginning graduate student or advanced undergrad for research. The curriculum’s focus is on the characterization and analysis of “exotic and nano” materials systems. All but the MPEM and Kinetics courses are taught with a lab component. The registration numbers all come under the 391/691 and 392/692 “advanced topics” designations - you must look for the title when registering. The courses are taught at the Deacon Blvd. Nanotech Center. Contact Dr. Carroll for availability and times.

PHYS 391/691 - Advanced Imaging I - Electron Microscopy (1.5 hours)

An introductory course covering basic microscope design, setup, and alignment.  Imaging modes: Z-contrast, Dark-field, bright-field, and HRTEM together with diffraction methods are covered.  The course is accompanied by a set of lab exercises. 

PHYS 392/692 - Advanced Imaging II - Scanning Probes (1.5 hours)

This introductory course in scanning probes will focus on atomic force microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy.  Spectroscopic techniques will be discussed.  This course has a lab component.

PHYS 391/691 - Materials Physics and Exotic Materials I (1.5 hours)

An advanced and rigorous introduction solid state systems based on dimensionality, symmetry and scale. Thermal properties, electronic structure and basic transport properties of solids will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be given to principles of interaction physics. pre/co-requisites are mechanics, E&M, and quantum.

PHYS 392/692 - Materials Physics and Exotic Materials II (1.5 hours)

A continuation of MPEM I. Again focusing on dimensionality, symmetry and scale, this course introduces more advanced concepts to be found in the study of exotic materials systems such as topological insulators, spin systems, and systems with strong correlation. Pre-requisite is MPEM I.

PHYS 691 (fall) - Surface Analysis (1.5 hours)

An introductory course on laboratory surface analysis techniques.  Basic vacuum technique, Auger, XPS/UPS, SIMS, LEED, and RBS is covered together with depth profiling and chemical bonding analysis.  EXAFS and EELS will also be introduced.  This course has a lab associated with it.


PHYS 391/691 - Kinetics (1.5 hours) 

A follow on course to standard thermodynamics focusing on kinetics of phase formation, film formation, stability and mixtures. pre-req. thermodynamics.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. frequently attributed to Benjamin Franklin

About Taking Courses at Nanotech

Teaching/Learning at the Nanotech Center focuses on experience and engagement. Most of our courses have some sort of lab with them and the lectures are “engagement centered.”  There are some lectures, workshops with guest speakers, and homework of course.  However, much of the teaching is based around project oriented lessons and covers a great deal of information in a short time.  By necessity class sizes are strictly limited and a lot is expected of students outside of class.