Module code: EEE3037

Module Overview

Expected prior learning:  Students should have an interest in materials and devices

Module purpose:  Nanotechnology promises new strong and light materials, faster electronic devices which consume less energy and have enhanced functionality. Nanotechnology and nanomaterials are everywhere; it is on the nanometer scale that many of the well-known descriptions and properties of materials breakdown and where an understanding of quantum effects becomes vital.  New materials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes with outstanding physical and electronic properties have emerged. This module will introduce quantum engineering and new nanomaterials as well as showing how developments have led to unprecedented ability to see and manipulate atoms and materials on the nanoscale. The module builds upon prior study of electronic materials delivered in Year 2 of the undergraduate programme such as EEE2040 Electronic and Photonics Devices, EEE2045 Electrical Science II. This module facilitates future advanced master level leaning in advanced and modern electronic materials and devices such as in module EEEM022 Nanoelectronics and Devices.

Module provider

Computer Science and Electronic Eng

Module Leader

CAREY David (CS & EE)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 91

Lecture Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 27

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes the following.

1. Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering

  • Introduction to nanotechnology, nanotechnology in society and current issues.

  • Quantum Engineering: The quantum nature of matter and wave-particle duality.

  • The Schrödinger Equation, wavefunctions, probability and probability density; Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

  • Quantum confinement and ‘particle-in-a-box’ type problems.

  • Reflection and transmission coefficients for potential step and square barriers.

  • Quantum tunnelling and transmission coefficients

  • Field emission and associated technology    

2. Nanomaterials: Growth and Characteristics

  • Length scales, importance of surface area-to-volume ratio for nanomaterials. Top-down and bottom-up approaches to nanotechnology.

  • Properties of selected nanomaterials, including 2D van der Waals materials including graphene, bilayer graphene, 1D nanowires including carbon nanotubes, nanometals and selected surfaces structures.

  • Growth of graphene (CVD, liquid phase exfoliation and sonication, mechanical exfoliation) and evaluation of properties

  • Nanomaterial standards and ethical considerations

  • Surface free energy considerations in the growth of nanomaterials (including Frank-van der Merwe, Volmer-Weber, Stranski–Krastanov growth modes)

  • Homogenous and heterogeneous nucleation of nanomaterials, 

  • Self-assembly of nanomaterials and micelle formation.

3. Tools of Nanotechnology

  • Scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy of nanomaterials.

  • Atomic and molecular manipulation – including lateral manipulation and 2D quantum corrals and tip induced effects

  • Interaction of electrons with matter: resonant and non-resonant interactions, plasmons and other excitations.

  • Introduction to electron microscopy: image formation and available signals, diffraction and diffractograms.

  • Crystal lattices: planes and orientations in space, Miller indices.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 20
Examination Online 4HR ONLINE (OPEN BOOK) EXAM 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy for this module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate the learning outcomes. A four-hour written examination paper will assess knowledge of fundamental quantum and material properties and allow the student to demonstrate an ability to perform numerical calculations of key material parameters. The assignment will assess the student’s ability to research into the scientific literature properties and applications of new materials on a topic of their choice.  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of the following:

·         One written assignment covering aspects associated with new materials and problem solving (worth 20% of the module).  The assignment is usually set in week 2 and is usually due week 7.

·        One 4-hour, open book written examination (worth 80% of the module) 

 Any deadline given here is indicative. For confirmation of exact date and time, please check the Departmental assessment calendar issued to you.


Formative assessment and feedback

For the module, students will receive formative assessment/feedback in the following ways.

·         During lectures, by question and answer sessions

·         During timetabled problem tutorial classes and their own study using the model solutions.

·         Via assessed coursework and feedback


Module aims

  • This module will equip students with an understanding of the science and engineering considerations that take place on the nanometer scale as well as developing an appreciation of the current status of, and future prospects for, nanotechnology. The module will show how quantum effects control many of the properties of materials and how the properties of new nanomaterials can be assessed using a range of techniques. 
  • The module also aims to provide opportunities for students to learn about the Surrey Pillars listed below.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Calculate and describe how the properties of materials depend upon the size of the material when quantum effects are considered. KPT C1, C16
002 Analyse and interpret data associated with the experimental characteristics of nanomaterials. KCPT C2, C4
003 Discuss the role of the sustainable growth and applications and risks of nanomaterials in society CPT C7, C8, C16, C17
004 Analyze and interpret data of experimental characteristics of modern nanomaterials. KC C13

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to achieve the following aims.


  1. Through the introduction of the key concepts, representative examples and selected case studies of nanomaterials, the students will be able to calculate and relate the observed properties of materials when quantum effects are considered

  2. Through the introduction and discussion of different nanomaterials, students will be able to calculate some of the key properties of new materials.

  3. Through the use of revision questions with full solutions, student will be able to pace their own learning in parallel with the lecture course

Learning and teaching methods include the following.

Lectures where key concepts will be introduced, and students will learn about how fundamental concepts can be the cornerstone of the next generation of nanomaterials and nanotechnology.

  • Case study of selected growth of important nanomaterials

  • Problem classes with full sample solutions to allow the students to pace their learning at the pace they are comfortable with.

  • Revision sessions of past examination papers; students will be encouraged to attempt the examination papers in advance and compare their answers with the model solution

  • Individual assignment where students will be able to research into a nanomaterial of their choice and report in written form some of its selected properties.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: EEE3037

Other information

The module shows how nanotechnology can be part of sustainability agenda via student's exploration of how nanomaterials can be used in sustainable energy (UNSDG no.7) as well as discussion of the sustainable growth and application of nanomaterials in society via carefully selected case studies which showcase how the final structural and electronic properties of selected materials can be engineered.

The module provides ample opportunity for students to demonstrate their mastery of advanced calculations which will aid the student’s employability as the student will be able to call upon examples of where they have performed calculations, discussed the approach taken and also the assumptions used in their calculation.

Students’ resourcefulness and resilience will be enhanced as the they will need to think critically and exercise engineering judgment in the underlying assumptions they would need to employ in advanced calculations and identify the limitations of those assumptions. This will also apply to the interpretation of nanomaterial characteristics using the various tools of nanotechnology.

The student’s digital capabilities will be enhanced via the student’s use of modelling software to solve advanced calculations in the properties of nanomaterials, especially properties associated with quantum confinement.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.