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Unit information: Advanced Tools for Nanoscience in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Advanced Tools for Nanoscience
Unit code PHYSM3401
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Lindsay
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


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School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science

Unit Information

This is a mandatory 20 cp unit of the 180 cp MRes programme in Functional Nanomaterials, and of the MSc in Nanoscience and Functional Nanomaterials. It will cover the practical techniques used in the field of Functional Nanomaterials: composition, characterisation and construction. The topics covered will include Advanced NMR Spectroscopy, Electron Microscopy and associated techniques, Mass Spectrometry, Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy, Photonics for Nanoscience, Optical Trapping and Dynamic Assembly, and New Characterisation Techniques in Nanoscience. This unit is designed to support the practical research aspects of the training, and as such will be a mixture of workshop-style teaching, seminars, and hands-on sessions on relevant research equipment, underpinned by the BCFN Portal online modules.

Aims The unit will provide the practical training in techniques relevant to the field of Functional Nanomaterials. It will equip the students with the practical skill sets necessary to perform research projects.

Your learning on this unit

The students will be able to:

  • operate key pieces of technical equipment
  • appreciate the most appropriate techniques required to analyse and characterise particular functional nanomaterials
  • design practical experiments as components of research projects

How you will learn

Demonstrations, seminars, BCFN Portal online modules, lectures and practical hands-on sessions

How you will be assessed

Formative assessment will take place during the completion of the constituent online modules of the Advanced Tools unit. Each student will complete at least 14 of the modules. Each module requires completion of online tasks which are designed to assess understanding and knowledge, and which provide prompt feedback. On completion of the full set of modules, the summative assessment for this unit will comprise a 3000 word essay (100% of the assessment), chosen from a set of questions based on the online modules.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHYSM3401).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.