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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS2331 Nanophysics and Small Systems

10 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Dr Sally Peyman

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Elements of this course are highly mathematical and requires students to have taken Level One physics and maths (or equivalent).

Module replaces

PHYS 2330 Nanophysics and Nanotechnology

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

• Scaling laws and the limit of smallness• Bionanotechnology: Inspiration from Nature• Microfluidics: Reducing fluidic systems to the microscale• Nanoparticles: properties and applications• Carbon based Nanotechnology


Introduce students to the physics of small and miniaturised systems and how this drives future technology

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, you will be able to:
• Understand the fundamental concepts of miniaturisation and nanotechnology including the advantages of miniaturisation but also the limitations
• Appreciate the inspiration for many of our current technologies comes from Nature
• Understand how nano- and micro- scale materials differ from the bulk and how the properties of these interesting materials are being utilised
• Understand how the behaviour of matter, such as fluid flow, changes on the micro-scale
• Describe how the above concepts underpin many of the advancements in current technology

Skills outcomes
On completion the module you will be able to :
- Identify properties that emerge on the nanoscale;
- Explain the quantum nature of matter and its macroscopic realization;
- Describe experimental approaches to nanofabrication (bottom-up and top-down);
- Discuss in an informed way the current possibilities and limitation of nanotechnology.


This module explores physics on the nano- and micro-scale and how these behaviours help advance technology. Some of the most advance technology we have today have been made possible by miniaturisation and by inspiration from the natural world, however there are limits to how small we can go. This module explores how physical laws and behaviours change when systems are miniaturised to the microscale and nanoscale and how some of our most advanced technology are based on these principles.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours73.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)95.00

Private study

- Reading lecture notes and books
- Solving problems.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Online AssessmentOnline Mid-Term Assessment20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Students will have to complete an online assessment at the end of the module. This will take place during the examinations period at the end of the semester and will be time bound.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 12/07/2021 13:47:39


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