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Course Profile

Special Topics in Nanoscience

The objective of this module is to introduce students to nanoscience and nanotechnology; particularly nanoelectronics, nanophotonics and nanobiomaterials. The aims of the course are to demonstrate the basic principles of size effects in materials in the micro to nano - scale and how they impact on a range of phenomena, applications and uses and to introduce the scientific importance and technological potential of developments in micro- and nano structuring of materials.

This module will be taken by students on the Science and Engineering structured PhD. programme and offered to the national structured PhD programme in nanoscience and
nanotechnology, INSPIRE. The students will be required to work in groups to arrive at solutions to problems posed thus developing their collaborative skills. Students will be presented with questions on the topics presented in the lectures and asked to prepare responses to these questions to the whole class. The module will develop the students' articulation skills and competence in conveying ideas clearly, effectively and professionally to their peers and examiners as part of the assessment process.

Project work will entail writing a 4 page description of their PhD project, prepared in the context of the material presented in the module. This demonstrate high levels of competence, knowledge and critical thinking within their own areas of expertise and research topic. Each student will present a 15 minute seminar to the full class further developing articulation skills.
It is expected that the module will lead to the development of new knowledge and skills and delivering findings at the frontiers of knowledge and application.


Nanomaterials synthesis and characterisation

  • Size dependence of properties
  • Introduction to microscopy and spectroscopic methods of measurement at the nanoscale
  • Aapplications of nanomaterials and devices



  • review of fundamentals;
  • historical perspective;
  • fabrication of nanoelectronic devices;
  • application of nanoelectronics;
  • quantum effects.



  • General introduction;
  • review of fundamentals of lasers;
  • optical devices; 
  • historical overview
  • Description of light as an electromagnetic wave
  • Introduction of the quantum aspect of light
  • Definition of photon
  • Overview of active materials bulk; quantum well; wire dot and quantum dot
  • Fabrication of photonic devices; quantum dot materials



  • Review of fundamental properties of cells, amino acids, polypeptides, proteins, DNA/RNA;
  • hierarchial organisation in biological systems;
  • Interface between biological and nonbiological entities at the nanoscale;
  • Biosensors and biocatalysts
  • Medical devices and drug delivery ; nanotechnology for environmental, health and safety
  • Commercialisation and Exploitation of nanoscience and nanotechnology


Course Outcomes

 On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  1.  Outline the theoretical concepts behind nanoelectronics, nanophotonics and nanobiomaterials.
  2.  Discuss the fabrication processes for nanoelectronics, nanophotonics and nanobiomaterials.
  3.  Describe the application potential for nanoelectronics, nanophotonics and nanobio devices.
  4.  Outline commercialisation potential in nanoscience and nanotechnology applications.

Delivery Information

5 days of Lectures (to be delivered in a block session over five days with 22 lecturer/presentations and 3 practical sessions).

Assessment Information

Oral presentation and report. 

Examination Information

Continuous Assessment and full session attendance.
Starting : December 2014
Location : National University of Ireland, Galway
Category : Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Schedule : 5 days of Lectures (to be delivered in a block session over five days with 22 lecturer/presentations and 3 practical sessions)
Workload : 5 days continuous lectures including practical sessions
Weighting : 5 ECTS

Accrediting Institution(s)

University College Cork
College Road, Cork, Ireland
National University of Ireland, Galway
University Road, Galway, Ireland.

Course Instructor

Prof. Jim Greer
Head of Graduate Studies, Tyndall

Course Provider(s)