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The University of Southampton

ELEC6208 Bio/Micro/Nano Systems

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to provide an overview of a range of biomolecular, microscale and nanoscale systems and devices, including sensors. The module consists of practical work on three different systems, involving construction and characterisation with a variety of methodologies, and is supported by lectures. The assessment is in the form of three laboratory reports. The semester 1 module ELEC6203 Microsensor Technologies is a prerequisite for ELEC6208.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to provide an overview of the emerging Micro-system-technology (MST) and its applications.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Key features of a range of bio/micro/nano systems
  • Electrical and optical characterisation of such systems
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explaining the working principle of several classes of bio/micro/nano systems
  • Define characterisation strategies for such systems
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Structure and write technical reports
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Package and evaluate a piezoelectric sensor
  • Characterise a nanoresonator system
  • Perform measurements with an enzymatic biosensor


Piezo/capacitive systems - Thick-film and piezoelectric systems - Sensor actuators - Piezoresistive and Capacitive sensing - Pressure sensors - Accelerometers - Gyroscopes Nanoscale systems - Nano Electro Mechanical Systems - Nanotube and nanowire devices - Nano resonators Biomolecular devices - Optical - Mechanical - Electrical Laboratory - Packaging and characterisation of piezoelectric sensor - Nanoresonator characterisation - Enzymatic glucose sensors

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures to explain concepts and 8-9 supervised laboratory sessions to deepen understanding of selected concepts and methodology and to gain practical skills. Also several tutorial sessions to support the lectures and the labs and to help to prepare the laboratory reports. Note that a laboratory report will not be marked if the student has not attended the associated laboratory sessions.

Preparation for scheduled sessions16
Completion of assessment task50
Supervised time in studio/workshop18
Follow-up work16
Wider reading or practice20
Total study time153

Resources & Reading list

Hames D and Hooper NM (2011). Biochemistry (BIOS Instant Notes series), 4th Ed.. 

Gaura, E (2006). Smart MEMS and Sensor Systems. 

Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

Eggins BR (2002). Chemical Sensors and Biosensors. 

Kaajakari V (2009). Practical MEMS: Design of microsystems, accelerometers, gyroscopes, RF MEMS, optical MEMS, and microfluidic systems. 

Sensors and Actuators A: Physical.

Khanna VK (2011). Nanosensors: physical, chemical, and biological. 

Comprehensive lecture notes will be provided. 

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems.

Hector de Los Santos (2004). Introduction to Microelectromechanical Microwave Systems. 

Biosensors and Modern Biospecific Analytical Techniques.

Senturia, S.D (2001). Microsystem Design. 

Maluf N and Williams K (2004). An Introduction to Microelectromechanical Systems Engineering. 

Pethig RR and Smith S (2012). Introductory Bioelectronics: for Engineers and Physical Scientists. 

Kovacs GTA (1998). Micromachined Transducers Sourcebook. 


Assessment Strategy

A lab report will not be marked if the student has not attended the corresponding lab sessions. Laboratory sessions are scheduled in the labs on level 2 of the Zepler building and in B85 Length of each session: 3 hours Number of sessions completed by each student: 5 Max number of students per session: 40 Demonstrator:student ratio: 1:8 Preferred teaching weeks: 8


MethodPercentage contribution
Accelerometer Lab Report 40%
Glucose Sensor Lab Report 30%
Nanoresonator Lab Report 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: ELEC6203

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