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The University of Southampton

PHYS2031 Introduction to the Nanoworld

Module Overview

The module will convey concepts and ideas involved in NanoScience and NanoTechnology to a broad range of physical scientists. The course is intended to provide a guide to the ideas and physical concepts that allow an understanding of the changes that occur as the size scale shrinks toward the atomic scale. Because the field is extremely interdisciplinary, the course will mainly introduce many pervasive concepts such as how to measure on the nanometer scale. A critical theme is the modification of properties by controlling electrons. The course will also discuss approaches and responses to public and media scrutiny of NanoScience.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • To understand how physical phenomena are different on the nanoscale.
  • To understand how nanoscale objects can be probed and visualised.
  • To understand how the properties of nano-objects depend on confining electron waves, and how this can be exploited.
  • To understand how NanoScience and NanoTechnology interact with society in a wider context.


- Length and Energy scales, Microscopic vs. Macroscopic vs Molecular machines - Visualising at the Nanoscale, Microscopy with waves (optical, electron), Microscopy by scanning (tunnelling, force) - Intro to wave equation, Confining electrons, Quantum Devices, Harnessing Wave/Particle - Duality - Brownian motion, light scattering - Nanoparticles & Nanostructures, Nano-magnetism - Nano & Society

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be primarily by delivered lectures and multiple choice problems assigned in class (via meetoo).

Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Wider reading or practice52.5
Completion of assessment task15.5
Follow-up work18
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 25%
Final Assessment  75%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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