Module IES-4101:
Intr to Nano& Micro Technology

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

15 Credits or 7.5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Paul Sayers

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to provide an introductory background to the subjects of nanotechnology and microsystems technology (NMT). The module will provide an overview of the development of the subjects and introduce topics of microfabrication and scanning probe techniques. The module will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of nanotechnology and microsystems technology in a range of application area. Current and future business prospects and markets will be discussed along with current exploitation routes and the requirement for economic manufacturing routes.

Course content

• Define NMT and stress its important. Trends in microelectronics, IT and telecommunications. Moores Law outstripped, NMT roadmap • Technical descriptions of the STM and SFM, accompanied by hands-on sessions in the Surface Analysis Laboratory • Application areas. Optics, Chemistry, Robotics, Sensors, Biotech, Biochem, Medicine, IT, Mechanical Eng, Environment, aerospace, automotive. • The ‘Scale of Things’; Microfluidic systems characterized by Dimensionless Parameters • Practical problems of NMT and MNT – Heat generation and dispersal. Making contact to the real world.

Learning outcomes mapped to assessment criteria







Understand and explain the background, development and application of NMT and their evolution from current high-tech businesses.

State definitions for NMT. State advantages and disadvantages of NMT and the application areas. List trends in microelectronics, IT and telecommunications. Explore problems in the implementation of NMT and MNT State and explain definitions for NMT, Explain trends in microelectronics, IT and telecommunications. Discuss and explain potential problems of the implementation of NMT and MNT Explain with examples definitions of NMT, Explain with examples trends in microelectronics, IT and telecomm. Discuss and explain potential problems of NMT and MNT extend this to potential solutions.

Understand and explain the technical and operating principles of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and scanning force microscope (SFM).

State a range of scanning probe microscopies. List application areas. Explain a range of scanning probe microscopies. Explain application areas. Explain in detail a range of scanning probe microscopies. Explain with reasoning choices of application areas.

Understand the practical problems of NMT and MN

State a range of practical problems. Show that they are understood on the physical level. Suggest well thought through practical solutions to these problems

Understand and explain the units of measure in nano- and micro-systems.

State how the physical characteristics of microfluidic systems are governed by dimensionless parameters. Understand how physical effects change with the scale of micro-systems. Apply non-dimensional parameters to practical microfluidic problems.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Written assignment 25
Written assignment 25
In-class Test 1 25
In-class Test 2 25

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Laboratory 2
Private study 124

Delivered over three week


Transferable skills

  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Identify emerging technologies and technology trends;
  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Formulate and analyse requirements and practical constraints of products, processes and services, place them in an engineering context and manage their implementation;
  • Communicate proposals persuasively and respond positively to feedback;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of current advances and contemporary approaches in the discipline and have strategies for keeping that awareness current;
  • Have an appreciation of moral, ethical, financial and environmental issues that may need to be considered when practicing as an engineer.¬†

Courses including this module