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Module ICE-4321:
Nano-Elec & High-Speed Design

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

20 Credits or 10 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.

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.


Equivalent to 50%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.

Learning outcomes

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

  2. Understand the practical problems of NMT and MNT

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

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

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Microfluidics 25
Assignment 1 25
Organics 25
Assignment 2 25

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Traditional lecture (2 hrs x 12 weeks)

Laboratory 2
Private study 174

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • 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
  • 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;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of electronic engineering in an international context;
  • 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