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MAS8009 : Advanced Experimental Research Sklls (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Aleksey Kozikov
  • Lecturer: Dr Toby Hallam
  • Technician: Mrs Andrea Dawson
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 25
ECTS Credits: 13.0


The aim of the module is to acquaint students with some key principles underlying good practice in physics research in laboratory settings, including how to work safely in a “fabrication lab” environment and how to complete risk assessments. The students will also learn how to prepare advanced semiconductor devices, how to characterise them, analyse data and write a scientific-style report.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Cleanroom induction
- Health & Safety and cryogenic training
- Introduction to risk assessment of both equipment and chemicals
- Training on general equipment components and their working principles
- Training on correct instrument use and data analysis. Examples of potential tools to be used
include XRD, Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopy, AFM and electrical
- Full characterisation on prepared samples and analysis of results

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion61:006:00Preparation of Health & Safety assessment including risk assessment and COSHH forms
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:00Preparation and completion of scientific report based on samples fabricated
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00Preparation of written assessments (scientific-style report)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical102:0020:00Sample fabrication course
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading481:0048:00Follow-up on instrument working principles and characterisation techniques
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading401:0040:00Data analysis of obtained measurements
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Cryogenics training and Health & Safety
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Chemical safety (COSHH) and risk assessments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops45:0020:00Characterisation techniques (incl. Health & Safety briefing)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study61:006:00Preparation for Health & Safety oral assessment
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Small group teaching provides the means of delivering to students the core information required to acquire the intended knowledge outcomes. Cryogenics training and general health & safety will be covered.

The workshops will discuss risk assessment, COSHH forms and how to complete them followed by measurements instrument training.

In the practical sessions, our cleanroom technician will show the students the safety features of the cleanroom, teach the working principles behind the most common instruments in the clean room and how to operate them safely, go through the whole fabrication procedure, which can include wafer cleaning, doping, photolithography, electrode deposition, etching, etc. They will be followed by metrology training including, for example, profilometry, microscopy, probe station or curve tracer, which will cement their knowledge of working principles of semiconductor devices.

Students will fabricate a sample relevant to their research project and then characterise it using the techniques taught as part of the workshops, enabling a “learning by doing” approach where they learn the intricacies of modern characterisation techniques and learn to interpret the results based on their own samples. This will promote a deep understanding and appreciation of modern characterisation tools enabling the students to hit the ground running when they begin their own research project in semester two.

The project supervisor will promote critical thinking and reflection as they undertake active learning on the preparation of their scientific report, leading to a manuscript of a high enough quality to be published in a scientific journal. Self-study will allow the student to deepen their expertise with experimental tools.

Assessments will take place at the end of the module.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Examination301A50Oral assessment on the Health & Safety aspects of the project.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M50Preparation of scientific-style report on advanced semiconductor device fabrication, sample characterisation and data analysis.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The risk assessment and COSHH forms will test the student’s ability to critically evaluate the risks of working in a laboratory setting. The oral assessment will ensure that the students are aware of the risks related to completing their project, know the standard operating protocol of all instruments used and test their knowledge on Health & Safety protocols. Students will be asked questions on various aspects of H&S and their answers will be assessed. Students will also need to write risk assessments and COSHH forms in a hypothetical situation using internet and help from module contributors, memorising the answers and getting assessed orally.

By preparing a scientific report based on the device fabrication, characterisation and data analysis, we will assess the student’s understanding of advanced semiconductor devices, experimental techniques, their limits and the relevance and analysis of the results with respect to the fabricated samples. The report should include advanced semiconductor device fabrication, characterisation based on one technique out of four taught ones and data analysis. The technique will be told after the completion of all corresponding workshops. The report should be between 4 and 5 pages (including appendices and references) and include abstract, introduction, main activities outlined in this module description, conclusions, 2-4 figures.

Reading Lists