PHY8004 : Advanced Sample Fabrication and Characterization Techniques

Semester 1 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 8.0


The aim of the module is to make students ready to carry out independent research in a laboratory, i.e. equip students with a framework for research project planning, recording, experimental design, and data management and interpretation to be applied as they progress to individual, specific research projects. The module has been designed to acquaint students with some key principles underlying good practice in physics research in laboratory settings.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Plan a sample fabrication run based on the chosen research project.
- Training on relevant fabrication techniques and sample fabrication based on chosen research project.
- Training on correct instrument use and data analysis of the following techniques:
1.       XRD analysis
2.       Raman spectroscopy
3.       AFM
4.       Electrical characterisation

- 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 completion361:0036:002,500 word publication-style report.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion24:008:00Preparation of health and safety assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading401:0040:00Follow-up on Techniques workshops
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading23:006:00Prepare experiment workflow and appropriate instrument bookings.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading401:0040:00Data analysis of obtained measurements.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops54:0020:00Health and safety and Techniques workshops
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Workshops provide the means of delivering to students the core information required to acquire the intended knowledge outcomes. Under the direct supervision of experienced laboratory users, such as current PhD students and/or technicians, the students will learn how to plan, book and execute experiments to a standard high enough to enable their publication in scientific journals.

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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1M25Assessment of student’s performance during the small group tutorials and student-led groups.
Written exercise1M75A scientific report summarising and reproducing the results of the research article, equivalent to 4000 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The preparation of a scientific-style report will test the student’s understanding of experimental techniques, their limits and the relevance and analysis of the results with respect to the fabricated samples.
The scientific report will summarise and reproduce the results of the research article, be constructed in LaTex and include data generated and plotted in Matlab.

Reading Lists