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PHY3049 : Advanced Characterisation Methods

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Elisabetta Arca
  • Lecturer: Dr Toby Hallam, Dr Paul Branch
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module is to develop an understanding of how properties of materials are measured experimentally. The course will help the students to contextualize concepts studied during previous solid-state physics modules in terms of their relevance to modern technologies and industrial settings.

Outline Of Syllabus

1 Vacuum Science

2 X-ray Spectroscopic methods: X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray Emission Spectroscopy (XES), X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS)

3 Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

4 Electron Microscopy techniques: Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM, TEM, EDS)

5 Clean room methods and device fabrication

6 Cryogenic and high field magnetic techniques

7 Photonics methods

8 Tutorial

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion351:0035:00Completion of in course assignment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00Formal lectures
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study451:0045:00Preparation time for lectures, background reading, coursework review
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods are appropriate to allow students to develop a wide range of skills, from understanding basic concepts and facts to higher-order thinking.

Lectures are used to explain the theory behind the measurement process, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work. Tutorials are designed to gain a practical understanding of the lectures’ materials and to guide the student to understand the complementarity and synergy between different techniques.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M80Individual students to write an essay on a technique of their choice with focus on its application in industrial settings. 3000 words
Prob solv exercises1M5Problem-solving exercises assessment
Prob solv exercises1M5Problem-solving exercises assessment
Prob solv exercises1M5Problem-solving exercises assessment
Prob solv exercises1M5Problem-solving exercises assessment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will enable the students to further develop their interests in a field of science, while gaining additional insights on the application of their studies in our society and economy. Due to completion in the second half of the semester.

The four assignments are small pieces of course work so that the students can engage with the different techniques presented and better their understanding of the subject-matter.

Reading Lists