Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


Students will investigate different methods and technologies employed in materials characterisation, including diffraction, microscopy, spectroscopy and chromatography. Each technique will be explored in terms of its applicability and suitability for different characterisation tasks. Students will develop hands-on experience with characterisation equipment, while becoming familiar with safe working practices in a laboratory environment.



  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Work safely and professionally in a laboratory environment.

2. Explain the scientific principles underpinning technologies and techniques used in nanomaterials characterisation.

3. Plan, organise and deliver a short oral presentation to explain complex information to an audience with low scientific literacy.

4. Apply crystallography, electron microscopy, and spectroscopy techniques for obtaining the phase information, composition and structure of materials.

5. Integrate scientific literature and laboratory findings to select optimal material characterisation equipment for given characterisation problem.


  1. Electron and neutron diffractions
  2. Electron microscopy (Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM))
  3. Spectroscopy (Fourier transformation-infrared spectroscopy, Raman, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS),  Ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, Soft and hard X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS))
  4. Chromatography (Liquid chromatography and gas chromatography)
  5. Other analysis technique (Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR),  Thermal gravity analysis- differential scanning calorimetry (TGA-DSC),  Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP) and temperature programmed desorption (TPD), etc.)
  6. Writing for effective communication and impact 

Assumed knowledge

Fundamental knowledge of Physics or Chemistry.

Assessment items

Quiz: Professionalism in a laboratory environment

Presentation: The science of material characterisation technologies

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Quantifying material properties

Written Assignment: The guidelines of Equipment Selection, Operation and Characterisation

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.