Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Nanomaterials lies at the heart of all modern technology, from solar cells and sun screen to drug delivery. Nanotechnology relies on the fundamental changes to the physical properties that occur for structures on nanometre length scales, where quantum confinement becomes important. A large range of technological challenges will be resolved in the future with nanomaterials applications. Semiconductor physics provides a pathway to manipulate and design devices from micro to nano scales. In this course, students will build on their prior learning in quantum mechanics and solid state physics and then apply these concepts to the fields of device physics and nanotechnology.



  • Semester 2 - 2022

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): PHYS3390. Students who have successfully completed PHYS3390 are not eligible to enrol in PHYS3212.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Apply quantum and solid state physics principles to describe and explain the properties of materials, microelectronic devices and nanostructured materials.

2. Solve qualitative and quantitative problems, using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques.

3. Perform experiments which involve a range of scientific equipment, such as atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and computer simulations, keeping an accurate record of experimental work and analysing results and reaching proper conclusions from them.

4. Communicate, evaluate, and synthesise the results of both theoretical and experimental work in various forms including written reports, oral presentations and poster presentations.

5. Collaborate effectively with team members in investigations and for the process of learning.


  • Advanced solid state physics
    • Crystal structures
    • Real and reciprocal space
    • Phonons and thermal properties of materials
    • Molecular orbitals
    • Band structures and electronic and optical properties.
  • Device physics
    • Semiconductor theory
    • Semiconductors and photonics
    • Single and multiple junction semiconductor devices
    • Device applications
  • Nanotechnology
    • The physics of quantum confined systems such as quantum wells, wires and dots
    • 2D materials such as graphene, fullerenes and nanotubes
    • Plasmonics
    • Magnetic nanoparticles and their technological applications


Students must have successfully completed MATH2310 and either PHYS2211 or PHYS2170 to enrol in this course. If you have successfully completed PHYS3990, you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

PHYS3211 or PHYS3350

Assessment items

Quiz: Weekly Quizzes

In Term Test: In Term Tests

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial/Laboratory Exercises

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term starting in week 1

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.