Topics in Functional Materials - PS604

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn and Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR G Mountjoy checkmark-circle


Chemists and physicists are now playing an important role in the growing field of materials research. More recently, there has been a growing interest, driven by technological needs, in materials with specific functions and this requires a combination of physics and chemistry. For example, new materials are needed for the optics and electronics industry (glasses and semiconductors). The aim of this module is to introduce students to this area of modern materials and associated techniques. Examples of the topics that might typically be covered are: Crystals and crystallography; Molecular materials; Glasses; Magnetism and Magnetic Materials; Multiferroics; X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS).


Contact hours

This module is expected to occupy 150 total study hours, including contact hours.


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Examination 80% and coursework 20% (comprising of 3 separate assessments).

Indicative reading

  • Anthony R. West "Solid State Chemistry and Its Applications", Wiley, 2014
  • Tilley, R. J. D. "Understanding solids: the science of materials" Wiley-Blackwell 2013
  • Sutton, Adrian P. "Electronic structure of materials" Clarendon Press 1993
  • Shelby, J. E. "Introduction to glass science and technology" Royal Society of Chemistry 2005
  • Bunker, Grant "Introduction to XAFS: a practical guide to X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy" Cambridge University Press 2010

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    Learning outcomes

    Subject-specific skills:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of key aspects of some current topics of interest in materials research.
  • Understand techniques applicable for chemical and physical characterisation methods of materials.
  • Show a critical awareness of the applications of materials in industry.
  • Use a systematic understanding of knowledge relating to materials.
  • Apply the knowledge to solve problems in materials.
  • Understand the underlying phenomena of the electronic structure of materials.
  • Appreciate the key driving forces in materials science and knowledge of selected important functional materials

    Generic learning outcomes:
  • Solve problems, in the context of problems with well-defined solutions, extending to situations where evaluations have to be made on the basis of incomplete information.


    1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
    2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
    3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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