Topics in Functional Materials - PS701

Sorry, this module is not currently running in 2019-20.







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 energy industry (batteries and fuel cells), for the optics and electronics industry (semiconductors, lasers and wave-guides), and for the environment (sensors, actuators and ‘smart’ materials). The aim of this module is to introduce students to this area of modern materials and techniques.

Examples of the topics that might typically be covered are:
1. Crystal growth and defects.
2. Liquid crystals.
3. Magnetism and Magnetic Materials.
4. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS).
5. Nanomaterials.
6. Multiferroics.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

28 hours of lectures, 3 hours of examples classes.


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Examination: 80%; Coursework: 20%.

Indicative reading

• Wright, Molecular Crystals, Cambridge University Press, 1995, [QD921].
• Solid state chemistry and its applications - Anthony West, Anthony R. West 2014
• Smart and Moore, Introduction to Solid State Chemistry, Chapman & Hall, 1992, [QD454].
• Agullo-Lopez, Catlow and Townsend, Point Defects in Materials, Academic, 1988, [QC 176.8.D3].
• A. P. Sutton, “The electronic structure of materials”, Oxford University Press ISBN: 0198517548
• Interrante and Hamden-Smith, “Chemistry of Advanced Materials” Wiley, 1998 [TA403]
• Philibert “Atom Movements”, Editions de Physique, 1991 [QC176]
• Dieter Vollath “Nanomaterials: An Introduction to Synthesis, Properties and Applications”
• Supplemented by up-to-date research literature from “Web of Science” and lecturers’ own research publications in peer-reviewed journals.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

A systematic understanding and a critical awareness of current topics of interest in materials research.

  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable for synthesis and purification of materials.
  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable for chemical and physical characterisation methods of materials.
  • A critical awareness of the applications of materials in industry.
  • A systematic understanding of knowledge relating to materials.
  • An ability to apply the knowledge to solve problems in materials.
  • An understanding of the fundamental phenomena of the electronic structure of materials.
  • An appreciation of the key driving forces in nanoscience and knowledge of selected important nanomaterials and phenomena at the forefront of the discipline.
  • Problem-solving skills, in the context of both problems with well-defined solutions and open-ended problems, extending to situations where evaluations have to be made on the basis of limited information.

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