Unit code: MATS60362
Credit Rating: 15
Unit level: Level 6
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by School of Materials
Available as a free choice unit?: N




The programme unit aims to show (i) the importance of the control of structure on the nanoscale in biological and biotechnological systems, (ii) the changes in the properties of a material as its size is reduced to the nanoscale and (iii) how structural control of crystals is achieved through biochemistry.


Nanomaterials is a growing, multi-disciplinary field, in which the control of the structure and properties of a material on the nanoscale is essential

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures (20 hours)

Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Knowledge and understanding

(i) Understand how a material’s properties change as its dimensions are reduced to the nanoscale.

(ii) Understand and apply how self-assembly can be directed.

(iii) Appreciate how biology matches crystal form to function.

(iv) Understand how biology controls crystallisation.

Intellectual skills

(v) Qualitatively understand the basic principles behind quantum confinement.

(vi) Understand the application of nanomaterials to sensing.

(vii) Appreciate top down/bottom up self-assembly and understand specific examples.

(viii) Appreciate the concept of biomimicry.

(ix) Understand the principles of biocrystallisation.

Practical skills

(x) Solve a given biotechnological problem by applying the principles of nanomaterials.

(xi) Apply the principles of biocrystallisation to control the growth of nanocrystals.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

(xii) Apply knowledge gained to critically assess a research paper.

(xiii) Understanding of media.

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 50%
  • Written assignment (inc essay) - 50%

Recommended reading

Literature papers to be distributed throughout the course.

“Nanochemistry: A Chemical Approach to Nanomaterials”, G.A. Ozin and A. Arsenault, Taylor and Francis

“Nanomaterials: Synthesis”, Properties and Applications”, A.S Edelstein and R.C Cammaratra, Royal Society of Chemistry.

Study hours

  • Lectures - 20 hours
  • Independent study hours - 0 hours

Teaching staff

Paul O'Brien - Unit coordinator

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