Functional Behaviour

Unit code: MATS23602
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 2
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by School of Materials
Available as a free choice unit?: N




The unit aims to:

  1. Give the principles of semiconductor devices, using common devices as examples.
  2. Introduce superconduction.
  3. Give an overview of common energy storage and conversion devices, including the underlying principles of their operation.


This unit looks at the principles involved in the application of materials in electronic devices, from their use in transistors through to the storage devices that power them.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, group tutorials (problem sessions), recommended textbooks, web resources, past exam papers, electronic supporting information (Blackboard), peer-assisted study sessions (PASS).


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

  • Understand the principles of a doped semiconductor and how these relate to common devices.
  • Describe the operation of pn junctions, diodes, bipolar transistors, MOSFETs, LEDs and lasers.
  • Give a description of the principles of a superconductor.
  • Understand the principles of electrochemical storage and understand how these relate to common devices.

Intellectual skills

  • Show improved logical reasoning, problem solving and ability in applied mathematics.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the effect of changing the chemistry and microstructure/architecture of a material on it properties

Practical skills

  • Perform accurate electrical measurements of a Hall device and MOSFET and use the information in the lectures to analyse the data.
  • Perform a cyclic voltammetry analysis of electrochemical double layer super capacitors, obtained the capacitance, power, and relative surface areas of each device.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Convert word problems into equations and numerical answers.
  • Develop techniques for estimating the results from calculations.
  • Work effectively in a group to solve problems.
  • Compose simple technical reports on laboratory tests.

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 70%
  • Written assignment (inc essay) - 30%

Recommended reading

  • “Materials Science and Engineering - An Introduction”, W. D. Callister, D. G. Rethwisch, Pub. Wiley, 2010.
  • “Introduction to the Physics of Electrons in Solids”, B.K. Tanner, Pub. Wiley, 1995.
  • “Advanced Batteries: Materials Science Aspects”, R. Huggins, Pub. Springer, 2009


Feedback methods

Written and verbal

Study hours

  • Lectures - 22 hours
  • Practical classes & workshops - 6 hours
  • Tutorials - 6 hours
  • Independent study hours - 66 hours

Teaching staff

Liang Qiao - Unit coordinator

▲ Up to the top