What you will study
This module looks at three application areas associated with nanoscale engineering: structured technologies; energy and electronics; and health. Interactive software and practical activities within the OpenSTEM Labs support the module materials. Multiphysics simulations provide you with the opportunity to design systems and devices which utilise nanoscale engineering and model their performance.
This section introduces nanoscale engineering and briefly describes the technologies under consideration throughout the module, using examples of nature-inspired engineering which utilise nanostructures. The important roles played by thermal energy and intermolecular forces are explored and the rapidly evolving nature of nanotechnologies is emphasised.
Part 1: Structured technologies
In this part, you’ll learn about low adhesion surfaces, including self-cleaning glass, stain-resistant fabrics, and waterproofing. The role of surface modification in creating new functionality is described. Top-down and bottom-up methods will be explored, including vacuum systems, material deposition techniques, and surface characterisation. Devices including accelerometers, actuators, and detectors are considered.
Part 2: Energy and electronics
This part focuses on nanostructures and nanomaterials, exploring their enhanced properties conferred by scaling. The development of state-of-the-art and next-generation, low-power electronic devices is investigated. You’ll study the fabrication and characterisation of these devices, as well as the range of light/matter interactions that are exploited in nanotechnologies. Application areas include energy storage, energy harvesting, supercapacitors, and logic/memory technologies.
Part 3: Health
This part explores nanotechnology as utilised in healthcare and biochemical applications for early diagnosis and prevention, as well as for the treatment and monitoring of disease. Particular emphasis is placed on diagnostics, including advanced biosensors for health, nano-electronic noses, lab-on-a-chip and nano-robots. You’ll study microfluidic and nanofluidic devices and arrays of nanomaterials-based sensor technology.
You’ll explore the future prospects for nanotechnology, including molecular machines, as well as recently awarded Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Physics, which are expected to lead to functional engineered devices and products.
You will learn
The knowledge and skills developed in this module are applicable in various engineering roles. At the end of it you’ll be able to:
- explain how the properties and behaviour of materials and structures differ at the microscale and the nanoscale when compared to the macroscale
- describe how nanoscale engineering has been used to mimic the natural world
- select and use appropriate mathematical, computational, and analytical techniques to determine the composition, structure, identity, and properties of nanomaterials
- effectively and accurately deliver ideas, information and solutions to problems in engineering disciplines through a range of media
- search and use relevant journal papers via the library website.
This module will help you to gain knowledge and skills that are essential for the practicing engineer. It can help you to:
- understand the role played by nanoscale engineering and nanomaterials in general engineering
- articulate the fundamental scientific principles underlying complex concepts in micro- and nanoengineering to a variety of cross-disciplinary audiences, including peers and subject specialists
- specify the characteristics of engineered nanomaterials required to achieve behaviour or responses suitable for their incorporation in a device or application
- use surface characterisation tools to address quality control in microfabrication and nanofabrication.