Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Materials Physics and Characterisation
Code PHYS387
Coordinator Professor CA Lucas
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 6 FHEQ First Semester 7.5


• To teach the properties and methods of preparation of a range of materials of scientific and technological importance
• To develop an understanding of the experimental techniques of materials characterisation
• To introduce materials such as amorphous solids, liquid crystals and polymers and to develop an understanding of the relationship between structure and physical properties for such materials
• To illustrate the concepts and principles by reference to examples

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) An understanding of the atomic structure in crystalline and amorphous materials

(LO2) Knowledge of the methods used for preparing single crystals and amorphous materials

(LO3) Knowledge of the experimental techniques used in materials characterisation

(LO4) Knowledge of the physical properties of superconducting, liquid crystal and polymer materials

(LO5) An appreciation of the factors involved in the design of biomaterials

(S1) Problem solving skills



Fundamentals of Materials
• States of matter
• Bonding between atoms
• Energy band structures of solids

Crystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous solids
• Bonding in crystals
• Crystal defects
• Amorphous solids
• Glasses and the glass transition
• The preparation of amorphous materials

Methods of material characterisation
• X-ray and electron diffraction: experimental methods and interpretation of data.
• X-ray absorption spectroscopy, EXAFS, synchrotron radiation methods.
• Transmission electron microscopy. Scanning probe microscopy.

Crystal growth
• Mechanisms of crystal growth
• Structural characterisation of crystal growth
• Methods for growing single crystals

Liquid crystals
• Thermotropic mesophases, lyotropic mesophases
• x-ray diffraction from liquid crystals, cell membr anes, liquid crystal displays

• Molecular structures
• Amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers.
• Applications: plastics, elastomers, fibres

• Surface properties
• Biological response and biocompatibility
• Degradation of implants in biological environments

• Type I superconductors: Meissner effect, London equation, BCS theory.
• Basics of Type II superconductors.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 – Lectures
Description: On campus Lecture to entire cohort .
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: = Nominal 2 x 1-hour lectures/week.

Teaching Method 2 - Tutorials
Description: Two problem-solving classes to learn together with guidance from staff and receive feedback.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: = 2 x 1-hour tutorials.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 16


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 57


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
examination there is a resit opportunity standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is not an anonymous assessment Assessment schedule: semester 1  120    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
coursework essay style assessment this is not an anonymous assessment    20       

Recommended Texts

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