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MSC2111 - Functional materials

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Dr Kiyonori Suzuki


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


The unit will focus on the "smart" functional roles of the materials in devices which depend on their electrical, optical and thermal properties. Examples of such devices are: active semiconducting devices and associated passive electrical components, "smart" transducers, optical fibres, optical coatings, liquid crystal displays, optical storage devices, the ruby laser, the solar cell, ceramic insulators, the Peltier cooler. The functional materials will be studied at the microscopic (atomic and/or molecular) level in order to gain an understanding of the device operation. In addition some discussion will focus on device fabrication.


On completion of this unit students will be able to: understand the atomic and molecular structures of functional electrical materials; describe conduction processes in metals, alloys, semiconductors, polymers and ceramics; understand the temperature dependence of these processes to the extent that they relate to the functioning of modern devices; understand the microscopic origins of polarization processes in electrical insulators, ionic, molecular, ferroelectric and piezoelectric materials; account for optical transmission and absorption processes in polarizable electrical materials; examine non-linear optical effects in doped glasses; appreciate material compatibility requirements in the fabrication of devices from different classes of materials; conduct laboratory experiments designed to measure properties and to have an appreciation of the importance of experimental accuracy in measuring physical properties; appreciate the importance of a co-operative team effort in materials evaluation; prepare and present written reports on property measurement; and appreciate the role of physical property assessment in materials research and/or manufacturing.


Examinations 3 hours: 60%
Laboratory work: 25%
written assignments: 15%
Students must achieve a pass mark in the laboratory component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lecture/tutorial classes per week. Six 3-hour laboratory classes per semester.