Faculty of Engineering

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Dr Nikhil Medhekar



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


Metals, ceramics and polymers may be characterised using a number of techniques, and some of these will be explored in this unit. The techniques can be broadly split into direct (imaging, chemical analysis) and indirect (scattering) techniques. The principles underlying techniques such as x-ray diffractometry, electron microscopy, photoelectron or mass spectroscopy and gel permeation chromatography are explained. Students will investigate the design of experiments, testing for relationships among variables and curve fitting. Models will be related to the characterization techniques studied by the application of appropriate models to real data.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will develop skills to be able to:

  1. Understand the interaction of ionising radiation with materials and the resultant secondary effects; derive the structure factor and extinction law in diffraction events

  1. Account for the optics in optical and electron microscopy and types of lens defects and the limit of resolution

  1. Understand the electron inelastic mean free path and the escape depth and their significance in surface analysis

  1. Interpret results of basic characterisation techniques which include XRD, SEM and TEM

  1. Recognise the capabilities of a range of other characterisation techniques including XPS/UPS, AES, RBS, SIMS and Massbauer spectroscopy

  1. Identify significant interactions among variables in an experiment, and design an experiment to extract those interactions

  1. Use a difference equation to model simple dynamical systems

  1. Propose and analyse an appropriate model for given scenarios

  1. Construct a simple simulation using a probabilistic model.


Examination (3 hours): 50%
Four written assignments: 20%
Laboratory work 30%

Workload requirements

3 x 1-hour lecture/tutorial classes and seven hours of private study per week and 4 x 5-hour laboratory sessions throughout the semester

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


MSC2011 or MTE2541 or PHS2011