MTE2544 - Functional materials - 2017

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


Professor Kiyonori Suzuki

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


The unit focuses 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.


At the successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Describe conduction processes in metals, alloys, semiconductors and insulators.
  2. Describe the microscopic origins of polarisation processes in electrical insulators, ionic, molecular, ferroelectric and piezoelectric materials.
  3. Describe the working principles of semiconductor devices including pn junction diodes, transistors, solar cells and light emitting diodes (LED).
  4. Analyse experimental results from laboratory experiments designed to measure properties and to have an appreciation of the importance of experimental accuracy in measuring physical properties.
  5. Debate the importance of a cooperative team effort in materials evaluation.
  6. Formulate written reports on property measurement.


Written assignments: 15%

Laboratory work: 25%

Examination (2 hours): 60%

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures/practice classes and 7.5 hours of private study per week and six 3 hour laboratory classes per semester

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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

Materials science


MTE2507, MSC2022, MSC2111