Gain industry-relevant knowledge of nanoscale engineering, including: manufacture of nanoscale structures and devices; functionality of thin film coatings; energy harvesting and storage; biosensors; and nanotechnology use in medical diagnoses and treatments. You’ll learn how surfaces and nanomaterials are characterised. And how the performance of nanoscale devices and processes is simulated. Nanotechnology is contributing solutions to previously inaccessible challenges – in sectors including communications, energy, environment, healthcare, personalised medicine, and security.
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, drug delivery techniques, 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.
There are no formal entry requirements.
However, previous degree-level study of science or engineering is recommended.
Are you ready for T366? is a diagnostic quiz to help you decide if you’re prepared to start studying T366.
If you’re not sure you’re ready, talk to an advisor.
You should aim to be confident and fluent with the concepts covered in the Are you ready? quiz and follow the advice in the quiz.
You must be familiar with the following:
- fundamental concepts of mechanics, dynamics, materials, chemistry of materials, and electricity
- algebraic expressions, calculus notation and mathematical models in general
- Windows and suitable word-processing and spreadsheet software.
We recommend you have one of the following:
- passes in Engineering: maths, modelling, applications (T194), Core engineering A (T271), and Core engineering B (T272)
- physics and mathematics knowledge equivalent to A-Level or above, and a basic understanding of chemistry.
For registered students, revision and preparation material will be available on the T366 ‘Discover Your Module’ page on the engineering subject advisory website.
You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- course-specific module materials
- audio and video content
- access to third-party software
- assignment details and submission section
- online tutorial access
- access to student and tutor group forums.
We’ll give you three printed module books, each covering one part of study. And you’ll have access to the OpenSTEM Labs.
You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).
Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.
To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).
Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.
Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.
It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.