Advanced Materials Characterisation 5M CHEM5052

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Chemistry
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will introduce the fundamental principles of materials characterization and the common characterisation techniques used in materials chemistry. It will cover the following topics: X-ray diffraction, neutrons, electrochemistry, X-ray spectroscopy, density functional theory (DFT) and adsorption. Students will undertake laboratory-based training and practical experience in some of these techniques.


10 hours of lectures and an equivalent number of tutorials to be arranged.

Requirements of Entry

Admission to the MSc degree programme in Advanced Functional Materials.

Excluded Courses





1. Continuous assessment from the students writing up formal records of the set practical exercises (50%)

2. Assessment of written scientific research report (40%)

3. Assessment of research project presentation (10%)

Course Aims

Determination of the structural character and chemical composition of a material is an essential activity of materials chemistry. After completion of the course the student should have obtained knowledge of characterisation of materials by introducing the basic principles and performing experiences of a range of modern techniques used to characterise different types of materials.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Demonstrate overall knowledge of materials characterisation methods based on diffraction, adsorption, neutron scattering, electrochemical and spectroscopic analysis techniques as well as density functional theory.

2. Be able to show a knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the different types of analysis introduced in the course.

3. Be able to explain the data obtained and the phenomena exhibited in the materials analysis.

4. Apply knowledge of these methods to practical problems in characterising materials.

5. Write a detailed research report suitable for use by peers that demonstrates an understanding of the role of research undertaken and critical analysis of the data required.

6. Prepare an academic poster presentation and effectively communicate, to a range of audiences, the outcomes of the chemistry research.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.