Nano and Atomic Scale Imaging 2 PHYS5042

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course follows on from the NASI 1 course to explore more advanced aspects of the Physics and  applications of nanometre and atomic scale imaging techniques that are used to investigate materials in various classes and across the boundaries of traditional research disciplines.

A major focus is given to TEM topics including: electron optics and other aspects of TEM instrumentation, aberration correction, Lorentz imaging of ferro-magnetic/electric materials, diffraction and nanoanalysis. Experience of cross-disciplinary applications of TEM and complimentary techniques will be provided by invited lecturers from the Schools of Chemistry, Geology & Earth Sciences, Engineering and the Centre for Virus Research.

Due to the advanced nature of this course, successful completion of the NASI 1 course is a pre-requisite. It is envisaged that this course will be highly attractive to students who have a very strong interest in materials research and are possibly following the MSc Physics - Advanced Materials track.


Weekly lectures

Requirements of Entry

Completion of the NASI 1 course (PHYS5041)

Excluded Courses





1) Continuous assessment via 2x10 minute oral presentations showing understanding of course material relevant to some recent research publications

2) End of course submission of a critical review (50%) on the use of TEM/STEM in an area of materials research

Course Aims

To provide students with an opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding at an advanced level of the physical principles underpinning the imaging of materials at the nanometre and atomic length scales.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

1) Describe the Physics underpinning electron guns, lenses, lens aberrations, deflectors, vacuum

systems and the principles involved in the design of cutting edge TEM/STEM instruments

2) explain why spherical aberration (Cs) is inherent to all round lenses, how correction of Cs (and

other aberrations is achieved and describe the improvements in TEM/STEM performance that result

3) explain the higher order aberrations limiting TEM/STEM performance in Cs corrected instruments

and describe current research to achieve future improvements

4) explain advanced aspects of image contrast formation including diffraction, phase and incoherent

contrast and Lorentz techniques for imaging of magnetic and electric polarisation/fields

5) explain the origin of various features seen in diffraction patterns, including Kikuchi bands, Higher

Order Laue Zones, diffuse scattering, and contrast within the diffraction; as well as the use of such

features in materials characterisation

6) explain the detailed operation of both EDS and EELS spectrometers and describe how

processing of X-ray and EELS data can be performed to enable analysis of composition, chemical

bonding and other material properties

7) describe how TEM/STEM imaging/diffraction/analytical techniques can be applied to investigate

materials at the frontiers of research in the fields of Physics, Chemistry & Geology

8) explain the basis of tomographic techniques in the TEM/STEM and describe how these are being

applied in materials research and for the characterisation of virus structure

9) explain the basis of techniques, including electron diffraction and XPEEM, and describe how they

are being applied to study new phenomena at the frontiers of surface science

10) explain the basic principles of techniques used to lithographically fabricate nanostructures and

describe how they can be characterised using functionalised scanning probe techniques

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits