Introduction to Nanotechnology

Course Description

Nanoscale units, bulk vs. nanoproperties, electrons, atoms and ions, metals, band structure, electrical conduction, biosystems , molecular devices, quantum mechanics and optics, tools for measuring nanostructures. Production of nanostructures: self assembly, nanoscale crystal growth, polymerization. Applications to sensors, magnets, electronics, drug delivery. Toxicology of nanostructures.


There is no required text for the course, but you might find Atkins’ and DePaula’s “Physical Chemistry” useful. I recommend edition 8, although any recent edition should do.  Additionally, Cao’s “Nanostructures and Nanomaterials” gives some excellent background to the course.

We will consider material from these two sources frequently.  As always, in conflicts between the notes and text, the text is right.


Please write a paper on a specific nanostructure or nanomaterial and its deployment as a technology. The paper should be 2,500 words plus as many figures as needed to make your point (please adhere to plagiarism rules about figure use). The paper should compare/contrast at least three principle references. I expect you to be both critical and judgemental, but not in a pejorative manner.


  1. Scale and Dimensionality
    • History of Nanotech
    • Modern Nanotech
    • Dimensionality of Nanomaterials
  2. Characterisation Methods
    • X-Ray Analysis
    • Scanning Microscopy
    • Magnetic Force Microscopy
    • Electron Microscopy
    • Electron Analysis
  3. Surfaces
    • Surface Energy
    • Chemical Potential and Curvature
    • Ostwald Ripening
    • Electrostatic Stabilization
    • DVLO Theory
    • Steric Stabilization
  4. Quantum Dots
    • Size-Dependant Properties
    • Nucleation Thermodynamics
    • Growth Control
    • Synthesis: Metal Nanoparticles
    • Synthesis: Semiconductor Nanoparticles
    • Microemulsions
    • Core-Shell Structures
  5. Nanotubes and Nanowires
    • Carbon Nanotubes (CNT)
    • CNT: Fabrication
    • CNT: Structure
    • CNT: Reactivity
    • CNT: Devices
    • Vapour-Solid-Liquid Growth
    • Carbothermal Growth
    • Templated Growth
    • Nanowire Devices
  6. Films
    • thin films
    • precursors and volatility
    • Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD)
    • Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)
    • Layer by Layer Polyelectrolyte Deposition (LbL-PD)

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Requests for Academic Accommodation
You may need special arrangements to meet your academic obligations during the term. Please contact your instructor with any requests for academic accommodation (pregnancy, religious, disability, etc.) during the first two weeks of class, or as soon as possible after the need for accommodation is known to exist.

For an accommodation request, the processes can be found here:

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
If you have a documented disability requiring academic accommodations in this course, please contact the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities (PMC) at 613-520-6608 or for a formal evaluation or contact your PMC coordinator to send your instructor your Letter of Accommodation at the beginning of the term. You must also contact the PMC no later than two weeks before the first in-class scheduled test or exam requiring accommodation (if applicable). After requesting accommodation from PMC, meet with your instructor as soon as possible to ensure accommodation arrangements are made.

Accommodation for Student Activities
Carleton University recognizes the substantial benefits, both to the individual student and for the university, that result from a student participating in activities beyond the classroom experience. Reasonable accommodation must be provided to students who compete or perform at the national or international level. Please contact your instructor with any requests for academic accommodation during the first two weeks of class, or as soon as possible after the need for accommodation is known to exist.

For more information on academic accommodation, please contact the departmental administrator or visit:

Obviously, I reserve the right to make adjustments or changes throughout the semester. Remember that you are responsible to learn about these changes, which will be posted on this website.