Not currently offered

Credit points: 15

Subject outline

On completion of this subject, students will be able to determine chemical and structural properties of materials using the techniques of optical microscopy, electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, x-ray fluorescence and image analysis. Materials investigated include earth assemblages (minerals and soils) and technological materials such as semiconductors and integrated circuits. Students are also provided with a simple research problem solvable by computational methods, and are expected to solve it individually, in consultation with demonstrators. The approach and results are summarised in a written report. This subject is available to postgraduate students as part of a group of electives which deepen their knowledge of physics and introduce research-related skills.

SchoolSchool of Molecular Sciences/LIMS

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorDongchen Qi

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 5 - Masters

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Approval from the Department of Physics adviser of studies.


Incompatible subjects PHY2IMC, PHY2IMG

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsAn Introduction to X-ray SpectrometryRecommendedJenkins, R.HEYDEN, 1974
ReadingsAn Introduction to X-ray Spectrometry: X-ray Fluorescence and Electron Microprobe AnalysisRecommendedWilliams, K.L.LONDON; BOSTON: ALLEN & UNWIN, 1987
ReadingsComputer-assisted Microscopy: the Measurement and Analysis of ImagesRecommendedRuss, J.C.NEW YORK: PLENUM PRESS, 1990.
ReadingsElectron Probe QuantitationRecommendedHeinrich, K.F.J. & Newbury, D.E.(eds)NEW YORK: PLENUM PRESS, 1991
ReadingsElements of X-ray DiffractionRecommendedCullity, B.D.ADDISON-WESLEY. 1977
ReadingsFundamentals of Energy Dispersive X-ray AnalysisRecommendedRuss, J.C.BUTTERWORTHS, 1984
ReadingsPrinciples of Quantitative X-ray Fluorescence AnalysisRecommendedTertian, R., Claisse, F.HEYDEN, 1982
ReadingsThe Image Processing HandbookRecommendedRuss, J.C.BOCA RATON: CRC PRESS, 1995.

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Diagrammatically represent, analyse and / or solve conceptual and mathematical problems related to imaging and materials characterisation.

Students are assessed via three lab reports, submitted via the LMS. Each lab report is prepared by students work in groups to generate answers (of around 3 typeset pages in length) to conceptual and mathematical questions. Students sit a final end of semester exam comprising short answer questions.

02. Use accurate terminology and appropriate units to describe physical phenomena related to imaging and materials characterisation.

Students are required to use appropriate terminology and units in all assessment elements (namely Image assignment, laboratory reports and exam).

03. Perform experiments related to imaging and materials characterisation using standard physics laboratory techniques, equipment and software and assess the data to check for inappropriate, irrelevant or spurious results.

Students complete three extended laboratory experiments of six hours duration each, and submit a report that indicate their ability to detail and assess experimental data. Students follow written and verbal laboratory instructions to conduct the experiments accurately and safely.

04. Critically review and analyse research data in an ethical manner and interpret the results with reference to the scientific literature in order to develop appropriate conclusions and convey these in an appropriate manner in a written report

Students prepare an individual report in the style of a professional research journal article which accurately and ethically describes the experiment, its findings and draws appropriate conclusions. Students are provided with a template on which to base their report, along with graded examples of previous students' reports

05. Collaborate in groups to complete laboratory experiments and submit reports.

It is repeatedly stressed via the subject materials and orally that students in the group are expected to contribute equally to these activities. Students are expected to submit their own work (as instructed in the laboratory sessions). If they fail to do so, they are counselled after the first occasion by the demonstrator. For subsequent plagiarism, no marks are awarded and they are interviewed by the subject coordinator.

06. Describe the recent developments in the fields of imaging and materials characterisation and identify areas which constitute interesting research problems. Apply research principles and methods applicable to the field of imaging and materials characterisation.

Students are provided with a research topic related to imaging and materials characterisations. They are expected to conduct a literature search on the research topic and summarise their understanding in a research essay not exceeding 3000 words. Students give an oral presentation on their research topic to a peer group and the lecturer.

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