NFYK24003U Quantum Nanoelectronics

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Nanoscience

MSc Programme in Physics


We aim at giving a theoretical introduction to selected topics in nanoelectronics, with emphasis on quantum phenomena that are relevant for the current experimental research, e.g. at the Center for Quantum Devices and for efforts to develop solid state quantum bits. The general theme is current flow (electron transport) in nanoscale structures, where quantum effects are expressed clearly. The basic formalism, materials, key concepts and real experiments will be discussed, rather than complete theoretical treatments, which are covered in condensed matter theory courses. The students will be provided with the background for understanding recent experiments in the field which ranges from single-electron transport through “artificial atoms” (quantum dots) and spin qubits in semiconductors to real “molecular transistors” based on single molecules.  In this course we focus on the basics of electronic quantum devices and leave the details of qubit physics and quantum information to other courses.

Electronic transport in nanostructures. The course will cover the following areas: concepts in electron transport, current flow in nanostructures, mesoscopic electron transport, the quantization of charge, flux, and conductance and their consequences for transport, Landauer (transmission) formalism, spin quantum bits (qubits) and spintronics. The chosen examples will include quantum wires, semiconductor nanostructures, quantum dots, graphene, carbon nanotubes, molecular transistors, coupled quantum dots, and other timely subjects in nanoelectronics. One session will be devoted to materials and nanofabrication. The course will combine textbook material with recent research reports and reviews. Students are expected to participate actively in this approach, e.g. by giving individual presentations of selected papers.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course the student should in order to receive the top grade be able to:



  • Demonstrate understanding of the basic formalism and the key concepts within electron transport.
  • Describe the differences between transport in bulk materials (metals, semiconductors) and nanostructures.
  • Explain the most prominent consequences of quantum effects in electron transport through nanostructures (limited to the contents of the course).
  • Describe the functionality of selected nanoelectronic devices based on these principles.



  • Differentiate between various regimes of mesoscopic electron transport
  • sketch the key elements in realizing an electron transport experiment on a nanostructure.
  • Identify the relevant physical parameters in such an experiment, e.g. the essential length scales, energy scales, characteristic temperatures, quantized units etc..
  • Present clearly the phenomena reported in a research article within the field of experimental electron transport in nanostructures (in the following referred to as “the article”).
  • Plan a presentation that within the allotted time covers the necessary introduction/background as well as items from the specific article.
  • Differentiate between the essential information and technical details in the article.
  • Reproduce and discuss the main features and trends in graphical representations of transport data.
  • Interpret the experimental data and explain qualitatively the origin of the phenomena reported in the article.
  • Relate the findings to the theory treated in the course.
  • Demonstrate through the presentation and discussion that familiarity with the concepts and terms introduced in the course has been obtained.
  • Demonstrate use of basic physical arguments, estimates and/or minimalistic calculations to support the presentation whenever necessary (no complete theoretical treatments are expected).
  • Relate or contrast to relevant examples (e.g. other articles) known from the course in order to demonstrate a broader understanding of the field.
  • Evaluate critically the article’s conclusions to the extent that the background for this discussion has been treated in the course.


This course will provide the students with a competent background for further studies within this research field, e.g. an M.Sc. project. The students will get experience with presenting research papers.

Thomas Ihn "Semiconductor Nanostructures", Oxford University Press 2010 (to be confirmed on course homepage prior to start), and supplementary material; see homepage

Basic study program in physics or nanoscience, incl. quantum mechanics and electrodynamics. An introduction to solid state physics is strongly recommended.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Lectures, excercises and discussions
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 122
  • Theory exercises
  • 30
  • Exam
  • 24
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes (2 days preparation)
Type of assessment details
Oral examination, incl. presentation and discussion of a "take-home" article handed out two days prior to the oral examination.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as the ordinary exam

Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning outcome