NKEK12008U Structural Tools in Nanoscience

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Chemistry with a minor subject

MSc Programme in Nanoscience


The purpose of the course is to give an introduction to modern structural characterization tools in nanoscience and how these are applied in current research. During the course, we will discuss some of the most important experimental tools applied for advanced structural characterization in nanoscience. These tools include:

  • Scattering methods using x-rays and neutrons (small angle scattering, wide angle diffraction, total scattering methods) 
  • X-ray spectroscopy methods (XANES, EXAFS)
  • Scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) 
  • Scanning probe methods, including scanning tunneling microscope and atomic force microscopy (STM, AFM) 

Scientists with expertise in the individual methods from the Department of Chemistry and other institutions will present the physical basis of the techniques, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Examples from current scientific literature will be included through student presentations of selected research papers.

Apart from lectures and exercises, the students will apply selected experimental techniques for structural characterization. A report and/or presentation will be produced about the characterization of the samples and findings of the project.

If possible, a one-day visit to a company or large scientific facility will furthermore be arranged. 

Learning Outcome

Having followed this course the student should have acquired the following: 



  • Knowledge on characterization tools in nanoscience and how these are applied in current research



  • Hands-on experience of some of the techniques in practice.
  • Critically examine experimental results from important structural techniques.



  • Be able to explain the basic physical and chemical principles of the presented techniques.
  • Be able to compare and discuss the advantages and limitations of the techniques.
  • Be able to plan which methods to use in order to obtain useful information about a sample.
  • Be able to explain data and results from the tecniques.

See Absalon

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree in chemistry, physics, nanoscience, geology or related fields are recommended.
Lectures, exercises, student presentations, experimental work in groups, writing of report
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 32
  • Preparation
  • 125
  • Theory exercises
  • 32
  • Practical exercises
  • 16
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral exam on basis of previous submission, 25 minutes (no preparation time)
Type of assessment details
Oral examination (no preparation time) on the course content and the written report. To take the oral exam, the written report must be submitted.
Exam registration requirements

Participation (at least 80 %) in the experimental activities and student presentations is required before the students can participate in the examination.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as ordinary exam

Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning outcome