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Nanoscience is referred to as a research area devoted to studies of various phenomena in small-size devices. It is a cross-disciplinary field including physics, chemistry and to some extent biology.

The heart of nanoscience is mesoscopic physics. The word "meso" reflects the fact that the size of the systems under consideration is located between microscopic (atoms) and macroscopic scales. In particular, it includes the systems dominated by elemental quantum processes – single-electron tunneling, ballistic and single-spin transport, Coulomb blockade.

Mesoscopic physics is based upon quantum theory; it includes quantum mechanics and statistics of interacting particles, physics of irreversible processes, physics of random systems, etc. At present time, mesoscopic physics - both experimental and theoretical - is a research topic of the majority of research groups at many universities and high-tech companies.

The course aims at an introduction to basic principles of nanophysics allowing working in research and development in nanotechnology. Students will learn basic principle of physics of nanometer-size systems with a focus on basic physical phenomena. In addition to elucidating the basic theoretical concepts, main application to existing and future electronics, including devices for realization of quantum computation algorithms, will be discussed.

Learning outcome

  • Why do we need nanometer-sized devices?
  • Road map of modern electronics: From CMOS technology to molecular electronics, spintronics, nanophotonics, and quantum computations.
  • Mesoscopic transport: Brief overview of main principles, materials, and devices.
  • A Brief Update of Conventional Solid State Physics. Crystal structures. Electronic energy bands and their occupation, envelope functions and effective mass, doping.Diffusive transport, scattering mechanisms, screening. Surfaces, Interfaces, and Layered Devices Electronic surface states. Semiconductor-metal interface. Semiconductor heterostructures. Field-effect transistors and quantum wells. Mesoscopic Physics.
  • Two-dimensional electron systems: general properties, magneto-conductance, the quantum Hall effect.
  • Quantum Wires and Quantum Point Contacts: Diffusive quantum wires, ballistic wires (conductance quantization), carbon nanotubes, quantum point contacts
  • Electronic Phase Coherence: The Aharonov-Bohm effect, weak localization, resonant tunneling.
  • Single-Electron Tunneling: Coulomb blockade, single-electron tunneling devices, electron pumping, etc.
  • Quantum Dots: Role of electron-electron interaction, conductance resonances, etc.
  • Mesoscopic superconductivity: Josephson effect and its applications, hybrid systems, etc.
  • New Directions in Electronics. Spintronics, Molecular Electronics, Nanomechanics, Nanophotonics, Devices for Quantum Computation. Experimental Aspects (will be presented by students and taken into account for the exam grade).
  • Sample growth and fabrication: Single crystal growth; growth of layered structures, epitaxy -liquid phase epitaxy (LPE), molecular chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), magnetron sputtering, etc. Lateral patterning (electron beam patterning) and bonding.
  • Sample characterization: Electron microscopy (TEM, SEM);
    Tunneling microscopy (STM); Secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS); X-ray spectroscopy; Elements of cryogenics.


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Recommended previous knowledge

A Bachelors degree from the Bachelors program Materials, Energy and Nanotechnology, or equivalent.
FYS3110 - Quantum mechanics/FYS-MENA3110 - Kvantenanofysikk (discontinued), FYS4130 - Statistical mechanics og FYS3410 - Condensed matter physics.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with MENA9010 - Nanophysics

The information about overlap between courses might not be complete. Please contact the Dept. of Physics if you have further enquiries about overlap.


This is an intensive course where the lectures will be arranged in agreement with the students.


Compulsory student presentations.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

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