This module provides an introduction to nanoscale physics. At dimensions of less than 100 nano meters (1nm = 10-9 m) a crossover can be observed in the physical properties of solid state systems from classical to quantum physics. In the macroscopic regime, the dependence of the physical properties on feature size is both smooth and continuous. In the nanoscale regime, however, the number of atoms and electrons in a typical system becomes sufficiently small that changing the number by one makes a significant difference. Thus, many properties of nanoscale systems are quantized (non-continuous). These provide unique opportunities for fundamental research and novel applications. In addition, nanoscale systems typically exhibit a larger number of surface and interface atoms than bulk atoms. This is in strong contrast to macroscopic systems and yields a second avenue to novel properties in nanoscale systems.
The module will provide an introduction to both fundamental concepts (nanoscience) and applications (nanotechnology). Some of the specific topics discussed will be the quantum corral, the scanning tunnelling microscope as a tool for building and exploring atomic structures, and technological applications ranging from magnetic storage to quantum dot lasers and catalysis.