CHEM 712 : Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Introduces a range of modern methods used in the synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials (including metal nanoparticles, polymers, ceramics and their nanocomposites), with the application of these nanomaterials in energy conversion, optical devices and biosensing also being explored. Potential risks of nanomaterials in the environment will be discussed.

Course Overview

CHEM712 advances upon the introductions to nanomaterials given in CHEM351 and CHEM380, covering a selection of topics that are of current interest to cutting-edge research. Particularly, the course will delve into nanoscale materials and their applications; including films and surface technologies, the introduction of nanofluidics as an extension to colloid chemistry and microfluidics, and a focus on nanoscale biosensors and biomedicine. Students taking the course will gain a strong understanding of these topics, and their context within the wider world – some lectures will also focus on issues such as sustainability and commercialization. The assessment will include elements of presentation and research skills in addition to individual tests and the exam. The course will provide excellent instruction for research project work, both within the MSc programme and for future research career directions in advanced materials and nanotechnology.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Decribe and understand the process of thin film growth (Physical Vapour Deposition and Chemical Vapour Deposition) and thermodynamic drivers behind thin film formation (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Develop an understanding of the current applications in thin film technology, analyse the challenges faced by current state of the art patterning techniques, particularly via photolithography and how their limitations impact applications. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Describe and analyse the basic principles of DLVO theory, electrical double layers, and electrokinetic transport as applied to colloids and nanoconfined spaces. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Describe and analyse topics relating to wetting, nanomechanics, and droplets. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Describe synthesis methods and applications for advanced colloidal systems and self-assembled monolayers. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Describe nanomaterials that are applied for biosensors and biomedicine, such as conducting polymers, nanoparticles and graphene. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the construction of biosensors, evaluation of sensing performance, and different types of sensing signals. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  8. Develop an understanding of how nanotechnologies are commercialized, and how they can address risks and opportunities associated with sustainability. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Coursework 45% Group & Individual Coursework
Test 15% Individual Test
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Final Exam


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Chemical Sciences aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

Tuākana Chemistry runs a range of activities for students enrolled in this class. This includes weekly workshops, social activities, and opportunities to engage with senior students and researchers within the School of Chemical Sciences. Tuākana-eligible students will be added automatically to the Tuākana Chemistry program when they enroll in this course. For more information, please see the Tuākana program website or email

Key Topics

This course has 3 major modules:

  • Nanomaterials and Thin Films
  • Nanofluidics, Colloids and Wetting
  • Nanosensing and Nanomedicine
In addition, topics relating to sustainability and commercialization of nanotechnology research will be covered.

Special Requirements

There are no special requirements.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 20 hours of lectures, 4 hours of tutorials, 30 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 60 hours of work on assignments, presentations and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will be available as recordings. Recordings of interactive in-class activities may be of limited value.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the test.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The course material will be the handouts provided by individual lecturers, along with papers or other texts indicated by the lecturers (including on the Talis reading list).  There is no course book.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

This course will be delivered for the first time in Semester 2, 2023.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 12/07/2023 08:20 a.m.