Structural Tools in Nanoscience

Course content

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) 
  • Chemical characterization tools such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy or energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (XPS, EDXS)

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. This practical part is very much student driven: The students must organize the lab work within the team, keep a logbook, arrange laboratory time and seek information about the interpretation of the results, etc. 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. 


MSc Programme in Nanoscience

Learning outcome

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


  • 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.



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



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

Lectures, exercises, student presentation, and experimental work in group

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree in chemistry, physics, nanoscience, geology or related fields are recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 7 days
Oral examination, 25 minutes
Type of assessment details
The exam consists of two parts:

A) A written report, concerning the use of the techniques discussed in the course applied in nanoscience research. The written assignment lasts 7 days.

B) An oral examination (no preparation time) which consists of a presentation of the report, followed by a discussion of the report and its relation to the rest of the course material.

The written report and the oral exam carry equal weight in the overall assessment.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
No external censorship, several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

see 'learning outcome'

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 98
  • Theory exercises
  • 21
  • Practical exercises
  • 21
  • Exam
  • 24
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
No admission restriction
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience
Contracting department
  • Department of Chemistry
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Kirsten Marie Ørnsbjerg Jensen   (7-73717a7b7c6d76486b706d7536737d366c73)

Other researchers with expertise in nanocharacterization will give lectures and supervise practical experiments

Saved on the 28-02-2022

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students