To enable truly innovative interdisciplinary PhD projects, the programme starts with an intensive, six-month taught programme including elements of fundamental and applied materials physics, chemistry, engineering, technology (nanofabrication, self-assembly, device manufacturing), characterisation (spectroscopic techniques, microscopy) and applications in a broad range of fields, from device engineering to nanomedicine.

This consists of lecture courses, extended (12-week) laboratory projects, covering different aspects of nanotechnology and 2D materials, and enquiry-based learning (EBL). The taught programme is delivered almost entirely at the University of Manchester by Manchester and Lancaster academics (the only exception is one or two lab projects based at Lancaster University).

In lab and EBL projects the emphasis is on team work, with the projects typically done in small mixed-background groups (that is, as a physicist, you can expect to work in a group with a chemist, an engineer and a biologist or vice versa).

Lecture courses

There are three core courses which all students cover during the programme. Alongside these core modules the students also choose one option module to study.

What our students say

Morten Albring

(2009 cohort)
“The NOWNANO DTC has been an incredibly important pivot point in my career. Without the DTC, I would never have thought it was possible to transition from a specialism in theoretical physics to a PhD in chemistry - involving actual experimental work! I've learnt so many new skills throughout my PhD, and a significant part of that is due to the interdisciplinary aspect of the DTC. I think there are a great many long-unsolved problems in research groups that will be solved easily by transitioning knowledge from one discipline to another. The arcane divisions and historical barriers between the sciences prevent some of these questions from even being asked in the first place.”

Enquiry-Based Learning

Students will complete two enquiry-based learning projects during the programme. These are group projects with four students per group.

More detailed information on Enquiry-Based Learning and current topics (for academic year 2015-16) can be found in the student handbook 

Extended lab projects

During the programme the students will complete two group lab projects. Currently available projects:

  • Atomic Force Microscopy for Imaging Biological Samples
  • Creating Domain Walls in Magnetic Nanowires
  • Synthesis and Characterisation of Carbon Nanomaterials
  • Studying Graphene Plasmonics with THz Quantum Cascade Lasers
  • Nanomechanical Properties of Graphene and 2D Nanostructures
  • Assessing the toxicity of carbon nanomaterials using cell culture assays
  • Raman Spectroscopy Charaterisation of Graphene and Defected Graphene
  • Applications of Graphene and Carbon Nanomaterials in Energy Storage Devices
  • Fabrication and Characterisation of Graphene Transparent Conducting Films
  • Graphene/2D-Material Based Field-Effect Devices and Optoelectronics
  • Influence of Substrate on Physical Properties of Various 2D Materials
  • Optical Properties and Mapping of Exfoliated 2D Materials

Detailed information about these lab projects can be found in the student handbook 

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