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Graduate Program

Materials Science Courses

Courses appropriate for consideration by those interested in materials science include the following. Course requirements for the MS and PhD in Materials Science are listed separately.

Courses (Listed by Parent Department)

Please refer to the Course Descriptions/Course Schedules page for the current courses offered.

ME 280. Intro to Material science (MSC 202)

Prerequisites: ME 226, PHY 122 or permission of instructor

Properties of engineering materials including metals, alloys, ceramics, polymers and composites. Relationship of properties to the materials microstructure including atomic bonding, atomic arrangement, crystal structure, co-existing phases, interfaces, defects and impurities. Processing techniques for altering the microstructure and properties.

PHY 227. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (MSC 230)

Multiplicity of physical states, equilibrium entropy and temperature, Boltzmann factor and partition function, statistical approach to free energy, chemical potential, distribution functions for ideal classical and quantum gases. Applications to chemical reactions, thermal engines, equations of state and phase transitions, applications.

BME 420. Biomedical Nanotech (MSC 421) 2 cr.

BME 442. Microbiomechanics (MSC 442)

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

This course covers the application of mechanical principles to biotechnology and to understanding life at its smallest scales. Topics will vary with each course offering. Sample topics include force generation by protein polymerization, the mechanisms of bacterial motion, and the separation of biological molecules in porous media.

BME 451. Biomedical Ultrasound (MSC 451)

The course presents the physical basis for the use of high-frequency sound in medicine. Topics include acoustic properties of tissue, sound propagation (both linear and nonlinear) in tissues, interaction of ultrasound with gas bodies (acoustic cavitation and contrast agents), thermal and non-thermal biological effects of ultrasound, ultrasonography, dosimetry, hyperthermia and lithotripsy.

BME 462. Cell and Tissue Engineering (MSC 462)

This course teaches the principles of modern cell and tissue engineering with a focus on understanding and manipulating the interactions between cells and their environment. After a brief overview of Cell and Tissue Engineering, the course covers 5 areas of the field. These are: 1) Physiology for Tissue Engineering; 2) Bioreactors and Biomolecule Production; 3) Materials for Tissue Engineering; 4) Cell Cultures and Bioreactors and 5) Drug Delivery and Drug Discovery.

CHE 413. Molecular Self Assembly (MSC 413)

Prerequisites: CHM 203 (or equivalent) AND CHE 225 or CHM 251 (or equivalent)

This course will provide an overview of several contemporary research topics pertaining to structured organic materials. Lectures will focus on intermolecular interactions and the thermodynamics of self-assembly. Additional lectures will introduce molecular crystals, polymer crystallinity, liquid crystals, self-assembled monolayers, surfactants, block copolymers, and biomimetic materials. Homework assignments and a brief technical presentation will be required. 

CHE 454. Interfacial Engineering (MSC 454)

Prerequisite: CHE 225

Lectures on the fundamentals of colloids and interfaces, systems with high interfacial area, and their role in modern processes and products. Topics include interfacial tension, contact angle, adsorption, surfactants, miscelles, microemulsions, and colloidal dispersions.

CHE 458. Electrochemical Engineering and Fuel Cells (MSC 458) 2 cr.

The course will concentrate on presenting the principles of electrochemistry and electrochemical engineering, and the design considerations for the development of fuel cells capable of satisfying the projected performance of an electric car. The course is expected to prepare you for the challenges of energy conversion and storage and the environment in the 21st century.

CHE 460. Solar Cells (MSC 460)

This course will introduce students to the basics of photovoltaic devices: physics of semiconductors; pn junctions; Schottky barriers; processes governing carrier generation, transport and recombination; analysis of solar cell efficiency; crystalline and thin-film solar cells, tandem structures, dye-sensitized and organic solar cells. Students will learn about current photovoltaic technologies including manufacturing processes, and also the economics of solar cells as an alternative energy source. Critical analysis of recent advances and key publications will be a part of the course work.

CHE 469. Biotechnology and Bioengineering (MSC 469)

The life science and engineering principles underlying biotechnology processes; established biotechnology processes including microbial and enzyme conversions, metabolic pathways, and fermentation kinetics; tools for biotechnology development including the recombinant DNA and monoclonal antibody techniques; emerging areas at the forefront of biotechnology, including immune technology and tissue and organ cultures.

CHE 482. Processing Microelectronic Devices (MSC 482)

This course features an overview of processes used in the fabrication of microelectronic devices, with emphasis on chemical engineering principles and methods of analysis. Modeling and processing of microelectronic devices. Includes introduction to physics and technology of solid state devices grade silicon, microlithography, thermal processing, chemical vapor deposition, etching and ion implantation and damascene processing.

CHE 485. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (MSC 485)

In the beginning, macroscopic thermodynamics including phase equilibria and stability concepts will be covered, followed by material related to the principles of statistical mechanics. Applications to various modern areas of the topic will be examined including the Monte Carlo simulation method, critical phenomena and diffusion in disordered media.

CHE 486. Polymer Science and Engineering (MSC 433)

Prerequisites: Organic chemistry, physical chemistry, fluid dynamics

Mechanisms and kinetics of polymerization reactions; solution,suspension, and emulsion polymerization processes; thermodynamics of polymer solutions; the Flory-Huggins theory; principles and practice of membrane osmometry, light scattering, viscometry, and size exclusion chromatography; polymer rheology and mechanical properties; polymer morphology and phase transitions.

CHE 492. Biointerfaces (MSC 472)

The course will focus on interfacial phenomena in hybrid bio-inorganic systems. The goal of the course is to increase the understanding of interactions between biomolecules and surfaces. The course will aim at investigating the behavior of complex macromolecular systems at material interfaces and the importance of such systems in the fields of biology, biotechnology, diagnostics, and medicine. The first part of the course will focus on mechanisms of interactions between biomolecules and surfaces. The second part will focus on the characterization of physical, chemical, and morphological properties of biointerfaces.

CHM 404. Bio-Physical Chemistry II (MSC 404) - 2 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHM 252 or equivalent

This 2 credit course explores how fundamental interactions determine the structure, dynamics, and reactivity of proteins and nucleic acids. Examples are taken from the current literature with emphasis on thermodynamic, kinetic, theoretical, and site-directed mutagenesis studies.

CHM 416. X-ray Crystallography (MSC 416) – 2 credit hours

Prerequisites: CHM 211, 411, or 415; some understanding of symmetry operations is expected

Students will learn the basic principles of X-ray diffraction, symmetry, and space groups. Students will also experience the single crystal diffraction experiment, which includes crystal mounting, data collection, structure solution and refinement, and the reporting of crystallographic data.

CHM 423. NMR Spectroscopy (MSC 463) - 2 credit hours

Prerequisites: One year of organic chemistry and one semester of physical chemistry (CHM 251) or equivalents

2 credits - An introduction to NMR spectroscopy. Collection, processing, and interpretation of homonuclear and heteronuclear 1D and multidimensional spectra will be covered. Topics to be discussed include chemical shifts, relaxation, and exchange phenomena. Examples from organic, inorganic, and biological chemistry will be used.

CHM 455. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (MSC 455)

Prerequisite: CHM 251 or equivalent

The course draws connections between the orderly and chaotic behavior of simple and complex systems, laying the foundations of statistical equilibrium and equilibrium thermodynamics. The different phases of matter (gases, liquids, solid) assumed by bulk classical interacting particles and their transitions are discussed in this approximation. Properties of non-interacting quantal systems are expressed in terms of partition functions, for gases of simple and complex particles. Non-equilibrium statistical behavior of multi-particle systems leads to diffusion and other transport phenomena.

CHM 456. Chemical Bonds-From Molecules to Materials (MSC 456)

Prerequisite: CHM 251 or equivalent course on quantum mechanics

An introduction to the electronic structure of extended materials systems from both a chemical bonding and a condensed matter physics perspective. The course will discuss materials of all length scales from individual molecules to macroscopic three-dimensional crystals, but will focus on zero, one, and two-dimensional inorganic materials at the nanometer scale. Specific topics include semiconductor nanocrystals, quantum wires, carbon nanotubes, and conjugated polymers.

CHM 460. Chemical Kinetics (MSC 468) - 2 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHM 451 or equivalent

Within the broad area of chemical kinetics, this 2 credit course will focus on basic concepts of kinetics, photochemistry and electron-transfer (eT). In addition to studying bulk reaction rates, we will discuss Marcus's theory of eT, intramolecular vibrational energy redistribution (IVR) and vibrational cooling, and the fates of photoexcited species (radiative and non-radiative decay channels). We will address the experimental quantification of these kinetics using time-resolved spectroscopy and analysis of kinetic data. The course material will be somewhat continuous with that of CHM 458, Molecular Spectroscopy.

ECE 423. Semiconductor Devices (MSC 423)

Prerequisites: ECE221, ECE230, PHY123 or instructors approval

Modern solid state devices, their physics and principles of operation. Solid State physics fundamentals, free electrons, band theory, transport properties of semiconductors, tunneling. Semiconductor junctions and transistors. Compound and seni-magnetic semiconductors. Optoelectronic and ultrafast devices.

ECE 520. Spin Based Electronics (MSC 520)

Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor and familiarity with elementary quantum mechanics

Basic physics of magnetism and of quantum mechanical spin. Aspects of spin transport with emphasis on spin-diffusion in semiconductor.

ECE 436. Physics and Application of Nanophotonic and Nanomechanical Devices (MSC 437)

(Special Topics course)

Basic knowledge about electromagnetic waves: ECE 230 or OPT 226 or OPT 462;
Basic knowledge about waveguides and optoelectronics: ECE 235/435 or OPT 226 or OPT 468;
Basic knowledge about quantum mechanics: OPT 223 or OPT 412 or PHY 237 or PHY 407

This course aims to provide students with the understanding of fundamental principles governing optical and mechanical phenomena at micro/nanoscopic scale, with focus on current research advances on device level. The following topics will be covered: Fundamental concepts of micro-/nanoscopic optical cavities and mechanical resonators; various types of typical nanophotonic and nanomechanical structures; fabrication techniques; theoretical modeling methods and tools; physics and application of optical and mechanical phenomena at mesoscopic scale; state-of-the-art devices and current research advances.

ME 424. Intro to Robust Design & Quality Engineering (MSC 424)

Prerequisites: MTH 164 or Equivalent

Definition and pursuit of "quality" as a design criterion. The concept of robust design. Selection of the quality characteristic, incorporation of noise, and experimental design to improve robustness. Analysis and interpretation of results.

ME 432. Optomechanics (MSC 432)

The mechanical design and analysis of optical components and systems will be studied. Topics will include kinematic mounting of optical elements, the analysis of adhesive bonds, and the influence of environmental effects such as gravity, temperature, and vibration on the performance of optical systems. Additional topics include analysis of adaptive optics, the design of lightweight mirrors, thermo-optic and stress-optic (stress birefringence) effects. Emphasis will be placed on integrated analysis which includes the data transfer between optical design codes and mechanical FEA codes.

ME 460. Thermodynamics of Solids (MSC 405)

Review of basic thermodynamic quantities and laws; equations of state; statistical mechanics; heat capacity; relations between physical properties; Jacobian algebra; phase transformations, phase diagrams and chemical reactions; partial molal and excess quantities, phases of variable composition; free energy of binary and multicomponent systems; surfaces and interfaces. The emphasis is on the physical and chemical properties of micro and nano solids including stress and strain variables.

ME 462. Solids and Materials lab (MSC 407)

Prerequisites: ME 280, ME 226, MTH 161, 162 and CHM131

In this course, you will apply previously learned theoretical concepts to practical problems and applications.  In addition, you will learn experimental techniques and enhance your technical writing skills.  this couse has two parts, a series of small laboratory exercises and a project.  During the semester, students will work in groups of three to complete the assigned work, labs, and reports. The lab section of the course is designed to present basic applied concepts that will be useful to a broad base of engineering problems. The project portion is where you will work on a more specific idea, tailored around your desired future goals.

Lecture and laboratory. Lecture: engineering problem solving methodologies and review of basic statistics. Laboratory: dealing with solids/materials instrumentation Students work in groups of three. Graduate students work alone on independent projects.

ME 463. Microstructure (MSC 408)

Prerequisite: ME 280

Point, line, 2-D and 3-D defects. Diffusion of interstitial and substitutional solutes. Random walk and correlation effects. Thermal diffusion. Irreversible thermodynamics. Diffusion-induced stresses. Dislocations. Grain boundaries and interfaces. Nanowires and particles. Precipitates and inclusions. Amorphous materials, polymers, and composite structures.

ME 466. Corrosion (MSC 466)

A scientific approach to understanding the oxidation and dissolution of metals related to corrosion control, electrical energy generation, metallic plating, and energy storage. Characterization of corrosion types. Interfacial electrochemical mechanisms, thermodynamics, electrode potentials, interphases, and Pourbaix diagrams. Kinetics of free corrosion and electron limited corrosion including polarizations and overpotentials. Passivity. Tafel behavior with Butler-Volmer interpretations. Experimental measurements used in corrosion research and in battery research. Corrosion in iron based and aluminum based aqueous systems. Corrosion in lithium and sodium based non-aqueous systems. Effects of stress, including mechanisms of stress corrosion cracking related to metallurgical structure and role of the electrical double layer. Catalytic behavior of free surface nanostructures intended to catalyze oxygen reactions and ease barriers to metallic plating and ionic dissolution at polar electrolyte interfaces.

ME 481. Mechanical Prop of Materials (MSC 409)

Prerequisites: ME 280, MTH 163 or equivalent

The mechanical response of crystalline (metals, ceramics, semiconductors)and amorphous solids (glasses, polymers) and their composites in terms of the relationships between stress, strain, damage, fracture, strain-rate, temperature, and microstructure. Topics include: (1) Material structure and property overview. (2) Isotropic and anisotropic elasticity and viscoelasticity. (3) Properties of composites. (4) Plasticity. (5) Point and line defects. (6) Interfacial and volumetric defects. (7) Yield surfaces and flow rules in plasticity of polycrystals and single crystals. (8) Macro and micro aspects of fractures in metals, ceramics and polymers.(9) Creep and superplasticity. (10) Deformation and fracture mechanism maps. (11) Fatigue damage and failure; fracture and failure in composites (If time permits).

OPT 421. Optical Properties of Materials (MSC 470)

This is a course concerning the aspects of the solid state physics of semiconductors which influence their optical properties. Topics include: electrons and holes, bandstructures, k•p theory, Kramers-Kronig relations, phonons, polaritons, electrooptic effects, nonlinear optical effects. The physics of absorption, spontaneous and stimulated emission, reflection, modulation and Raman scattering of light will be covered. III-V semiconductors will be emphasized; other semiconductor material systems will also be mentioned. Optical properties of specific semiconductor material systems will be covered. Reduced dimensionality structures such as quantum wells will be contrasted with bulk semiconductors. Optoelectronic device applications of semiconductors will be mentioned, but not covered in detail.

OPT 465. Principles of Lasers (MSC 465)

This course provides an up-to-date knowledge of modern laser systems. Topics covered include quantum mechanical treatments to two-level atomic systems, optical gain, homogenous and inhomogenous broadening, laser resonators and their modes, Gaussian beams, cavity design, pumping schemes, rate equations, Q switching, mode-locking, various gas, liquid, and solid-state lasers.

OPT 507. SEM Practicum (MSC 507)

Overview of techniques for using the SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) and Scanning Probe (AFM, STM) and analyzing data. Students perform independent lab projects by semester's end.

PHY 418. Statistical Mechanics (MSC 418)

Prerequisites: PHY 227 or equivalent; PHY 407, PHY 408 concurrently

Review of thermodynamics; general principles of statistical mechanics; micro-canonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles; ideal quantum gases; applications to magnetic phenomena, heat capacities, black-body radiation; introduction to phase transitions.

PHY 420. Statistical Mechanics (MSC 420)

An emphasis on the wide variety of phenomena that form the basis for modern solid state devices. Topics include crystals; lattice vibrations; quantum mechanics of electrons in solids; energy band structure; semiconductors; superconductors; dielectrics; and magnets. (same as MSC 420, ECE224, ECE424, PHY420).

Updated July 30, 2018