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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
TIF165 - Nanotechnology for sustainable energy
Syllabus adopted 2014-02-14 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPAPP
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Energy and Environmental Systems and Technology, Engineering Physics
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students
Maximum participants: 50

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0107 Project 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c    

In programs

MPAPP APPLIED PHYSICS, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Bitr professor  Dinko Chakarov


Environment 3,0 hec


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

Basic knowledge in physics, chemistry and/or materials science


To describe and make the students acquainted with the potential and state-of-art of Nanotechnology and Nanoscience for sustainable energy and environment systems. As a background a broader overview of the global energy system will be given in introductory lectures.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Understand and be able to give an overview of how Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (N&N) might contribute to the future energy system, including environmental aspects. This will require an ability to understand, describe and reflect upon mankind's current and future energy situation in a larger perspective.

  • Understand and be familiar with some N&N fabrication and characterization methods, including their advantages and shortcomings for specific applications.

  • Explain how and when N&N comes into play in the development of new or improved energy and associated environmental solutions from the component/device level to the system level.

  • Collect, analyze, organize and present, orally and in written form, information related to a task/topic identified in the form of a maxi-project.

  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge in the area to assess the presentations of their student colleagues and give feedback to them, thereby demonstrating critical thinking skills.


On a relatively short time scale, a slow-down in raw oil production is often predicted, with accompanying rising prices. With coal and natural gas as a buffer, this time scale might be extended significantly, but at the risk of severe CO2 emissions into the environment. On the other hand, there are (questionable) schemes for CO2 sequestration. Nuclear energy is put forward as an alternative/complementing solution on medium or long term, however, with known drawbacks. In any case, energy supply and use, and the associated environmental and climate effects, can be identified as one of the most important future challenges for the global society, implying an urgent need to develop a sustainable energy system. Such a system is likely to be much more diversified than today's system, including direct solar, biomass, geothermal, wind and wave, and nuclear sources of energy. It will hopefully be characterized by a much more efficient and environmental friendly use of energy in the industrial, public and private sectors.
On the shorter term, while new ways of supplying energy are developed, the efficiency and cleanness in the use of fossil and renewable sources, can and should be improved in all sectors; industrial production, transportation, buildings and housing.

Nanoscience and nanotechnology (N&N) have the potential to contribute significantly to the goals identified above. This statement applies both to the long-term time scale needed to reach a truly sustainable energy system, and to short-term challenges of improved efficiency in today's energy systems. N&N also contributes to solutions of some of the environmental challenges associated with the energy system, like automotive and industrial emissions.

Potential areas, where N&N will or might contribute to sustainable energy and environmental technology, and many of which will be covered in the course are:

Photovoltaic materials (solar cells)
Hydrogen production, conversion, storage and use
Catalysts for cleaning of automotive and industry emissions
Electrocatalysis, e.g. fuel cells
Catalysis for reduced energy consumption in industrial processes
Sensors for improved energy efficiency in industrial processes and housing
Smart windows and isolation materials for energy-efficient buildings
Efficient lighting solutions (white LEDs
Superstrength/lightweight nanomaterials
Thermoelectric structures and materials
Water cleaning
Gasification/liquefaction of coal and biomass
CO2 fixation

The course will give both an overview of most of these areas and detailed descriptions of many of them with regard to current state-of-the-art in technology and ongoing research worldwide. It should be noted that several of the areas in the bullet point list above are treated in other courses at Chalmers; here the perspective is on what N&N can contribute. The so-called nanosafety (health and environmental risks) and nanoethics aspects will also be discussed briefly.


The course includes about 15 x 2 academic hours lectures, quizzes, project work and presentations. Expert (guest) teachers from industry and other academic institutions will contribute to the course.


When appropriate, copies of relevant scientific articles will be distributed in class, including PowerPoint presentations of the lectures.


The examination consists of:
1. 3 quizzes on the course lectures, evenly distributed across the reading period.
All quizzes have to be completed, and the summed-up result of all quizzes must be beyond the threshold for passed (it is thus possible to fail on an individual quiz).
2. A maxi-project on a topic selected together with the teachers of the course.
The maxi-project shall be presented as a written report and as an oral presentation at a symposium at the end of the course.
Written report and oral presentation will be graded with weights 2:1 (written:oral).
In order to pass the course, students have to pass each of the two examination moments 1) and 2) independently.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.