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Syllabus for

Academic year
TIF025 - Clusters, fullerenes and nanotubes
Owner: TTFYA
5,0 Credits (ECTS 7,5)
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Level: D
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

Teaching language: English

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 No Sp
0105 Written and oral assignments 5,0 c Grading: TH   5,0 c    

In programs



Professor  Arne Rosén


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.


An atomic cluster is a group of atoms kept together by electrostatic, covalent or van der Waals forces. By observing how the properties of a cluster change with size, it is possible to investigate how solid materials are built up atom by atom. Clusters are thereby a unique model system for studies of fundamental physics and chemistry on an atomic level, but clusters and nanoparticles are also of great interest for an increasing number of technical applications. During studies of carbon clusters it was discovered that cage-like clusters, such as C60 and other fullerenes, were particularly stable, could be produced in large amounts and constitute the basis for various compounds and materials. The carbon nanotubes were first observed as a by-product from fullerene production and can be regarded as a rolled graphene sheet. The nanotubes show interesting electronic properties with quantised electronic states, and can, depending on diameter and helicity, be conductors, semiconductors or insulators.

The course aims at providing a good knowledge about the fundamental physical and chemical properties of clusters, fullerenes, nanotubes and nanoparticles, and how these can be used for various applications. The course also covers techniques for production and experimental investigations of clusters, fullerenes and nanotubes, and theoretical and computational methods used in cluster research.


The course starts with an overview of the different types of chemical bonding in the clusters, the geometrical arrangement of atoms and the evolution of electronic structure with cluster size. Special attention is given to clusters with a high stability and the existence of periodicity in properties including electronic and geometric shell structures. Experimental techniques to produce and characterise clusters, fullerenes and nanotubes as well as theoretical approaches and computational methods used in cluster science are presented. Various characteristics of clusters such as the optical, magnetic, chemical and thermodynamic properties are described, and unique features not available in bulk materials are pointed out. Both clusters in the gas phase, for which fundamental properties are most easily investigated, and clusters on substrates, often a prerequisite for practical applications, are covered. In the course particular attention is paid to the carbon nanostructures, fullerenes and nanotubes, because of their unique properties and the availability to efficient large-scale production techniques. In addition, properties of larger clusters, also known as nanoparticles or quantum dots, are presented. Cluster science is a field that emerged from fundamental physics discoveries, but rapidly has expanded to also include various applications in catalysis, optics, sensor technology, nanoscale electronics and other fields of nanotechnology, which is reflected in the course contents.


The following activities are included in the course:
1. Lectures of introductory and review character.
2. Exercises for calculating properties of properties of clusters, fullerenes and nanotubes.
3. Experimental exercises and demonstrations of fabrication and characterisation of clusters, fullerenes and nanotubes.
4. Weekly home problems.
5. A larger project on a research topic connected to the course contents. The projects are presented in a written report and orally at a minisymposium at the end of the course.


Selected review articles and recent articles from scientific journals will be recommended, and lecture notes will be available.


Active participation in the various course activities, home problems and oral and written presentation of the project

Page manager Published: Thu 03 Nov 2022.